30 historical tombstones in Balkans for UNESCO list

SARAJEVO, Bosnia&Herzegovina - Tombstones in 30 necropoles in the Balkans have been nominated for entry in UNESCO's World Heritage List, according to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s monument preservation agency.

The Commission for Protection of National Monuments President Dubravko Lovrenovic in Bosnia and Herzegovina presented Monday a list of 30 tombstones, out of which 22 are in Bosnia and Herzegovina, three are in Serbia, three in Montenegro and two in Croatia.

Huge tombstones called "stećci" in Balkans constitute valuable heritage from medieval history.

Dating from the middle of 12th century, the scenes carved on the stones illustrate images of life from that period.

A team of international experts is expected to decide on the inclusion in the list established by the UN cultural agency, said history professor at the University of Sarajevo Dubravko Lovrenovic, an expert in medieval history.

"We expect experts from the International Council of Monuments and Sites next summer to come to the sites. A final decision will be made at a session of the World Heritage committee in 2016. We hope the outcome will be positive," said Lovrenovic.

One of the biggest and the most valuable sites, Radimlja, which is located near Stolac in Herzegovina, has not been included in the list.

According to a press release issued Monday by Bosnia and Herzegovina’s monument preservation agency, the reason lies in the number of commercial structures near the necropolis, which "give a negative visual image" to the site. 

Among 70,000 historical tombstones existing in the Balkan region, 60,000 are found in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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