Understanding Heritage and Maintaining It
cultural and architectural heritage
The conservation and preservation of any heritage is not just simply the idea of preserving some old stones. Preserving and conserving this priceless cultural and architectural heritage will forever embody the sustainable design concepts that are used and will still be used in any era.
The number of present heritage sites around the globe is increasing every day. From the scorching heat of the Upper Egyptian and Nubian deserts to the gapping Kathmandu Valley in Nepal to the biodiverse Cape Floral Region in South Africa, heritage sites can be found. (“Top 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Riviera Travel Blog”, 2022) Surprisingly, most of these heritage sites are located in rural areas and, sadly, are not adequately preserved and need to be safeguarded for all future generations.
But what exactly is a “Heritage?” Merriam-Webster dictionary defines heritage as a property that descends to an heir or something transmitted by or acquired from a predecessor such as a legacy, inheritance, or even a tradition. The cultural heritage from the old world that has been passed to the new world ranges from the built environment, natural environment, and artifacts.
In a nutshell, heritages, regardless of their type and origins, are usually human creations intended to inform. Built heritages, in specific, were centers of their communities for all kinds of different events and uses which, in return, gave the locals a sense of place. (“What is Cultural Heritage | Heritage for Peace”, 2022) While for outsiders, such as tourists and local visitors, these heritages gave them a reason to visit, populate, and work in said areas. However, one small yet significant issue arises when it comes to ensuring the future of these heritages; the issue of having enough craftsmen to safeguard them in the future.
A near incident that almost destroyed an important religious heritage site in France was when the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris rose in flames. Among the few examples to show how complex and excruciating it was to preserve and conserve this monument:
- 1300 lead tiles melted and spread toxic dust
- 28 flying buttresses had to be shored up until new timber frames were placed
- 5 tons of scaffolding were prone to collapse at any time
- 800 cubic meters of limestone are found in the Cathedral but are not all the same
- 500 tons of oak were needed to restore the wooden roof frame better known as “Le Forêt” (Broecke, 2022)
The accident in Notre Dame Cathedral is not the first or the last accident to happen to any heritage site. Each day, new skilled craftspeople become aware of the importance of heritages and put all their effort into preserving and conserving them.
The most paramount question that currently arises is: what can any regular citizens do to help in preserving and conserving heritages regardless of where that person is located across the globe?
- Awareness campaigns to further understand the importance of heritage and to educate the community
- Control mobs and acts of vandalism that destroy heritages
- Save heritages from pollution in any manner, such as smoke, erosion, or natural weathering inside these sites
- Volunteering to conserve and preserve heritages
- Collecting and generating funds to save these monuments (“India – Preserving Our Past, Forging Our Future”, 2022)
Broecke, D. (2022). Future for Religious Heritage. Retrieved 6 May 2022, from https://www.frh-europe.org/the-conservation-of-religious-heritage-is-not-only-about-preserving-some-old-stones/
India – Preserving Our Past, Forging Our Future. (2022). Retrieved 6 May 2022, from https://sites.google.com/a/gsbi.org/gvc1311/india
Top 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Riviera Travel Blog. (2022). Retrieved 6 May 2022, from https://www.rivieratravel.co.uk/blog/2019/03/20/top-10-unesco-world-heritage-sites/
What is Cultural Heritage | Heritage for Peace. (2022). Retrieved 6 May 2022, from https://www.heritageforpeace.org/heritage-for-peace/what-is-cultural-heritage/