Assessing the Value of Historic Prague Monuments

The Powder Tower and other famed landmarks were recently valued at far less than the price of a beer in the Czech capital

One would assume that architectural landmarks like Powder Tower and St. Nicholas Church in the Lesser Town, which give the city of Prague its everlasting tourist appeal, must be priceless. How can you place a monetary value on history?

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A recent appraisal of these very monuments, however, puts their value at a lot less than you might imagine; in fact both of the aforementioned national treasures have been valued at just 1 CZK, according to a recent article.

Martin Tomášek, Deputy Director General of the National Heritage Institute told the publication:

“In recent years, [we were] given a statutory obligation to assess all assets of the Czech Republic, including cultural heritage… in that context, the given book value is obviously not an adequate historical value.”

Other monuments with a symbolic book value of 1 CZK include St. Agnes Convent and the tower of St. Nicholas monastery.

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Václav Kovář of the real estate agency Knight Frank shed some light on these seemingly outrageous price tags: 

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“Book value of real estate is determined by cost of acquisition decreased by the periodic depreciation and increased by technical improvements. This is the value for accounting purposes only, not the fair market price.”

Applying that formula, Charles Bridge, for example, has been given a much higher value, though considering its precious historical legacy, perhaps not: minus the statues, it is worth 116,830,000 CZK. In 1955, it was valued at 60 million CZK.

The Municipal House, valued at 1,623,455,577.74 CZK, is among the monuments listed with a more monumental book value.

While the experts agree that these state-owned historical and cultural monuments are not likely to be on the market anytime soon, the idea of being able to purchase something, anything, for pocket change in the increasingly spendy Czech capital is a little thrilling.

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