PRESS RELEASE – Partisan Memorial Cemetery in Mostar is listed among the 7 Most Endangered Heritage Sites in Europe

The list of the7 Most Endangered monuments and heritage sites in Europe for 2023 – which marks the 10th anniversary of this innovative programme – has been announced today by Europa Nostra, the European Voice of Civil Society Committed to Cultural and Natural Heritage, and the European Investment Bank Institute (EIB).


Partisan Memorial Cemetery in Mostar is listed among the 7 Most Endangered Heritage Sites in Europe


The Hague / Brussels / Luxembourg, 13 April 2023.

The list of the 7 Most Endangered monuments and heritage sites in Europe for 2023 – which marks the 10th anniversary of this innovative programme – has been announced today by Europa Nostra, the European Voice of Civil Society Committed to Cultural and Natural Heritage, and the European Investment Bank Institute (EIB).

The 7 Most Endangered sites for 2023 are:

Partisan Memorial Cemetery, Mostar, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

Kortrijk Railway Station, Kortrijk, BELGIUM

Tchakvinji Fortress, Zugdidi, GEORGIA

Sisters’ House Ensemble, former Moravian settlement in Kleinwelka, GERMANY

Memento Park, Budapest, HUNGARY

Cultural Landscape of Sveti Stefan, Paštrovići, MONTENEGRO and

Watermills of Bistrica, Petrovac na Mlavi, SERBIA.

Detailed information about the Partisan Memorial Cemetery can be found below.

The announcement was made at an online event featuring nominators and representatives of the selected sites, which attracted participants from across Europe and beyond.

The Executive Vice-President of Europa Nostra, Guy Clausse, stated: “By putting these heritage sites on the 2023 list of 7 Most Endangered, we wish to convey a message of hope, solidarity and support to the local communities and activists who are resolutely determined to save them. Together with our partners (European and local), we will provide technical expertise, identify possible sources of funding and mobilise our wide network to support their cause and their efforts, which have now become also our cause and our shared responsibility. Let us use Europe’s cultural heritage as a vector for peace, social cohesion and sustainable development.”

The Head of Programme for Climate and Heritage at the European Investment Bank Institute, Bruno Rossignol, added: “Cultural heritage is a key resource for shaping our European identity, without which economic growth is meaningless. This cohesive power is recognised by the EIB which takes heritage preservation into account when reviewing new investment projects or when lending for urban renewal projects, often with a heritage component.

On the 10th anniversary of the programme, the sites selected today will once more testify to the cohesive power of cultural heritage and link with the Bank’s mission and activities.”

Reacting to the announcement, dr. Senada Demirović Habibija, the President of the Urban house IDEAA affirmed: We are extremely happy that the Partisan Memorial Cemetery is included on this important list. This monument is not only a masterpiece created by the famous architect Bogdan Bogdanović and a beautiful construction of a great aesthetic value; it is also a place the entire generations of our citizens made an intimate connection with: young people, parents with children, lovebirds, they all found their preferred spot there for relaxing, walking, playing, daydreaming… Moreover, that peaceful and dreamy oasis surrounded by verdant, lush vegetation, is the final resting place of our many ancestors, predominantly young people, whose antifascist fight has always made us proud. It is therefore very hard for us to see this multifaceted symbol of our city deteriorate so relentlessly. We are happy and grateful that the Europa Nostra recognised the importance and beauty of our Partisan Memorial Cemetery and we hope to be able, with your assistance, to restore it to its former glory in a comprehensive, dignified and sustainable manner.”

The Board of Europa Nostra selected the finalists from among the 11 monuments and heritage sites from eight countries previously shortlisted by the Advisory Panel of the 7 Most Endangered programme. The nominations were put forward by member organisations, associate organisations or individual members of Europa Nostra, as well as by members of the European Heritage Alliance.

The selection was made on the basis of the outstanding heritage significance and cultural value of each of the sites, as well as the serious danger that they are facing today. The level of engagement of local communities and the commitment of public and private stakeholders to saving these sites were considered crucial added values. Another selection criterion was the potential of these sites to act as a catalyst for sustainable socio-economic development as well as a tool for promoting peace and dialogue within their localities and wider regions.

The 7 selected sites are eligible for an EIB Heritage Grant of €10,000 per site to assist in implementing an agreed activity that will contribute to saving the threatened sites.

Teams of experts representing Europa Nostra and the European Investment Bank Institute, together with the organisations that nominated the 7 selected sites and other partners, will now gather information and meet with key stakeholders to assess the sites and issue a technical and financial report with recommendations for action.

The 7 Most Endangered Sites in 2023 from Europa Nostra on Vimeo.

Partisan Memorial Cemetery, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Partisan Memorial Cemetery was built in 1965 in the town of Mostar. It is one of the largest anti-fascist monuments and sites in the Balkans, with its 300-metre-long paved ceremonial pathway rising more than 20 metres up a hill. The cemetery, which features some 700 individual tombstones as grave markers of freedom fighters from the Yugoslav Partisan movement, is part of a series of monuments and sites built in the region in memory of the partisans who died during World War II.

The Partisan Memorial Cemetery was designed by the famous Yugoslav architect Professor Bogdan Bogdanović from Belgrade. Skilled stonemasons built the monument over several years, using over 12,000 carved limestone pieces, rubble from the town’s destruction during the war, and traditional stone roof tiles recycled from Mostar houses. The monument was inaugurated in 1965 by the President of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the liberation of Mostar from the Nazis and their local allies in 1945.

The Partisan Memorial Cemetery – with its memorial significance and relevance – has become a target for destruction, both in times of war and in times of peace. Although much damaged during the war in 1992-1995, the Partisan Memorial Cemetery suffered further damage in the period following the war. It is important to add that after the violent disintegration of Yugoslavia, many memorial sites built after World War II were neglected or even abandoned in the wider region, including the Partisan Memorial Cemetery in Mostar.

After the war, the first conservation and restoration works on the Partisan Memorial Cemetery were done in 2005 with the support of donor funds from the Government of The Netherlands and the Kingdom of Norway, and with co-financing from the City of Mostar and Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

However, the Partisan Memorial Cemetery has been, and still is, one of the region’s contested heritage sites. This has resulted in repeated acts of vandalism up until the most recent destruction which happened in June of 2022. This was followed by numerous reactions from the Mayor, the City Council, the Commission to preserve national monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as from anti-fascist activists and associations both at local and international level, and also the reaction from numerous organisations from the territory of former Yugoslavia, which condemned the vandalism of the Partisan Memorial Cemetery. Recently, the Agency “Old City” of the City of Mostar launched the public procurement for the revitalisation, rehabilitation and illumination of the Partisan Memorial Cemetery. However, the monument does not yet have a holistic plan for its conservation and maintenance with a corresponding funding. The whole process of its necessary restoration and revitalisation therefore remains precarious.

The local community in Mostar has developed various campaigns for the legal protection of the Partisan Memorial Cemetery as a Monument of National Importance. Among other initiatives, they produced a documentary about the history of this memorial site and the threats and challenges it faces today.

The nomination of the cemetery to the 7 Most Endangered Programme 2023 was made by IDEAA Mostar with the endorsement of the Mayor of Mostar, the Galerija DESSA and Europa Nostra Serbia. The nominator advocates for adequate legal protection of the Partisan Memorial Cemetery following its designation as a Monument of National Importance back in January 2006, for the European and international recognition of its outstanding historical and artistic values, as well as for the development of a sustainable rehabilitation, maintenance and management plan for this exceptional memorial site and the allocation of necessary funds – from local, national and European sources – for the quality implementation of such a comprehensive plan.  

The Advisory Panel of the 7 Most Endangered Programme commented: “The original design of the Partisan Memorial Cemetery in Mostar deliberately avoids the use of political or religious symbolism but makes use of cosmological symbols reminiscent of pre-Columbian remains and perhaps also referencing similar elements present in medieval sites in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As such, it is an outstanding example of the high-quality commemorative culture rooted in anti-fascist ideals within SFR Yugoslavia. At the time when Europe seeks to assert and put a much stronger emphasis on the vital importance of the shared values which form the very basis of the entire European project, this significant place of memory located in the Western Balkans should be restored with the support of local, national and European funds and protected for present and future generations.”


A decade safeguarding endangered heritage across Europe

The 7 Most Endangered Programme celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Since its launch in 2013, 56 threatened monuments and heritage sites from 31 countries across Europe have been selected. In addition, in 2016, the Venice Lagoon in Italy was declared as THE most endangered heritage site in Europe; and in 2022, the Board of Europa Nostra declared the rich and diverse heritage in Ukraine as THE most endangered heritage in the whole of Europe.

The 7 Most Endangered Programme forms part of a civil society campaign to save Europe’s endangered heritage. Both tangible and intangible heritage across Europe is eligible for the 7 Most Endangered programme, regardless of whether it is publicly or privately owned. Being on the list serves as a catalyst for action and as an incentive for mobilisation of the necessary public or private support. Ultimately, the programme helps raise awareness; it also embraces and fosters the sense of European identity and the feeling of belonging to a wider European community.

The 7 Most Endangered Programme is run by Europa Nostra in partnership with the European Investment Bank Institute and also has the support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.

The Call for Nominations for the 7 Most Endangered Programme 2024 will open in May 2023.





Europa Nostra

Joana Pinheiro

Communications Coordinator

E., M. +31 6 34 36 59 85

Antigoni Michael

7 Most Endangered Programme Coordinator

E.; T. +31 (0) 70 302 40 51


European Investment Bank Institute

Bruno Rossignol,

T. +352 43 797 07 67; M. +352 621345 862     



Language versions of the press release


Video (in high resolution)


Photos & e-banners (in high resolution)


Urbana kuća “IDEAA” Mostar

Senada Demirović Habibija; M.+38761198171


Background information

Europa Nostra

Europa Nostra is the European voice of civil society committed to safeguarding and promoting cultural and natural heritage. It is a pan-European federation of heritage NGOs, supported by a wide network of public bodies, private companies and individuals, covering over 40 countries. It is recognised as the largest and the most representative heritage network in Europe, maintaining close relations with the European Union, the Council of Europe, UNESCO and other international bodies. Founded in 1963, Europa Nostra celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.

Europa Nostra campaigns to save Europe’s endangered monuments, sites and landscapes, in particular through the 7 Most Endangered Programme. It celebrates excellence through the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards. Europa Nostra actively contributes to the definition and implementation of European strategies and policies related to heritage, through a participatory dialogue with European Institutions and the coordination of the European Heritage Alliance.

Europa Nostra is among the official partners of the New European Bauhaus initiative developed by the European Commission, and is the Regional Co-Chair of the Climate Heritage Network for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

European Investment Bank Institute

The European Investment Bank Institute (EIB-I) was set up within the EIB Group (European Investment Bank and European Investment Fund) to promote and support social, cultural, and academic initiatives with European stakeholders and the public at large. It is a key pillar of the EIB Group’s community and citizenship engagement. More information at

Creative Europe

Creative Europe is the EU programme that supports the cultural and creative sectors, enabling them to increase their contribution to Europe’s society, economy and living environment. With a budget of €2.4 billion for 2021-2027, it supports organisations in the fields of heritage, performing arts, fine arts, interdisciplinary arts, publishing, film, TV, music, and video games as well as tens of thousands of artists, cultural and audiovisual professionals.


IDEAA Mostar

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