The early-modernist centre of Gdynia has been officially submitted as a Polish candidate for inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
The City Hall of Gdynia and recommended by the Committee for World Cultural Heritage in Poland under the Minister of Culture and National Heritage prepared the application for entry. Then, Deputy Minister of Culture and National Heritage, General Conservator of Monuments Dr Jaroslaw Sellin signed it. The documentation was handed over to Lazare Eloundou Assomo, director of UNESCO’s World Heritage Center in Paris.
Justification of the request
The justification for the application emphasizes that the early modern centre of Gdynia demonstrates the significant exchange of cultural and social values and the breakthrough in the development of architecture and urbanism that took place in the 1920s and 1930s when a completely new concept of “a building that is so different from those that preceded it that the new architecture becomes a fact, not a possibility.”
The design of downtown Gdynia illustrates various aspects of early modernism, which are distinct from other modernist structures that were constructed before and after the Second World War.
Gdynia’s distinctive local context is showcased by its port and landscape, with nautical references and maritime symbolism still strongly present. The city centre has kept its original attributes from the early modern period of 1926-1939 intact, ensuring that the overall identity of the city is preserved. This is supported by the fact that the layout of the area remains highly legible and well-protected.
Procedure for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List
Only countries that have signed the World Heritage Convention, pledging to protect their natural and cultural heritage, can submit nomination proposals for properties on their territory to be considered for inclusion in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. (whc.unesco.org)
Each year, state parties to the World Heritage Convention can submit one nomination for inscription on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The formal evaluation cycle begins in February. The first step is for the World Heritage Center to verify the application for completeness. If successful at this stage, a substantive evaluation process follows, which takes at least 1.5 years. An advisory organization to the World Heritage Committee finalizes it by the recommendation. The application is then discussed at a session of the World Heritage Committee, during which a binding decision is made.