8th US/ICOMOS International Symposium Katarína Vošková, Architect-conservationist; ICOMOS Slovakia ___________________________________________________________________________ Training-education Center for

Improving the Preservation and Better Interpretation of Heritage in Banská Štiavnica - a World Heritage City

Banská Štiavnica – History and Values The historical city of Banská Štiavnica, together with the technical mining monuments located in its vicinity, was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993. Why does this seemingly obscure little mountain town merit such attention? One of the articles of my American colleague Elizabeth Yenchko who lived for 10 years in Banská Štiavnica helped me to give a short intersection of its history and signification: “…Banská Štiavnica is situated in the middle of the volcanic Štiavnica hills, accesed only by secondary roads and a spur rail line. With an elevation of 600 meters above sea level, the town is spread along two narrow valleys which intersect just below the main square; folk rchitecture houses climb up the sides of the steep slopes which tower above the historic center. Landscape area around the settlement provide a striking contrast to the fabulous wealth of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture crowded together in the converging valleys below…During the course of the 13th to 19th centuries, the Banská Štiavnica ore fields were among the most prolific producers of gold and silver in Europe. …The town was the European focus of mining education, science, and technology. Many technological inventions and concepts developed in Štiavnica during that period were subsequently used all over the world…“ Deterioration During Last 50 Years, Comparing with Western European Countries and Present Situation The historic centre of the city has survived virtually unchanged despite the fact that the continuity of history has been broken over last 50 years. The ownership has been changed, inhabitants of the historic centre were removed… New “development programmes” were adopted to restore and rejuvenate the historic fabric for the lifeless use. Nowadays the city continues to struggle with the poor physical condition of many of its historical buildings. The problem comes as a consequence of the deep changes in the socialeconomic structure of he town that occurred over the last decades. All the built traditions and skills were damaged, even small businesses of craftsmanship were stopped. The relationship of the city’s inhabitants to their cultural heritage shows a lack of community consciousness towards the importance of safeguarding this irreplaceable treasure. The current state of the built heritage in Slovakia is at a great extent the result of the trends that influenced the country’s history, in particular the history of its last years when it was under communist ruling. During this period: - maintenance work on historic buildings was often discouraged; - preference was given to reconstruction rather then conservation of historic buildings, thus resulting in serious damages to authentic works of arts and crafts (e.g. ceilings, floors, doors, windows); - training of craftsmen was mainly focused on the use of modern technologies and materials;


traditional craftsmanship focused mainly on high level education of restorers, midlevel craftsmanship in conservation field was lost and forgotten; the skills and knowledge needed to handle traditional materials, techniques and technologies were in many cases forgotten.

In spite of the general and Europe-wide spread pressure of the new artificial materials and unappropriate technologies in built heritage conservation field, the western European countries – where continuity of its history, relation to ownership, craftsmanship, traditions were saved – shows consciousness to the necessity to encourage the owners towards the traditional materials, technologies, crafts and offers well-skilled crafts-persons. Training centres were established for example: in Tierhaupten, Germany; in Mauerbach, Austria; in Amay, Belgium; etc. ICOMOS Slovakia Adoption of “Banská Štiavnica Appeal on Materials, Techniques and Technologies in the Preservation of the Built Heritage” The present situation in Banská Štiavnica threatens the safeguarding of the original fabric of the historical buildings, many of which begin to loose much of their intrinsic value because of poorly executed restoration work, incompatible use of some heavily advertised new building materials and unappropriate new technologies. Therefore the situation called for the immediate adoption of suitable measures to build awareness and sensitivity among community members. The local civic association (Association for Banská Štiavnica ’91) together with ICOMOS Slovakia, the Regional Office for Monuments and Sites Preservation in Banská Štiavnica and with Architectural Faculty of the Slovak University of Technology organized 1st international expert´s workshop and training centers exchange program in May 2002 in the effort to educate and train mid-level crafts-persons as well as the wide public in an appropriate use of materials and techniques in built heritage conservation. ICOMOS Slovakia, experts from Banská Štiavnica together with the internationaly reknown experts articulated the needs for improving the heritage preservation and then interpretation at their first meeting on “Banská Štiavnica Appeal on Materials, Techniques and Technologies in the Preservation of the Built Heritage”. “The Appeal” recognizing the ICOMOS charters as well as the Slovak law for heritage protection and better interpretation recommended to Slovak authorities e.g. following: “…the establishment of the training-education center in Banská Štiavnica to provide training with appropriate certification for mid-level crafts-persons and technicians; as well as advise property owners, ... the encouraging and advising property owners to request the support of qualified craftspersons and skilled technicians, seeking the advice and coordination of a competent conservation architects, …the building a documentation and information center designed to support training activities by means of setting up archives of historic building material, by recuparating and exhibiting physical examples of traditional techniques,.. ... the encouraging collaboration between the training centres in different countries, and the organization of joint projects,…“ Training Activities – As the Effort To the Better Interpretation of Cultural Heritage From the beginning of the year 2000 many institutions and schools in Banská Štiavnica strive to contribute to the continuous maintenance, protection, presentation, and this way to appropriate interpretation of the heritage of this small world heritage site. Local High

Schools have established new courses for craftsmanship, Faculty of Architecture (Slovak University of Technology) has opened their detached studios in the city centre, Regional Office for Monuments Preservation resides there, many of the schools are the members of UNESCO programmes towards the cultural and natural heritage awareness. These institutions together – under the leading of the Regional Office for Monuments Preservation and the local civic association (Association for Banská Štiavnica ’91) has been organizing several courses: • “Materials, Techniques and Technologies in the Preservation in Built Heritage”, May 2002 – when the participants had an opportunity not only to disscuss theoretical issues, confront their knowledg and experience, learn about the use of new and traditional materials and techniques, but also an international team of craftsmen had an opportunity to demonstrate the using of the adequate techniques on 4 in situ sites of restoration works, that were performed to the public as well as the conservationists, architects, owners… These on-site courses were focused on treatment of plaster/render, wooden elements and timber structures, stone walls. • “Remeselnícka 5 (the Craftsmen’s street No 5) - Historic Facade Plaster Conservation”, October 2003 – in cooperation with the Austrian Training center in Mauerbach (which was established by the State Office for Monumets Preservation as a training cetrer for craftsmen) the local cratsmen and students of the S. Mikovini Polytechnical High school were practically trained in the consolidation and conservation works on the concrete historic facade in the historic area, the knowledge of the participants was extended concerning the importance of the researches and diagnostics and other relevant issues. • Training activities with students of the Faculty Architecture, annualy several groups – under the leadership of the experts and professors the documentation of historical architectural details in the city is performed by the students – in strive to train the future architects to preserve the historical architectural values as well as systematically complete documentation of historic authentic details in the city. • Training activities with the students of the architectural conservation program at the S. Mikovini Polytechnical High School – every year the practice is provide to students on the concrete places – where students practically realise for example: the stucco elements, plaster conservation, stuccolustro techniques, etc. Future Vision Next training course “Lime and Lime Technologies” for the craftsmen from practise as well as for the students is being prepared for the September 2005 in Banská Štiavnica. Twoweeks course should give an opportunity for wider audience to participate through the accompanying activities – like a lime burning, evening presentations of internationally reknown experts, 3-days of theoretical presentations – in a language understandable not only for craftsmen but also for other stakeholders. Considering all the present activities we have a strong effort to establish, in a near future, the Training and Documentation Centre for crafts-persons and relevant students and, by a system of courses, to introduce a revival of using traditional materials among professionals in heritage conservation, to improve the knowledge and skills among craftsmen. Besides the training of craftsmen, the training center has an ambition to increase the awareness of the residents of Slovakia, to emphasize the importance of their cultural heritage and necessity to preserve the authenticity and integrity of the site, to increase the understanding of these issues by politicians and local authorities, decision-makers and all the other stakeholders. The long term goal is, by an appropriate interpretation of architectural

heritage, to improve the conditions of a sustainable tourism respecting the authenticity of the historic fabric as an important issue for understanding and sensitivness of tangible history and also as a tool to attract visitors. By past and future training program and the Training and Documentation Centre we intend to demonstrate and implement in the conservation practice the fundamental arguments that give meaning to the World Heritage Convention (adopted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Paris, Nov. 1972) and implement the arguments of the ICOMOS charters, particulary Document on Authenticity (Nara, 1994). The project “Training and Documentation Centre in Banská Štiavnica” has a great importance for crafts-persons, local people, involved institutions, schools, etc. All the activities come from the experience that even the most intensive effort of professional conservationists cannot be successful without the support of well-trained and skilled craftsmen and wide public.

The historical town of Banská Štiavnica, together with the technical mining monuments in its vicinity, was listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO in 1993.

Training of craftsmen and conservationists. The example of the exchange of the skills between Slovak and German craftsmen in the baroque doors restoration works.