The Care of our own historical Mememory reveals the Degree of Civilization and Morality
of a country












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What is Cultural Heritage

Cultural Heritage is an expression of the ways of living developed by a community and passed on from generation to generation, including customs, practices, places, objects, artistic expressions and values. Cultural Heritage is often expressed as either Intangible or Tangible Cultural Heritage (ICOMOS, 2002).

As part of human activity Cultural Heritage produces tangible representations of the value systems, beliefs, traditions and lifestyles. As an essential part of culture as a whole, Cultural Heritage, contains these visible and tangible traces form antiquity to the recent past.

Cultural Heritage is a wide concept. We prefer to concentrate on the similarities between the various heritage sectors, instead of on their differences.

Cultural Heritage types

Cultural Heritage can be distinguished in: 

  • Built Environment (Buildings, Townscapes, Archaeological remains)
  • Natural Environment (Rural landscapes, Coasts and shorelines,  Agricultural heritage)
  • Artefacts (Books & Documents, Objects, Pictures)

Driving force behind all definitions of Cultural Heritage is: 
       it is a human creation intended to inform (John Feather, 2006).


Tangible & Intangable Heritage

Having at one time referred exclusively to the monumental remains of cultures, cultural heritage as a concept has gradually come to include new categories. Today, we find that heritage is not only manifested through tangible forms such as artefacts, buildings or landscapes but also through intangible forms. Intangible heritage includes voices, values, traditions, oral history. Popularly this is perceived through cuisine, clothing, forms of shelter, traditional skills and technologies, religious ceremonies, performing arts, storytelling. Today, we consider the tangible heritage inextricably bound up with the intangible heritage. In conservation projects we aim to preserve both the tangible as well as the intangible heritage.

Heritage Cycle

The Heritage Cycle diagram gives us an idea how we can make the past part of our future (Simon Thurley, 2005). In a clockwise direction the wedges and arrows read:

  •  By understanding (cultural heritage)
    •     people value it 
  • By valuing it
    •     people want to care for it
  • By caring for it
    •     it will help people enjoy it
  • From enjoying it
    •     comes a thirst to understand 
  • By understanding it………..etc



ICOMOS, International Cultural Tourism Charter. Principles And Guidelines For Managing Tourism At Places Of Cultural And Heritage Significance. ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Committee. 2002.

John Feather, Managing the documentary heritage: issues fro the present and future. In: (Gorman, G.E. and Sydney J. Shep [eds.]), Preservation management for libraries, archives and museums. London: Facet. 2006, pp. 1-18.

Simon Thurley, Into the future. Our stategy for 2005-2010. In: Conservation Bulletin [English Heritage], 2005 (49).