In Slovakia today there are about 400 historical parks and gardens which are listed on the General Inventory of Cultural Monuments which is run by Monuments Board of Slovak Republic.
2/3 of them are in bad shape, damaged or lacking the necessary maintenance which prevents their correct and suitable interpretation and local development.
Whilst parks and gardens are perceived mainly as an important part of the cultural-historical and natural heritage of our country, their role in delivering key environmental values (maintaining favourable microclimatic conditions or assuring water retention in the urban environment) is vital and has become increasingly recognised as part of the climate change debate.
Their economic values are also critical (both directly and indirectly, well maintained parks and gardens can stimulate the creation of local services and businesses, having a positive impact on the real estate market) and social values (by building healthy communities we can prevent many socio-pathological disorders, we can provide opportunities for employment or volunteering and create safe places for the meeting of ideas, cultures and people from different nations – all very relevant topics these days!).
In the complex introduction of values of parks and gardens we should also not forget the important role of parks and gardens for human health – both physical and mental.
However, in spite of all this evidence in favour of looking after our historic green spaces, many of them are in a poor, even critical, physical state. Lots of these gems are on the edge of their existence!
In Slovakia today we are at the point when we can, and should, start the process of renovation and revitalisation of historical parks and gardens using the knowledge and experience gained from the renovation and sensible use of other types of cultural heritage and also best practice from commercial and non-commercial organisations, state and local institutions and individuals who have worked on both domestic and international projects dealing with the restoration and interpretation of parks and gardens.