Secretary General of Europa Nostra and President of Montenegro discuss ways to save endangered sites of Sveti Stefan, Miločer Park and Bay of Kotor

On 3 August 2023, the Secretary General of Europa Nostra, Sneška Quaedvlieg Mihailović, met in Cetinje the newly elected President of Montenegro, Mr. Jakov Milatović, having had excellent exchanges on the strategic importance of cultural and natural heritage for Montenegro, the Western Balkans and Europe, as well as on ways to save the endangered sites of Sveti Stefan, Miločer Park and the Bay of Kotor. The Secretary General of Europa Nostra also visited these threatened cultural and natural heritage sites of both national and European significance.

During her official meeting with the President of Montenegro, the Secretary General of Europa Nostra, praised President Milatović’s leadership in facilitating and empowering Montenegro’s path towards European Union membership, with a strong focus on upholding European values, democracy, and the rule of law, all for the betterment of the country’s citizens.

During her trip, Sneška Quaedvlieg Mihailović placed special emphasis on the preservation of Montenegro’s natural and cultural heritage. Notably, she highlighted the need to protect the Cultural Landscape of Sveti Stefan, inscribed on the 2023 List of 7 Most Endangered heritage sites in Europe published by Europa Nostra and the European Investment Bank Institute, as well as the Bay of Kotor. Recognising that the preservation of these regions’ cultural and natural heritage is vital for the quality of life of the communities, she stressed that it also serves as an invaluable asset for sustainable economic and social development.

The Secretary General of Europa Nostra engaged with members of Montenegro’s civic society who have actively advocated for the preservation of the Cultural Landscape of Sveti Stefan, a 1.2-hectare islet of unprecedented beauty, which is connected by a low bridge to the mainland in close proximity to Miločer Park. She, along with Blazo Kazanegra, a representative from the “Group of Citizens from Sveti Stefan”, explored the islet and Miločer Park as part of the efforts to better understand the site’s cultural importance.

Furthermore, Sneška Quaedvlieg Mihailović utilised her visit as an opportunity to promote and support the preservation efforts through local media, giving interviews on the importance of the sustainable and inclusive development of the site.

Regarding the preservation efforts, Europa Nostra acknowledges the ongoing threats to Miločer Park, situated on the Adriatic Sea shores facing Sveti Stefan. The park, a unique ensemble designed and built for a Yugoslav Royal family in the 1930s, is considered an integral part of the surrounding cultural and natural landscape. Europa Nostra firmly believes that this site requires legal protection due to its cultural and historical significance. The preservation of Miločer Park is essential to prevent any unsuitable tourism and/or real estate development that could jeopardise its authenticity and integrity.

We are very grateful and honoured to meet Secretary General of Europa Nostra here in Miločer park and in front of the medieval town of Sveti Stefan. This visit demonstrates the real commitment of Europa Nostra and their European partners to saving our endangered heritage,” said Blazo Kazanegra, on behalf of the “Group of Citizens from Sveti Stefan”.

Ms. Quaedvlieg-Mihailović visited several critical spots of the endangered site (condo hotel construction site, Miločer Park with old royal villas and beaches, Sveti Stefan old town and its culturally protected zone, etc.) and had the chance to see and “experience” in person the extent of endangerment of the heritage site. Although being unlawfully prevented from walking along the public path at Queen’s beach, she expressed her gratitude to a security guard and walked on the alternative path running behind the beach,” he added.

In line with the 7 Most Endangered Programme, experts from Europa Nostra and the European Investment Bank Institute are planning a visit to produce a technical report with recommendations for safeguarding the cultural landscape of Sveti Stefan.

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