The UNESCO World Heritage Centre on Friday adopted a decision at its meeting in Istanbul to inscribe Stecci on the World Heritage List that were nominated jointly by Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, the Bosnian Ministry of Civil Affairs has reported.
The UNESCO decision recommends the inscribing of 28 necropolises on the world heritage list, 20 of which are in Bosnia and Herzegovina, three each in Serbia and Montenegro and two from Croatia.
"This is an exceptional day for us, an exceptional moment which is the icing on the cake of six years of work for a large number of experts from four countries," Minister Adil Osmanovic said immediately after the decision was made.
Minister Osmanovic said that the Stecci - medieval monolithic tombstones - had once again united the region and showed that culture has no borders and can build bridges between peoples."
Six years ago experts from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia joined forces in a joint project to nominate medieval tombstones known as Stecci to the UNESCO list of protected heritage.
Representatives of the four countries in 2009 signed a Letter of Intent and set up a task force to prepare the nomination which reflected a common dedication to preserve necropolises containing the Stecci.
"Stecak" or "Stecci" in plural is the name for monumental medieval tombstones that lie scattered across Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the border parts of Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia, although almost exclusively following the borders of the medieval Bosnian Kingdom.
Their most remarkable feature is their decorative motifs, many of which remain enigmatic to this day. Spirals, arcades, rosettes, vine leaves and grapes, suns and crescent moons are among the images that appear. Figural motifs include processions of deer, dancing the kolo, hunting and, most famously, the image of the man with his right hand raised, perhaps in a gesture of fealty.
The most renown necropolis is located in Radimlja near Stolac in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina.