STA, 10 December 2019 - A Ljubljana stadium designed by acclaimed architect Jože Plečnik in the 1920s has been shortlisted as one of the 14 pieces of European cultural heritage that could be put on a list of seven most endangered pieces.
The 7 Most Endangered pieces of European heritage will be declared in March 2020, the European Commission Representation in Slovenia said in a release on Tuesday.
The stadium was nominated for protection within a campaign of the pan-European Europa Nostra organisation and the European Investment Bank Institute by the Ljubljana Association of Architects.
The association would like to protect this masterpiece of Plečnik's, which has been been decaying for a decade, so that it could be used again in its original form.
The landmark stadium began to be built in 1925 for a Catholic sports association as one of the first such facilities in Europe.
In 2003, Slovenian rock band Siddharta filled it with 30,000 fans for a memorable concert, while Depeche Mode played there in 2006.
One of the most notorious events associated with it is the oath the Slovenian pro-Nazi militia Domobranci swore to Adolf Hitler in 1944.
The Bežigrad stadium, as it is sometimes referred to, was used for sport events and concerts until 2007, while efforts to renovate it have turned into a saga.
At the time, entrepreneur Joc Pečečnik's GSA company entered a partnership with the city of Ljubljana and the Slovenian Olympic Committee to renovate it.
Their company BŠP closed the stadium in January 2008, while in 2009 the Berlin-based GMP studio was selected in a public tender to renovate it.
But since then, a combination of problems surrounding the environmental permit, locals complaining about a piece of land between the stadium and their blocks of flats, and a civil initiative insisting the stadium be preserved in its original form has pushed the project into a limbo.
The 7 Most Endangered programme was launched in January 2013 as a civil society campaign to protect European heritage, although it brings no direct funding.
It identifies the most threatened monuments, sites and landscapes in Europe and mobilises public and private partners to find viable solutions.