UNESCO strife costs Dresden funds
Dresden’s plans to build a bridge over the Elbe river have endangered the Saxon capital’s UNSECO world heritage status. Now the city may also lose government funds due to the dispute, the daily Sächsische Zeitung reported Saturday.
The city has not been given any money from a €150 million fund for German UNESCO world heritage sites and an expert commission created by Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee has cited the city’s building plans as a reason, the newspaper said.
Dresden city officials had hoped to receive about €6 million from the fund to help renovate the Ligner palace along the Elbe, rebuild the Busmann Chapel and reproduce a destroyed viaduct.
“We had been counting on the money,” said Peter Lenk, the chairman of the Ligner palace booster association, which has been raising money for the project.
A 20 kilometre stretch of the Elbe Valley, which includes Dresden’s famed Baroque-style complex of palaces, churches and theatres in the city centre received the UNESCO world heritage status in 2004.
Dresden, which was heavily damaged during World War II, has been a focal point of post-reunification rebuilding efforts and made the city one of Germany's top tourist destinations. But city plans to build a bridge over the river have been controversial.
City officials say the bridge would help ease traffic congestion. UNESCO says the bridge would ruin the historic site and the organisation has threatened to withdraw the world heritage status if the bridge is built.
Tiefensee, who comes from Saxony, has criticized the state’s attitude toward the bridge controversy.
“I very much regret that the state of Saxony has not yet managed to avert the threatened delisting of the UNESCO title. It seriously damages the cultural image of Germany and Saxony,” Tiefensee told the newspaper.