Does the city with the highest density of monuments deserve to be on the UNESCO list? Przemyśl

The text is an update of the idea of inscribing the entire city of Przemysl on the UNESCO World Heritage List from 1995 to today.

Andrzej Mazur

Przemyśl, Kazimierzowski Castle. Photo: Marcin Konsek, Wikimedia Commons

History of ideas 


During my holiday stay in Przemyśl, Renata Nowakowska, then Director of the Department of Culture in the Przemyśl Voivodship Office, learned that I was an expert of the Polish National Committee for UNESCO MaB Programme and asked if I would write something about the city. I prepared a text in the form of an expert opinion for the Przemyśl City Council - about initiating efforts to inscribe the entire city on the UNESCO List. This expertise, in a version adapted for readers, was published in the Culture Department of the City Hall magazine "Przemyski Informator Kulturalny". 

The text contained an innovative idea of inscribing the entire city on the List, and stated, ahead of history, that the Przemyśl Fortress itself is a historical monument. 


By the decision of the Minister of Culture in 2018, the Palace in Krasiczyn, the Old Market Square in Przemyśl and the Przemyśl Fortress were granted the status of historical monument. 


In June, Jan Jarosz, director of the National Museum of the Przemysl Region, proposed that I write the text "Przemysl and the UNESCO List". - after 25 years. Thanking him for the inspiration, I present how I see this problem today. 


A precedent has been set: almost the entire city of Jaipur in India has been placed on the UNESCO List. Thus, my idea from 25 years ago has been methodologically verified - it is possible to propose inscribing the entire city on the List.

 Jaipur, India. Photo by Ziaur Rahmna, via Wikimedia Commons  

2/ Methodology of preparation

2.1/ Technical matters

They boil down to the following: focus on the requirements of the UNESCO Regulations, first. Second: creating a 2 or 3 person Study Team to correlate the requirements of the Regulations with the preparation of the proposal. These are quite meticulous activities impossible to do by one person. 

2.2/ Main idea: first, the city gets the status of historical monument and then applies for UNESCO listing.  

The TEAM study should define the city as unique:

* has the highest number of monuments in Poland per population [A]. 

* and per square kilometer [B]. 

* Lędzianie: the city and land of Przemyśl according to many historians is the indigenous defining Polish land, the source of the term Lachs. [C]

In the context of the above three distinctions, it is a valuable document of the city's 1300-year history and the development of its original material culture.  

In my opinion, this definition highlights the fact that the city is itself a historical monument and deserves to be protected by all means of state and even international law with the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Next, as I present in my article on [link under the text] Przemyśl has all styles of architecture: from Romanesque artifacts, through Kazimierz Wielki Castle, Lubomirski Palace, Renaissance market square, to modernist block of National Museum. In this sense, the list of all these monuments constitutes a "book", a manual entitled. "What the city with the highest saturation of monuments in Poland looks like." [D]. 

And the development of the previous educational requirement [E] very important. Within the boundaries of the 2nd ring of the Przemyśl Fortress or nearby there are other high quality cultural-ecological objects: Krasiczyn - Renaissance palace, a history monument, Paclawska Calvary from the 17th century, applying for the status of history monument, Przemyśl Foothills Landscape Park and Turnicki National Park in the project and a number of others.

The whole constitutes a priceless huge area of unique ecological and cultural character. It can be described as the PRZEMYŚL SEGMENT as in the project of the Crimson Trail, or the PRZEMYSKO-LĘDZIAŃSKI SEGMENT OF PROTECTION.

3/ Future plans vs. city risks in the 2050 perspective

Generalizing: while preparing stage I - the recognition of the city as a historical monument - one should think about stage II - applying to UNESCO. As a protection by Polish and international law of the city having an obvious value for Poland and being of universal value. 

At the same time, there should be constant updating and constant correlation in the Team's "Study" of the following variables: 

[a] Elimination of pollution as the current main threat, degrading the city and spoiling the image. Quality of life, quality of tourism should change more clearly.

[b] Records and constant correspondence with forward-looking variables:

- Via Carpathia route and running along it: Via Culturalia path - international cooperation of cultural documentation and exchange and Crimson Route tourist route, which will be fully operational in 2024

- development and arrangements of the permanent congress Europe of the Carpathians: conferences, panels, programme documents, conventions

- development of development strategies and planning of podkarpackie voivodeship

- urban planning developments, e.g., rail hubs, buses, buses, bypasses, tourist traffic, and other variables. 

These studies should be placed in the context of pending changes in the City's demographics through 2050 and beyond. The city is declining in population. And it is a steady trend. Data from the prestigious journal "Lancet" in recent days says that by 2100 the entire population of Poland is likely to be in the range of 15-13 million people. Such a trend will be in the whole Europe, as well as in many other countries in the world.


These notes are drawn with a thick line and represent the main study directions. The author notes the fact that his ideas from 1995 turned out to be accurate. The world and Polish demographic tables show that the picture of the world, Europe and Poland will change significantly - and Przemysl may become more and more unique. Care for the city, for the quality of life, for the ecological order, for the green order around the city and nearby landscape parks, may prove decisive. The article abstracts, due to the assumed laconicness, from the fact that a large part of the planning documentation in the city is, as well as the application of the conservator of monuments from 1995 to recognize Przemysl as a monument of history. He provides an update on the idea of UNESCO listing, as he sees it in August 2020, and proposes linking it to evolving international, national, and provincial programs. As well as with demographic projections for 2050 and 2100. And finally, a rhetorical question, but not without some practicality in the media age: wouldn't it be good to set up a website under the name "Przemyśl historical monument in design"? This could result in an easier flow of experts and specialists in the subject by making the assumptions and documentation to date available on the Internet.      

UNESCO Regulations, link:

UNESCO Operational Guidelines. Annex 5, link:

UNESCO World Heritage List, link:

Link with popular articles but useful for planning:

Demography Przemyśl: Table 21 demographic projection to 2050 : 42,690, link:

Officially According to the Central Statistical Office (CSO) as of December 31 2019 Przemysl had a population of 60,689.

Link: Lędzianieanie

The idea of the Przemyśl as a classroom, link:,przemysl-jako-klasa-lekcyjna-i-londyn-jako-miejski-park-narodowy

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