Charter for the preservation of Quebec's Heritage (Deschambault Declaration) - 1982

Deschambault Declaration
Adopted by the Conseil des monuments et des sites du Québec,
ICOMOS Canada French-Speaking Committee, April 1982.



 The postwar period has witnessed the worldwide spread of various currents of thought that seem to adjust people's way of living to new socio- economic conditions, and to criticize the consequences of industrialization, of urbanization on a massive scale, of progress at all costs, and of the consumer society. Whether extreme or moderate, these ideologies have helped to make people aware of certain human values that merited preservation. These things of value include the architectural, artistic or simply material remains that our predecessors have bequeathed us.

The basic principles of heritage preservation were set forth in the

Venice International Charter of 1964, which was signed by experts from many countries. The aim of this charter was to regulate and promote efforts to safeguard national heritages. Subsequently, at Amsterdam and Nairobi this initial undertaking was further developed by the addition of other basic principles that expressed an increased desire not only to pass on an accumulated heritage, but also to broaden the concept of heritage itself. Henceforth, people wanted to ensure the preservation of all aspects of national heritage.

This movement began to have a noticeable influence on Quebec from 1960 on. The Quebec government's first action in this field was to create a Ministry of Cultural Affairs which made it possible to pass the Cultural Properties Act in 1972. At that moment our heritage acquired value in the eyes of the law. However, even before this Act was passed, the community had organized itself into groups that differed in structure, but shared a common desire to become involved in safeguarding their environment and culture, and to develop strategies that would make the different levels of government aware of the issue.

This individual and collective commitment resulted in significant achievements in the areas of preservation, stimulation of community participation and development. Whether through municipal, provincial or federal programs, large-scale projects or more modest actions, the people of Quebec have shown that they are interested in their heritage and are determined to revive it.

The Conseil des monuments et sites du Québec offers this charter in support of these efforts. The Charter is intended as an orientation guide, a reference tool, a remedy and above all a code of ethics that we should adopt in dealing with our heritage. While this charter draws upon previous experience and on international currents of thought, the principles of preservation and development it contains may be applied by all individuals and organizations that are concerned with the protection of the natural, cultural and historical aspects of the Quebec heritage.

The first aim of this charter, which has been specifically drafted for Quebec, is to try to identify our cultural personality, and thereby define the special nature of our heritage. Secondly, the charter seeks to encourage people to think before they act; and finally, it proposes a framework for action that is positive and objective, that provides incentive, and that takes into account both the particular problems of Quebec and contemporary doctrines of heritage development.


The experience of Quebec is similar to that of other nations in that the specific character of its culture has been determined by its history which has taken place in a particular environment. The main features of this environment are a harsh climate, a vast territory, the relatively recent establishment of a North American civilization that is European in origin, the French fact, Catholicism and a particular pattern of human settlement.

Wrested from the American Indians who were its original inhabitants, Quebec became first a French, then a British colony, and finally a part of the Canadian confederation. Quebec's political history has been marked by the struggle to preserve its French and Catholic roots on a North American continent where the majority of the population is and has been English-speaking.

Nevertheless, a variety of elements has contributed to the development of our social fabric. In the course of time, immigrants from different places have been added to the amalgam of the three peoples who originally fought over the territory of Quebec. Sometimes immigration occurred all at once, as in the case of the Loyalists and the Irish; and sometimes it was spread over time, as happened with the Italians and the Chinese. Little by little, the immigrant phenomenon has altered the physiognomy and mentality of Quebec's population.

Our material heritage has been marked not only by this mixture of cultural traits, but also by certain fashions that have had international currency. Of these, the Victorian influence is certainly the most important, but we also find traces of Art Nouveau, the skyscraper era and many other esthetic or technological vogues.

Economic life, that mainspring of societies, has probably had the greatest impact on the distribution of Quebec's population. From the very beginning, more or less densely populated communities were concentrated in areas that had acquired importance because of the fur trade. Seigniorial estates and English townships provided the framework for the development of agriculture. Many elements of our society were drawn northward by the forest products and mining industries. Finally, the spectacular growth of the United States had repercussions of the utmost importance on our economic model and our way of life: massive urbanization, high rate of consumption, establishment of large industrial centres and development of means of transportation for natural, human and energy resources.

Many other factors have contributed to the shaping of our image. The preponderance of Catholicism prompted the proliferation of churches and convents and gave rise to an art that was centered on the sacred. The rigors of the climate forced people to make adaptations in every aspect of their way of life. As for the distribution of population, it was for the most part determined by the waterways of the St. Lawrence basin.

It would be pointless to offer here an exhaustive list of all the geographic, social, historical and economic factors that have contributed to the development of our cultural fabric. Suffice it to say that this ferment of ideas, habits and customs, taking place as it did in a particular geographic context, has given rise to traditions, a folklore, a mentality, ways of doing things, and architecture, a social structure and, in sum, an art of living that is uniquely Quebecois. Though the elements that make up this culture have not all been integrated to the same degree, nor in the same way, their importance cannot be doubted. They constitute our heritage, which is nourished and strengthened by the past, and continues to flourish in the lives of the present generations. We cannot allow this dynamic growth to be cut off from its roots.


We felt the need to publish this charter because all too often our heritage is threatened, when it is not forgotten or destroyed. This problem, of course, is not peculiar to Quebec. Modernization and the pursuit of new lifestyles have, in fact, relentlessly imperiled national heritages everywhere. Such is the price of progress!

In Quebec, the great distances between population centres and the immensity of the territory have led to a more or less integrated development. All these factors have been unfavorable to the preservation of our national heritage. Consequently, we must show greater vigilance, enhance dialogue and consultation, and do more to mobilize the forces of the community.

The climate is also, at times, a menace to our architectural heritage and to the remains of former times. Frost, especially combined with thawing, has a serious effect on buildings in Quebec. Rapid and technologically competent action is necessary in this area.

Finally, our European and North American cultural heritage is threatened by a danger that is less perceptible but no less real than the others. Because this culture is of recent origin and only extends over a short span of time, it would be inappropriate to rely solely on chronological classification to determine the relative value of its different elements. One should not, for example, attribute greater value to the remains of the 18th century than to those of the 19th. Of course, the older things are, the rarer and more valuable they generally are; however, one must use subtlety in judging these matters.


Heritage is defined as "the combined creations and products of nature and man, in their entirety, that make up the environment in which we live in space and time.

Heritage is a reality, a possession of the community, and a rich inheritance that may be passed on, which invites our recognition and our participation."

(Quebec Association for the Interpretation of the National Heritage, Committee on Terminology, July 1980).

The concept of heritage as defined above is intended to cover much more than buildings erected in a more or less distant past. Neither in the past nor in the future is heritage limited in time. We use the heritage of yesterday to build the heritage of tomorrow, for culture is by its very nature dynamic and is constantly being renewed and enriched.

Heritage, in our view, is a very comprehensive term that includes three major entities: material culture (cultural properties) and the geographic and human environments. People are, of course, most familiar with the concept of cultural properties since these are defined by law. We should remember, however, that in addition to formal and popular architecture, these properties include all other forms of material evidence, such as archaeological and ethnographical objects, iconography, written archives, furniture, art objects and, in sum, the whole of the material environment in which we live. The geographical environment is nature as it manifests itself on the territory of Quebec in coast, mountain and plain. We wish to insist above all on the great importance of our landscapes and our natural sites, which have a unique esthetic and/or panoramic value. And let us note, finally, that the people in their environment, who have their own customs and traditions, whose memory is furnished with a particular folklore, and whose way of living is adapted to this specific setting, are a human and social treasure that also requires protection.

This broad definition of our national heritage includes, then, all the elements of our civilization, as they exist not only individually but also as components of larger historical, cultural and traditional unities or, to put it in simpler terms, as examples of man's adaptation to his environment. This concept of heritage includes the idea of a cultural landscape which may be defined as the result of the interaction of human society and nature.

Preservation of the national heritage may be viewed, in this light, as that combination of study, expertise and physical intervention which aims at conserving every element of this heritage in the best possible condition. This activity involves proper maintenance, consolidation, repair, safeguarding and restoration, to prevent the deterioration and, at worst, the destruction of the national heritage.

Article I


Article I-A
The citizens of Quebec have, in the first place, an individual responsibility to protect their heritage. They must do all they can to appreciate its value, to strive to understand its full significance, and to contribute to its preservation.

Article I-B
This individual responsibility must also find expression in every decision that is made on behalf of the community, whether by elected representatives or by corporate or institutional managers.

Article II


Article II-A
The national heritage must be preserved, safeguarded and developed for the benefit of present and future generations. This treasure does not belong to us; it has been entrusted to us so we may pass it on to others. We must ensure its proper use and conservation.

Article II-B
All the laws and regulations as well as the fiscal, financial and administrative mechanisms in their entirety must further the preservation and development of the national heritage. This action must start at the municipal level, for the municipalities are the primary legal representatives of the community.

Article II-C
The national heritage must remain in the possession of the people of Quebec, and it must be recognized that cultural properties belong in their place of origin.

Article II-D
The greatest possible attention must be paid to authenticity in preserving and developing the national heritage, and in passing it on to future generations. When only certain elements of this heritage remain, these must be treated as integral wholes. Any action taken must be comprehensible and reversible.

Article III


Article III-A
All the appropriate means for acquiring this knowledge must be provided. In particular, we must have up-to-date inventories and the specialized expertise that is required before any action can be taken.

Article IV


Article IV-A
Interdisciplinary teams must assess the cultural, historical, natural, social and esthetic importance of our heritage on the national, regional and local levels.

Article IV-B
Respect must be shown for the significant contribution of every historical period.

Article V


Article V-A
Protection of our national heritage must be ensured, in the first place, by ongoing maintenance.

Article V-B
The development of cultural properties is of essential importance. This development includes all measures that serve to make them accessible and useful, and that, if necessary, make it possible to reintroduce them into the daily life of the people of Quebec.

Article V-C
Every action to preserve the national heritage should be designed to conserve as much as possible of the original, and to avoid reconstruction based on conjecture.

Article V-D
The development of cultural properties should be followed up by the dissemination of that practical knowledge that is required for passing on these properties to future generations and ensuring their permanent protection.

Article VI


Article VI-A
Legislation affecting the national heritage must take precedence over all other legislation.

Article VI-B
The principles of protection and development of the national heritage must have primacy in all development plans.

Article VI-C
When the importance, for our heritage, of a building or group of buildings or landscapes has been recognized, these must take precedence over the rest of the environment. This consideration must be a decisive factor in any alteration of that environment, and the adaption, integration and respect of the heritage material must be ensured.

Article VI-D
Any contemporary additions, which must be creative works in their own right, have to be integrated and harmonized with the surrounding context in regard to tonality, texture, proportions, pattern of filled and empty spaces, and overall composition.

It must not be forgotten that an archaeological analysis of all ground where new construction is planned is absolutely essential, to uncover the earlier remains of construction and habitation and, where necessary, to examine the possibilities of conservation in site.

Article VII


Article VII-A
At all times, those who may become involved in actions to preserve our heritage have a responsibility to disseminate information on that heritage, to implement procedures ensuring the circulation of ideas, to further community participation, and to promote the preservation of our heritage.

Article VII-B
When the national heritage is affected by a particular action, those responsible for that action must consult with the citizens and inform them of the scope of that action.

Documents relating to such actions must be made available to the public and must be prepared in such a way that non-specialists can understand them.

Furthermore, those involved in furthering these actions must develop adequate consultation procedures in order to take note of the opinions of the public. Such procedures will, in particular, include public hearings, information sessions and exhibitions.

Article VIII


Article VIII-A
Our heritage must be employed in such a way as to maintain or introduce functions that are useful to society and that are compatible with the structure and nature of the buildings, spaces and sites of which it is made up. In using our heritage, we must show consideration for its integration into the economic and social activities of the surrounding community.

Article VIII-B
We must promote the continuous use of our heritage, without any interruption of occupation.

Article VIII-C
Whenever we decide to make new use of heritage material, we must ensure the preservation of all the important characteristics of that material.

Any changes that are made must, at all times, be reversible.

Article VIII-D
The selection of a new function for heritage material must avoid excessive use and the deterioration that would result from such use.

Article IX


Article IX-A
In using our heritage, we must preserve or reintroduce everyday life rather than the artificial life of museums and tourist centres. Preference should be given to traditional occupations; and we must, in any case, respect the needs and legitimate aspirations of the inhabitants, even if this requires us to adopt uses that are different from the original uses.

Article IX-B
In other words, it is necessary to encourage respect for the established rights of the local population. The housing function should take precedence over all other uses and be given first priority.

Article X


Article X-A
Our educational system must disseminate knowledge pertaining to our heritage, to make people aware of its value and of the need to preserve it.

Article X-B
The educational system must ensure that traditions are passed on, and thereby encourage the training of artisans, technicians and professionals who will be able to work to safeguard our heritage.

Article X-C
Other educational authorities (the family, newspapers and magazines, radio and TV, etc.) must also do their part in furthering heritage education. In particular, heritage practitioners and specialists increase awareness through the communication of their knowledge to the general public.

The Declaration of San Antonio (1996)

We, the presidents, delegates and members of the ICOMOS National Committees of the Americas, met in San Antonio, Texas, United States of America, from the 27th to the 30th of March, 1996, at the InterAmerican Symposium on Authenticity in the Conservation and Management of the Cultural Heritageto discuss the meaning of authenticity in preservation in the Americas. We did so in response to the call issued by the Secretary General of ICOMOS for regional participation in the international debate on the subject.

For the past twelve months, members of the ICOMOS National Committees of the Americas have studied, read and discussed the documents produced in 1994 by the meetings of specialists on authenticity in Bergen, Norway, and Nara, Japan, as well as other pertinent documents. In preparation for the assembly in San Antonio, each National Committee prepared and submitted a National Position Paper that summarized the results of its own national or regional findings.

Having discussed the nature, definition, proofs, and management of authenticity in relation to the architectural, urban, archaeological and cultural landscape heritage of the Americas in an assembly that was open to members of all the ICOMOS National Committees of the Americas and to preservation organizations from the regions, we issue the following summary of our findings and recommendations:

    The authenticity of our cultural heritage is directly related to our cultural identity.The cultures and the heritage of the Americas are distinct from those of other continents because of their unique development and influences. Our languages, our societal structures, our economic means, and our spiritual beliefs vary within our continent, and yet, there are strong common threads that unify the Americas. Among these is our autochthonous heritage, which has not been entirely destroyed in spite of the violence of the Conquest Era and a persistent process of acculturation; the heritage from the European colonizers and the African slavery that together have helped build our nations; and finally, the more recent contribution of European and Asian immigrants who came searching for a dream of freedom and helped to consolidate it. All these groups have contributed to the rich and syncretic pluriculturalism that makes up our dynamic continental identity.

    Because cultural identity is at the core of community and national life, it is the foundation of our cultural heritage and its conservation. Within the cultural diversity of the Americas, groups with separate identities co-exist in the same space and time and at times across space and time, sharing cultural manifestations, but often assigning different values to them. No nation in the Americas has a single national identity; our diversity makes up the sum of our national identities.

    The authenticity of our cultural resources lies in the identification, evaluation and interpretation of their true values as perceived by our ancestors in the past and by ourselves now as an evolving and diverse community. As such, the Americas must recognize the values of the majorities and the minorities without imposing a hierarchical predominance of any one culture and its values over those of others.

    The comprehensive cultural value of our heritage can be understood only through an objective study of history, the material elements inherent in the tangible heritage, and a deep understanding of the intangible traditions associated with the tangible patrimony.

    When taking into account the value of heritage sites as related to cultural identity, the Americas face the global problem of cultural homogenization, which tends to dilute and erase local values in favor of those that are being advanced universally, often as stereotyped illusions with commercial ends. This weakens the role of heritage sites. While we accept the importance of traditional values as an instrument in ethnic and national identity, we reject their use to promote exacerbated nationalism and other conflicting attitudes that would lead our continent away from mutual respect and a permanent peace.

    An understanding of the history and significance of a site over time are crucial elements in the identification of its authenticity. The understanding of the authenticity of a heritage site depends on a comprehensive assessment of the significance of the site by those who are associated with it or who claim it as part of their history. For this reason, it is important to understand the origins and evolution of the site as well as the values associated with it. Variations in the meaning and values of a site may at times be in conflict, and while that conflict needs to be mediated, it may, in fact, enrich the value of the heritage site by being the point of convergence of the values of various groups. The history of a site should not be manipulated to enhance the dominant values of certain groups over those of others.
    The material fabric of a cultural site can be a principal component of its authenticity. As emphasized in Article 9 of the Venice Charter, the presence of ancient and original elements is part of the basic nature of a heritage site. The Charter also indicates that the material elements of our tangible cultural heritage are bearers of important information about our past and our identity. Those messages include information about a site's original creation as well as the layered messages that resulted from the interaction between the resource and new and diverse cultural circumstances. For these reasons, those materials and their setting need to be identified, evaluated and protected. In the case of cultural landscapes, the importance of material fabric must be weighed along with the immaterial distinctive character and components of the site.

    Over time, heritage sites have come to possess a testimonial value -- which may be aesthetic, historic or otherwise -- that is readily evident to most of society. In addition to the testimonial value, there are less evident documentary values that require an understanding of the historic fabric in order to identify their meaning and their message. Since the documentary value responds to evolving questions posed by the community over time, it is important that the material evidence, defined in terms of design, materials, manufacture, location, and context be preserved in order to retain its ability to continue to manifest and convey those concealed values to present and future generations.

    The degree to which documented missing elements are replaced as part of restoration treatments varies within the Americas in accordance to the cultural characteristics of each country. Some national policies indicate that what is lost can only be part of our memory and not of our heritage. Elsewhere, policies encourage the replacement of fully documented elements in facsimile form in order to re-establish the site's full significance. Nevertheless, we emphasize that only the historic fabric is authentic, and interpretations achieved through restoration are not; they can only authentically represent the meaning of a site as understood in a given moment. Furthermore, we universally reject the reliance on conjecture or hypotheses for restoration.

    Apart from the above, there are important sectors of our patrimony that are built of perishable materials that require periodic replacement in accordance with traditional crafts to ensure continued use. Similarly, there are heritage sites built of durable materials but that are subject to damage caused by periodic natural catastrophes, such as earthquakes, floods and hurricanes. In these cases, we also assert the validity of using traditional techniques for their repair, especially when those techniques are still in use in the region, or when more sophisticated approaches would be economically prohibitive.

    We recognize that in certain types of heritage sites, such as cultural landscapes, the conservation of overall character and traditions, such as patterns, forms and spiritual value, may be more important than the conservation of the physical features of the site, and as such, may take precedence. Therefore, authenticity is a concept much larger that material integrity and the two concepts must not be assumed to be equivalent or consubstantial.

    Beyond the material evidence, heritage sites can carry a deep spiritual message that sustains communal life, linking it to the ancestral past. This spiritual meaning is manifested through customs and traditions such as settlement patterns, land use practices, and religious beliefs. The role of these intangibles is an inherent part of the cultural heritage, and as such, their link to the meaning of the tangible elements of the sites must be carefully identified, evaluated, protected and interpreted.

    The goal of preserving memory and its cultural manifestations must be approached by aiming to enrich human spirituality, beyond the material aspect. Historic research and surveys of the physical fabric are not enough to identify the full significance of a heritage site, since only the concerned communities that have a stake in the site can contribute to the understanding and expression of the deeper values of the site as an anchor to their cultural identity.

    In cultural landscapes, including urban areas, the process of identifying and protecting social value is complex because so many separate interest groups may be involved. In some cases, this situation is further complicated because the traditional indigenous groups that once protected and developed the sites are now adopting new and at times conflicting values that spring from the market economy, and from their desire for more social and economic integration in the national life. We recognize that sustainable development may be a necessity for those who inhabit cultural landscapes, and that a process for mediation must be developed to address the dynamic nature of these sites so that all values may be properly taken into account. We also recognize that in some cases, there may be a hierarchy of values that is related to the stake of some groups in a site.

    The heritage of the Americas includes dynamic cultural sites that continue to be actively used by society, as well as static sites such as archaeological sites no longer used by the descendants of their builders. These two types of sites have differing natures; and their conservation needs, the determination of their authenticity, and their interpretation vary according to their character.

    Dynamic cultural sites, such as historic cities and landscapes, may be considered to be the product of many authors over a long period of time whose process of creation often continues today. This constant adaptation to human need can actively contribute to maintaining the continuum among the past, present and future life of our communities. Through them our traditions are maintained as they evolve to respond to the needs of society. This evolution is normal and forms an intrinsic part of our heritage. Some physical changes associated with maintaining the traditional patterns of communal use of the heritage site do not necessarily diminish it's significance and may actually enhance it. Therefore, such material changes may be acceptable as part of on-going evolution.

    Static cultural sites include those valued as the concluded work of a single author or group of authors and whose original or early message has not been transformed. They are appreciated for their aesthetic value, or for their significance in commemorating persons and events important in the history of the community, the nation, or the world. In these sites, which are often recognized as monumental structures, the physical fabric requires the highest level of conservation in order to limit alterations to their character.

    Another type of site that may be static is the archaeological site whose active communal and social purpose have faded or even ceased. For a variety of reasons, the descendants of the original creators and traditional inhabitants have lost their direct link to the physical fabric of the site, thereby also weakening their ability to perceive and interpret the site's meaning and value. Because the pre-European cultures of the Americas lacked writing, the most direct link to that past lies in the material evidence of the archaeological sites, with the added complication that the information that they offer is incomplete and at times random. The authenticity of archaeological sites is non-renewable. It resides in its material elements and their context, that is, the relationship of the structures and objects among themselves and with the physical surroundings. Authenticity can be destroyed when the context of the site is not properly documented, when layers are eliminated to reach deeper ones, when total excavation is undertaken and when the findings are not rigorously and broadly disseminated. For these reasons, witnesses of the original stratigraphy must be maintained so that future generations may analyze them with more sophisticated techniques than those in existence today.

    Only through study, publication and research of the physical evidence can these sites and their objects once again manifest their values and re-establish their links to our present cultural identity. However, the interpretation of the sites can authentically reflect only fluctuating interests and values, and in itself, interpretation is not inherently authentic, only honest and objective. For these reasons, the intactness of the physical evidence in its entirety demands the most thorough documentation, protection and conservation so that objectivity of interpretation may respond to new information derived from that fabric.

    Regardless of the type of site, contemporary treatments must rescue the character of all cultural resources without transforming their essence and balance. New elements must be harmonious with the character of the whole.

    The heritage of the Americas is characterized by very heterogeneous patterns of ownership and stewardship. While many sites are properly protected by their stewards, at times some sites are under the jurisdiction of local authorities that lack the ability to determine properly the comprehensive value of the sites or the appropriate treatments for their conservation. Other times, the original inhabitants who created and cared for a cultural site have been replaced by new populations that have little or no cultural affinity for the site and place little or no value in it, leading to its abandonment and decay. This situation urgently demands that the proper national and local authorities and the present owners, stewards and inhabitants be made fully aware of the value that other majority and minority sectors of the population may have for the site. Both the communities and the constituted authorities must be provided the means for the correct knowledge and evaluation of the heritage, its protection and conservation, and the promotion of its artistic and spiritual enjoyment, as well as its educational use.
    The authenticity of heritage sites lies intrinsically in their physical fabric, and extrinsically on the values assigned to them by those communities who have a stake in them. Tourists constitute one of those groups that values the site and has an interest in its meaning and conservation.

    Since cultural tourism is often a substantial source of revenue for local and national economies, its development is acceptable, as originally formulated in the Norms of Quito. Nevertheless, the limited values that tourists may place on a site and the economic concerns for tourism revenue cannot be allowed to be the overriding criterion in a site's conservation and interpretation. This is especially true when the authenticity of fabric and its context, and of the site's broader values and message are altered, diminished, or threatened.

    In the Americas, the authenticity of many archaeological sites has been compromised through reconstructions. In spite of their educational value, reconstructions aimed to promote tourism reduce the authenticity of such sites by involving new hands, new materials and new criteria, and by altering the appearance of the site.

    Furthermore, within the framework of economic development, the problem of permanently poor populations remains a critical factor in the urban cores of many historic cities of the Americas. Bringing about an awareness of the cultural value of the urban heritage on the part of these poor sectors cannot be achieved without a comprehensive approach to solve their marked material and social marginality.

Given all of the above considerations, we the Presidents of the ICOMOS National Committees of the Americas hereby offer for discussion at the General Assembly in Sofia the following general recommendations as well as the specific discussion group recommendations that emerged from the extensive discussions held in San Antonio by the participants in the InterAmerican Symposium on Authenticity in the Conservation and Management of the Cultural Heritage. Furthermore, we recognize and commend the Nara Document as a valuable instrument for discussion, but find it incomplete and, therefore, endorse the appended commentaries on the Nara Document based on the needs we have identified relating to the heritage of the Americas:

    1. That our appreciation be conveyed to the members of US/ICOMOS, to the Getty Conservation Institute and the San Antonio Conservation Society for organizing and sponsoring the InterAmerican Symposium on Authenticity, and that the authorities of the City of San Antonio, Texas, be recognized for their hospitality during our meeting and for their accomplishments in preserving the heritage of this beautiful historic city.
    2. That a process be established that will help to define and protect authenticity in the material legacies of our diverse cultural heritage, and that will lead to the recognition of a broad range of significant resources through the comprehensive and specific evaluation of cultural value, the administrative context, and the history of the site. The Burra Charter and its operational guidelines may serve as a model for this process. Such a process should include management mechanisms that will ensure the involvement of all concerned groups. Individual experts representative of a broad range of disciplines and interests, all relevant groups in the process and other interested or affected parties must be included in the management process of determination of significance and treatments in a heritage site.
    3. That further consideration be given to the proofs of authenticity so that indicators may be identified for such a determination in a way that all significant values in the site may be set forth. The following are some examples of indicators:
      1. Reflection of the true value. That is, whether the resource remains in the condition of its creation and reflects all its significant history.
      2. Integrity. That is, whether the site is fragmented; how much is missing, and what are the recent additions.
      3. Context. That is, whether the context and/or the environment correspond to the original or other periods of significance; and whether they enhance or diminish the significance.
      4. Identity. That is, whether the local population identify themselves with the site, and whose identity the site reflects.
      5. Use and function. That is, the traditional patterns of use that have characterized the site.
    4. That given the comprehensive nature of the cultural heritage, the existing principles contained in all pertinent charters and declarations be consolidated as part of the development of a comprehensive approach and guideline to the practice of heritage conservation. These should include the Venice Charter, the 1965 UNESCO Archaeological Guidelines, the Burra Charter, the Declaration of Oaxaca, the Florence Charter, the Washington Charter, the Nara Document, the Charter of Brasilia, this Declaration of San Antonio, etc.
    1. That proper recognition be given to the values inherent in the cultural diversity of our historic urban centers.
    2. That programs be established to develop a greater awareness among the many cultural groups of their multiplicity of values.
    3. That through additional awareness and educational programs, governmental authorities and stewardship groups be made aware of the role of social and cultural values in protecting the authenticity of buildings and sites.
    4. That flexible and open processes for consultation and mediation be instituted at the local level in order to identify communal values and other aspects of cultural significance in historic urban districts.
    5. Since historic urban districts and towns are a type of cultural landscape, that many of the recommendations issued by the Cultural Landscapes Group also be applied to this sector of the heritage.
    1. That more attention be paid to authenticity in archaeological sites on the part of ICOMOS. Perhaps because of the membership composition of ICOMOS, there has not been enough concern for this heritage sector in the Americas.
    2. That more analysis be dedicated to the relationship authenticity might have to such activities as stabilization, consolidation, construction of protective shelters, etc.
    3. That descriptive and accurate documentation be an absolute requirement in all archaeological work. As sites are excavated, they are depleted of information, like books whose pages disappear. Interpretation is not controllable, but the record is. The archaeological record must be truthful and reliable -- in other words, authentic, objective and rigorous.
    4. That all interventions and excavations in archaeological sites always be accompanied by implementation of a conservation and permanent protection plan.
    5. That the authenticity of archaeological evidence be given proper protection when sites are threatened by urban encroachment or by civil works, such as road construction.
    6. That authenticity be protected prior to artificial flooding and the construction of dams through the exhaustive documentation of the area, with appropriate rescue techniques for the archaeological evidence, and followed by the publication of the results.
    7. That if excavated sites are not properly attended to and managed, conservation measures -- such as site re-burial -- must be considered to ensure that some level of authenticity is maintained through the ages.
    8. That a large part of the authenticity of an archaeological site resides in the undisturbed buried archaeological remains of the fill, and as such, should be minimally excavated by archaeologists, only to the extent necessary to determine the significance of the site.
    9. That some archaeological sites are still held to be sacred by the descendants of the creators of the site, and as such, should be minimally disturbed, or not disturbed at all, by archaeologists or development.
    1. That processes of negotiation be established to mediate among the different interests and values of the many groups who own or live in cultural landscapes.
    2. Since cultural landscapes are complex and dynamic, that the process of determining and protecting authenticity be sufficiently flexible to incorporate this dynamic quality.
    3. That the concept of sustainable development and its relationship to the management of cultural landscapes be defined in order to include economic, social, spiritual and cultural concerns.
    4. That the conservation of cultural landscapes seek a balance between the significant natural and cultural resources.
    5. That the needs and values of the local communities be taken into consideration when the future of cultural landscapes is being determined.
    6. That further work be done on appropriate legislation and governmental planning methodologies to protect the values associated with cultural landscapes.
    7. Since in conserving the authenticity of cultural landscapes the overall character and traditions, such as patterns, forms, land use and spiritual value of the site may take precedence over material and design aspects, that a clear relationship between values and the proof of authenticity be established.
    8. That expert multi-disciplinary assessments become a requirement for the determination of authenticity in cultural landscapes, and that such expert groups include social scientists who can accurately articulate the values of the local communities.
    9. That the authenticity of cultural landscapes be protected prior to major changes in land use and to the construction of large public and private projects, by requiring responsible authorities and financing organizations to undertake environmental impact studies that will lead to the mitigation of negative impacts upon the landscape and the traditional values associated with these sites.
    That the attached commentaries on the Nara Document be considered in all international documents and guidelines as a reflection of the definition, proof and protection of the authenticity of the Cultural Heritage of the Americas.



Resulting from discussions among the participants in the InterAmerican Symposium on Authenticity in the Conservation and Management of the Cultural Heritage, organized by US/ICOMOS, The Getty Conservation Institute and the San Antonio Conservation Society: San Antonio, Texas, March 27-30, 1996.

First and foremost, the Symposium participants extend their congratulations to the drafting committee of the Nara Document for this important and timely contribution to the field of cultural heritage protection. We also recognize that this Document was discussed and approved by the participants in the Nara Document and that, as such, it is not subject to change. However, because it has been made available to the global conservation community for study and discussion, it is important that its relevance to the cultural heritage of the Americas be analyzed. It is in that spirit that these comments are offered:


The Preface to the Nara Document states,

"The experts considered that an expanded dialogue in different regions of the world and among specialist groups concerned with the diversity of cultural heritage was essential to further refine the concept and application of authenticity as it relates to cultural heritage. Such on-going dialogue will be encouraged by ICOMOS, ICCROM, and the World Heritage Centre, and will be brought to the Committee's attention as appropriate."

In keeping with this recommendation, US/ICOMOS took on the challenge to organize a meeting of presidents, delegates and members of the ICOMOS committees from the Americas to assemble in San Antonio, Texas, to consider the definitions and applicability of authenticity to the conservation and management of heritage in their regions. One of the tasks taken up by the group was a careful review of the articles of the Nara Document, for the purpose of examining whether the American point of view is fully represented in the document.

It was acknowledged by all present that the Nara Document represents considerable diplomatic and substantive work on the part of the individuals involved in its development. The participants in the San Antonio symposium concur with the Nara group that the subject is central to preservation work around the world, and its closer definition and more thorough understanding is of profound and timely importance to the professional community. It was also believed that while the Nara Document is focused on the needs for implementing the World Heritage Convention, by its very nature, the Document will find a broader application. Therefore, some of our comments may address its broader sense. While the Nara Document will certainly find a place in the interpretation of the World Heritage Convention and to the applications of other guidelines, it was felt by the group in San Antonio that several substantive issues that surfaced could usefully be brought forward to ICOMOS in the forum of the ICOMOS General Assembly in Sofia, Bulgaria, in October 1996 and to the World Heritage Committee.

In general, the group believes that the Nara Document is a good articulate discussion of complex issues, in spite of the difficulty in closely tracking the English and French versions. In several articles [Articles 6, 12, and 13], the English text appears weak in comparison to the French, and the meaning of the two texts does not correspond exactly, making it difficult to determine which meaning reflects the real intention of the authors. The comments on this point were made with the understanding that the document had been produced under challenging time pressures and that some language revisions are still under way.

More specifically, six of the articles were seen to present opportunities for further discussion within the context of the concerns of the ICOMOS National Committees of the Americas and the nature of our cultural heritage.

The participants at the InterAmerican Symposium believes that in the Americas the concept of participation by the local community and stakeholders needs to be stronger than the text implies in order that they be involved in all processes from the beginning. By identifying the stages for such involvement, the Nara Document excludes the local community, for instance, from the identification process.

The San Antonio group believes that in the Americas, and perhaps elsewhere, the use of the words "nationalism" and "minorities" are inappropriate, for they do not cover the rather common case in this hemisphere where a minority within a nation may be more influential and impose its cultural values over larger, even majority groups, all within a shared national identity.

Also, the concept was advanced that this article omits one important mechanism in the search for cultural identity in the Americas, which is the re-assignation of lost or new values for weakened cultural traditions and heritage, especially those associated with the native American patrimony.

There was discussion in San Antonio as to whether this Article incorporates a very important characteristic of the Americas, which is the close coexistence of vastly differing cultural groups, including, in extreme cases, the close proximity of post-industrial, highly technical societies with nomadic tribes who live in close interaction with the natural environment. It was thought that this coexistence needs to be acknowledged and respected throughout the conservation process.

Responsibility for cultural heritage and the management of it belongs, in the first place, to the cultural community that generated it, and subsequently to that which cares for it. However, in addition to these responsibilities, adherence to the international charters and conventions developed for conservation of cultural heritage also obliges consideration of the principles and responsibilities flowing from them. Balancing its own requirements with those of other cultural communities is, for each community, highly desirable, provided achieving this balance does not undermine their fundamental cultural values.

The first sentence in this article,

It is important to underline a fundamental principle of UNESCO, to the effect that the cultural heritage of each is the cultural heritage of all.

reflects an important idea within the World Heritage context, but the group felt strongly that in a broader context the wording could easily lead to serious misinterpretation. First, the statement "the cultural heritage of each is the cultural heritage of all"could be used to support the idea that decisions over the heritage of a nation could rightfully be made by outside authorities. Unless the site or monument is on the World Heritage List, this was seen as an inappropriate possibility that undermined sovereignty. Second, at the other extreme, this statement could also be used to support the abdication of responsibility of a nation to care for its heritage when it should.

While the second sentence would appear to address that point, the current wording of the first sentence weakens its strength:

Responsibility for cultural heritage and the management of it belongs, in the first place to the cultural community that has generated it and subsequently, to that which cares for it.

The San Antonio group believes that where the community that created the heritage is still its steward or holds a stake in its survival, it should be responsible for its care. Where the heritage has passed into the common holding of a nation where it stands, the nation must take responsibility. Here again, the problem may lie in the translation.

The last sentence in Article 8,

Balancing their own requirements with those of other cultural communities is for each community highly desirable, provided achieving this balance does not undermine their fundamental cultural values.

is also problematic in its current wording, because the identification of "fundamental cultural values" is not possible or desirable in this context.

It was thought that this text does not fully reflect the concerns of the Americas because it does not directly state that in the understanding of authenticity it is crucial to acknowledge the dynamic nature of cultural values, and that to gain such understanding static and inflexible criteria must be avoided.

The participants believe that this Article lacks needed clarity and emphasis that could have been provided by a reiteration in its last sentence of the definition of what the cultural context constitutes:

a) that which created it; b) that to which it currently belongs; and c) the broader cultural context to the extent possible.

Guidelines for Education and training in the conservation of Monuments, Ensembles and Sites (1993)

The General Assembly of the International Council on Monuments and Sites, ICOMOS, meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka, at its tenth session from July 30 to August 7, 1993;

Considering the breadth of the heritage encompassed within the concept of monuments, ensembles and sites;

Considering the great variety of actions and treatments required for the conservation of these heritage resources, and the necessity of a common discipline for their guidance;

Recognizing that many different professions need to collaborate within the common discipline of conservation in the process and require proper education and training in order to guarantee good communication and coordinated action in conservation;

Noting the Venice Charter and related ICOMOS doctrine, and the need to provide a reference for the institutions and bodies involved in developing training programmes, and to assist in defining and building up appropriate standards and criteria suitable to meet the specific cultural and technical requirements in each community or region;

Adopts the following guidelines, and Recommends that they be diffused for the information of appropriate institutions, organizations and authorities.


1. The aim of this document is to promote the establishment of standards and guidelines for education and training in the conservation of monuments, groups of buildings ("ensembles") and sites defined as cultural heritage by the World Heritage Convention of 1972. They include historic buildings, historic areas and towns, archaeological sites, and the contents therein, as well as historic and cultural landscapes. Their conservation is now, and will continue to be a matter of urgency.


2. Conservation of cultural heritage is now recognized as resting within the general field of environmental and cultural development. Sustainable management strategies for change which respect cultural heritage require the integration of conservation attitudes with contemporary economic and social goals including tourism.

3. The object of conservation is to prolong the life of cultural heritage and, if possible, to clarify the artistic and historical messages therein without the loss of authenticity and meaning. Conservation is a cultural, artistic, technical and craft activity based on humanistic and scientific studies and systematic research. Conservation must respect the cultural context.


4. There is a need to develop a holistic approach to our heritage on the basis of cultural pluralism and diversity, respected by professionals, craftspersons and administrators. Conservation requires the ability to observe, analyze and synthesize. The conservationist should have a flexible yet pragmatic approach based on cultural consciousness which should penetrate all practical work, proper education and training, sound judgement and a sense of proportion with an understanding of the community's needs. Many professional and craft skills are involved in this interdisciplinary activity.

5. Conservation works should only be entrusted to persons competent in these specialist activities. Education and training for conservation should produce from a range of professionals, conservationists who are able to:

  1. read a monument, ensemble or site and identify its emotional, cultural and use significance;
  2. understand the history and technology of monuments, ensembles or sites in order to define their identity, plan for their conservation, and interpret the results of this research;
  3. understand the setting of a monument, ensemble or site, their contents and surroundings, in relation to other buildings, gardens or landscapes;
  4. find and absorb all available sources of information relevant to the monument, ensemble or site being studied;
  5. understand and analyze the behaviour of monuments, ensembles and sites as complex systems;
  6. diagnose intrinsic and extrinsic causes of decay as a basis for appropriate action;
  7. inspect and make reports intelligible to non-specialist readers of monuments, ensembles or sites, illustrated by graphic means such as sketches and photographs;
  8. know, understand and apply Unesco conventions and recommendations, and ICOMOS and other recognized Charters, regulations and guidelines;
  9. make balanced judgements based on shared ethical principles, and accept responsibility for the long-term welfare of cultural heritage;
  10. recognize when advice must be sought and define the areas of need of study by different specialists, e.g. wall paintings, sculpture and objects of artistic and historical value, and/or studies of materials and systems;
  11. give expert advice on maintenance strategies, management policies and the policy framework for environmental protection and preservation of monuments and their contents, and sites;
  12. document works executed and make same accessible;
  13. work in multi-disciplinary groups using sound methods;
  14. be able to work with inhabitants, administrators and planners to resolve conflicts and to develop conservation strategies appropriate to local needs, abilities and resources;

6. There is a need to impart knowledge of conservation attitudes and approaches to all those who may have a direct or indirect impact on cultural property.

7. The practice of conservation is interdisciplinary; it therefore follows that courses should also be multidisciplinary. Professionals, including academics and specialized craftspersons, who have already received their normal qualification will need further training in order to become conservationists; equally those who seek to act competently in historic environment.

8. Conservationists should ensure that all artisans and staff working on a monument, ensemble or site respect its significance.

9. Training in disaster preparedness and in methods of mitigating damage to cultural property, by strengthening and improving fire prevention and other security measures, should be included in courses.

10. Traditional crafts are a valuable cultural resource. Craftspersons, already with high level manual skills, should be further trained for conservation work with instruction in the history of their craft, historic details and practices, and the theory of conservation with the need for documentation. Many historic skills will have to be recorded and revived.


11. Many satisfactory methods of achieving the required education and training are possible. Variations will depend on traditions and legislation, as well as on administrative and economic context of each cultural region. The active exchange of ideas and opinions on new approaches to education and training between national institutes and at international levels should be encouraged. Collaborative network of individuals and institutions is essential to the success of this exchange.

12. Education and sensitization for conservation should begin in schools and continue in universities and beyond. These institutions have an important role in raising visual and cultural awareness - improving ability to read and understand the elements of our cultural heritage - and giving the cultural preparation needed by candidates for specialist education and training. Practical hands-on training in craft work should be encouraged.

13. Courses for continuing professional development can enlarge on the initial education and training of professionals. Long-term, part-time courses are a valuable method for advanced teaching, and useful in major population centres. Short courses can enlarge attitudes, but cannot teach skills or impart profound understanding of conservation. They can help introduce concepts and techniques of conservation in the management of the built and natural environment and the objects within it.

14. Participants in specialist courses should be of a high calibre normally having had appropriate education and training and practical working experience. Specialist courses should be multidisciplinary with core subjects for all participants, and optional subjects to extend capacities and/or to fill the gaps in previous education and training. To complete the education and training of a conservationist an internship is recommended to give practical experience.

15. Every country or regional group should be encouraged to develop at least one comprehensively organized institute giving education and training and specialist courses. It may take decades to establish a fully competent conservation service. Special short-term measures may therefore be required, including the grafting of new initiatives onto existing programmes in order to lead to fully developed new programmes. National, regional and international exchange of teachers, experts and students should be encouraged. Regular evaluation of conservation training programmes by peers is a necessity.


16. Resources needed for specialist courses may include e.g.:

  1. an adequate number of participants of required level ideally in the range of 15 to 25;
  2. a full-time co-ordinator with sufficient administrative support;
  3. instructors with sound theoretical knowledge and practical experience in conservation and teaching ability;
  4. fully equipped facilities including lecture space with audio-visual equipment, video, etc. studios, laboratories, workshops, seminar rooms, and staff offices;
  5. library and documentation centre providing reference collections, facilities for coordinating research, and access to computerized information networks;
  6. a range of monuments, ensembles and sites within a reasonable radius.

17. Conservation depends upon documentation adequate for understanding of monuments, ensembles or sites and their respective settings. Each country should have an institute for research and archive for recording its cultural heritage and all conservation works related thereto. The course should work within the archive responsibilities identified at the national level.

18. Funding for teaching fees and subsistence may need special arrangements for mid-career participants as they may already have personal responsibilities.

Declaration of Rome (1983)


  • the immense variety and the qualitative and quantitative richness of the archaeological, architectural, historical and artistic, environmental and natural, archival and book heritage existing in Italy.
  • the lack of available economic and financial resources,
  • the extremely tense climate which is characteristic of the present stage of growth and transformation of Italian society,

Taking into consideration the fundamental cultural contributions continuously provided by Italian experts, not only to the knowledge of the history of art but also to theories of conservation and to the practice of restoration,

Noting also, in comparison with other countries, the permanent involvement of the Parliament, the Italian Government and, above all, of the concerned public services in the conservation of the cultural heritage,

Therefore, in the aim of rendering actions for the integrated conservation of the national, cultural heritage more incisive and more precise, the Italian National Committee, under the patronnage of the Ministry of Cultural Property and of the Environment, recalling the work accomplished at the national symposia of Sorrento (1979) and of Naples (1981), discussed the following theme in Rome (9-10 June 1983) on the basis of earlier studies: "Monuments and Sites: conservation action in Italy today".

After hearing and discussing the reports and communications, the symposium noted the serious deficiencies which exist in Italy today in the field of the conservation and the restoration of the cultural heritage. These deficiencies are due, on the one hand, to the insufficiently clear relationship between theory and practice, and on the other hand, to the inherent dangers of the current political and socio-economic situation.

The Assembly noted specifically:

  1. A co-ordination which is rare, even non-existent, among the various bodies involved in conservation at all levels : local, regional, national and international. This situation is aggravated by other factors, such as the lack of an organic structure in these institutions; the separation between the University and the government services in charge of cultural property; the absence of coordination among the Ministries and, above all, between Cultural Affairs and Public Works, though the latter provides considerable funding for the architectural heritage.
  2. Serious consequences due to the fact that architectural restoration operations are too often awarded to insufficiently qualified professionals of the private and public sector. This situation proves the absolute necessity to employ competent restorers, having received university level training and post-graduate level specialized training.
  3. Ulterior consequences due to the unsupervised work of new, unqualified, private contractors on monuments, historic centres and sites. This phenomenon has been accentuated by the poor health of the construction industry which has led certain contractors toward restoration work despite their lack of training, under the cover of recent, ambiguous legislation on architecture and town planning. This legislation is itself an expression of the present state of general confusion.

The Assembly, proposing to remedy point by point the aforementioned deficiencies and the errors attached to them,

  1. requests of the Parliament, the Government and the competent controlling bodies, a total involvement in the coordination of the administrative, didactic, normative, technical and cultural initiatives taken by national and international organisms, for a careful programming of architectural operations and for the rigourous supervision of the real qualifications of professionals and contractors working in the field of restoration.
  2. confirms and adopts the contents and conclusions of the "International Meeting of Co-ordinators for Training in Architectural Conservation" (organized by ICCROM, Rome, December 1982). During that meeting, the Assembly did indeed confirm the utmost importance of: the training of specialized personnel, in the historical and technical fields, in architecture and town planning who should be employed for all restoration work, according to the recognized multidisciplinary, scientific method of conservation work; and the strengthening of the competent international organizations for education and cultural training, such as ICCROM.

By the formulation of these recommendations to competent organisms and to the cultural world, the Assembly confirms the intention of ICOMOS to act and its readiness to co-operate for the most rapid practical application of these recommendations.

Declaration of Dresden on the "Reconstruction of Monuments Destroyed by War" (1982)

At the invitation of the ICOMOS National Committee of the German Democratic Republic, participants from 11 countries held a symposium in Dresden from November 15th to 19th, 1982 on the subject of the "Reconstruction of Monuments Destroyed by War".

The meeting:

  • has observed once again in Dresden with profound shock, what terrible suffering and losses war causes for people and their cultural property,
  • recognized the achievement of the government and people of the German Democratic Republic, in reclaiming a substantial part of their treasures that had been damaged or believed lost, and in particular, architectural monuments,
  • against this background gives its full support to the recommendation (No. 308) of the 2nd World Conference of Unesco (Mexico, August 1982), concerning the prevention of wars,
  • and agrees also with the resolution concerning the same subject, adopted by the VIth General Assembly of ICOMOS in 1981 in Rome.

The meeting summarizes the results of its discussions in the following basic assessment:

  1. The task of social development after the war, the reconstruction of towns and villages, and the resulting task of the protection of monuments constitutes a single entity. The spiritual values of monuments and the desire to acknowledge them both intellectually and politically were the reasons for initiating their reconstruction.
  2. The objective and the practical efforts of governments and peoples in the restoration of monuments and the preservation of the character of towns and villages which has evolved over time have been, and will remain to be of great importance for the bond between peoples and their native lands and for their participation in social progress in their country.
  3. A great cultural effect has been and will be achieved in such places where protection and meticulous preservation of monuments go hand in hand with efforts to restore their impact and to promote the understanding of them, and where existing monuments have been harmoniously complemented by new works of architecture, respecting and enhancing typical urban ensembles including their natural setting.
  4. Since men have been influenced by the wartime destruction and by reconstruction work after the war to regard monuments with increasing interest, in particular as providing evidence of history, fresh emphasis has been placed on the demand to preserve the original substance of the monument. By this is meant that substance which, in all those components which make it worthy of being recognized as a monument, has grown through the ages, and which, by virtue of its authenticity, confirms the origins of the monument and its historical evolution up to the present day.
  5. Reconstruction gave fresh impetus to basic studies and to intensive research by means of archaeology, for new modes of documenting results in monument protection. Completion of the documentation of individual monuments and of the stock of monuments is also recognized as an urgent task for the protection of monuments from the consequences of armed conflicts and catastrophes.
  6. The new interest in the intellectual acknowledgement of monuments has frequently given rise to the wish to restore a monument by reason of its meaning and impact, in addition to mere preservation. The type and scope of restoration have been and continue to be dependent on the significance and specific character of the monument, on the extent of destruction, and of the cultural and political function attached to it.
  7. In reconstructing monuments destroyed by war various techniques have been developed. A multiplicity of factors have to be taken into account in each individual case. These range from the conservation of a monument for its symbolic value to the restoration of a townscape condition which cannot be abandoned.
  8. In the restoration of monuments destroyed by war special care should be taken that the historic development up to the present time can be traced. This applies to the elements of monuments from different periods as well as other evidence of its fate. This might include modern elements which have been added in a responsible manner. The complete reconstruction of severely damaged monuments must be regarded as an exceptional circumstance which is justified only for special reasons resulting from the destruction of a monument of great significance by war. Such a reconstruction must be based on reliable documentation of its condition before destruction.
  9. The need to continue the traditional use of a building has frequently accelerated the restoration of destroyed architectural monuments. Increasing awareness of the spiritual value of monuments has further encouraged this trend. This concerns to a large extent residential houses in towns and villages as well as town-halls, churches, and other historic buildings.
  10. The destruction of a monument frequently results in completely new objectives for social use and their understanding after its reconstruction being established. This may range from the efforts to find a use of great public significance to residential use.
  11. In the task of reconstructing monuments, a highly meticulous scientific methodology has evolved, as well as skills in technology, artistry and craftsmanship. Arising from the legitimate desire of peoples to restore damaged monuments as completely as possible to their national significance, necessary restoration work, going beyond conservation, has attained a high professional level and thereby a new cultural dimension as well.
  12. More and more clearly, peoples combine pride in monuments of their own history with interest in monuments of other countries and with respect for cultural achievements, both past and present, of the peoples represented by these monuments. Worldwide exchange of knowledge and experience on characteristic features, historical evidence, and the beauty of the cultural heritage, especially the monuments of every people and each ethnic and social group, plays a constructive role in assuring equitable, peaceful co-existence between peoples.

Our experience working in the field of monuments protection, in seeing the terrible loss of human life and the destruction of cultural treasures by wars, our experience in the beautiful and responsible work of restoring and newly understanding these monuments, place an obligation on all of us to make every effort for a more secure peace in the world on the basis of assiduous international cooperation and disarmament.

Dresden, November 18th, 1982


European Charter of the Architectural Heritage - 1975

Adopted by the Council of Europe, October 1975

Thanks to the Council of Europe's initiative in declaring 1975 European Architectural Year, considerable efforts were made in every European country to make the public more aware of the irreplaceable cultural, social and economic values represented by historic monuments, groups of old buildings and interesting sites in both town and country.

It was important to co-ordinate all these efforts at the European level, to work out a joint approach to the subject and, above all, to forge a common language to state the general principles on which concerted action by the authorities responsible and the general public must be based.

It was with this intention that the Council of Europe drafted the Charter which appears below.

It is, of course, not sufficient simply to formulate principles; they must also be applied.

In future, the Council of Europe will devote its efforts to a thorough study of ways and means of applying the principles in each different country, the steady improvement of existing laws and regulations and the development of vocational training in this field.

The European Charter of the Architectural Heritage has been adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and was solemnly proclaimed at the Congress on the European Architectural Heritage held in Amsterdam from 21 to 25 October 1975.

The Committee of Ministers,

Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve a greater unity between its members for the purpose of safeguarding and realizing the ideals and principles which are their common heritage;

Considering that the member states of the Council of Europe which have adhered to the European Cultural Convention of 19 December 1954 committed themselves, under Article 1 of that convention, to take appropriate measures to safeguard and to encourage the development of their national contributions to the common cultural heritage of Europe;

Recognizing that the architectural heritage, an irreplaceable expression of the wealth and diversity of European culture, is shared by all people and that all the European States must show real solidarity in preserving that heritage;

Considering that the future of the architectural heritage depends largely upon its integration into the context of people's lives and upon the weight given to it in regional and town planning and development schemes;

Having regard to the Recommendation of the European Conference of Ministers responsible for the preservation and rehabilitation of the cultural heritage of monuments and sites held in Brussels in 1969, and to Recommendation 589 (1970) of the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe calling for a charter relating to the architectural heritage;

Asserts its determination to promote a common European policy and concerted action to protect the architectural heritage based on the principles of integrated conservation;

Recommends that the governments of member states should take the necessary legislative, administrative, financial and educational steps to implement a policy of integrated conservation for the architectural heritage, and to arouse public interest in such a policy, taking into account the results of the European Architectural Heritage Year campaign organized in 1975 under the auspices of the Council of Europe;

Adopts and proclaims the principles of the following charter, drawn up by the Council of Europe Committee on Monuments and Sites:

1. The European architectural heritage consists not only of our most important monuments: it also includes the groups of lesser buildings in our old towns and characteristic villages in their natural or manmade settings.

For many years, only major monuments were protected and restored and then without reference to their surroundings. More recently it was realized that, if the surroundings are impaired, even those monuments can lose much of their character.

Today it is recognized that entire groups of buildings, even if they do not include any example of outstanding merit, may have an atmosphere that gives them the quality of works of art, welding different periods and styles into a harmonious whole. Such groups should also be preserved.

The architectural heritage is an expression of history and helps us to understand the relevance of the past to contemporary life.

2. The past as embodied in the architectural heritage provides the sort of environment indispensable to a balanced and complete life.

In the face of a rapidly changing civilization, in which brilliant successes are accompanied by grave perils, people today have an instinctive feeling for the value of this heritage.

This heritage should be passed on to future generations in its authentic state and in all its variety as an essential part of the memory of the human race. Otherwise, part of man's awareness of his own continuity will be destroyed.

3. The architectural heritage is a capital of irreplaceable spiritual, cultural, social and economic value.

Each generation places a different interpretation on the past and derives new inspiration from it. This capital has been built up over the centuries; the destruction of any part of it leaves us poorer since nothing new that we create, however fine, will make good the loss.

Our society now has to husband its resources. Far from being a luxury this heritage is an economic asset which can be used to save community resources.

4. The structure of historic centres and sites is conducive to a harmonious social balance.

By offering the right conditions for the development of a wide range of activities our old towns and villages favoured social integration. They can once again lend themselves to a beneficial spread of activities and to a more satisfactory social mix.

5. The architectural heritage has an important part to play in education.

The architectural heritage provides a wealth of material for explaining and comparing forms and styles and their applications. Today when visual appreciation and first-hand experience play a decisive role in education, it is essential to keep alive the evidence of different periods and their achievements.

The survival of this evidence will be assured only if the need to protect it is understood by the greatest number, particularly by the younger generation who will be its future guardians.

6. This heritage is in danger.

It is threatened by ignorance, obsolescence, deterioration of every kind and neglect. Urban planning can be destructive when authorities yield too readily to economic pressures and to the demands of motor traffic. Misapplied contemporary technology and ill-considered restoration may be disastrous to old structures. Above all, land and property speculation feeds upon all errors and omissions and brings to nought the most carefully laid plans.

7. Integrated conservation averts these dangers.

Integrated conservation is achieved by the application of sensitive restoration techniques and the correct choice of appropriate functions. In the course of history the hearts of towns and sometimes villages have been left to deteriorate and have turned into areas of substandard housing. Their deterioration must be undertaken in a spirit of social justice and should not cause the departure of the poorer inhabitants. Because of this, conservation must be one of the first considerations in all urban and regional planning.

It should be noted that integrated conservation does not rule out the introduction of modern architecture into areas containing old buildings provided that the existing context, proportions, forms, sizes and scale are fully respected and traditional materials are used.

8. Integrated conservation depends on legal, administrative, financial and technical support.


Integrated conservation should make full use of all existing laws and regulations that can contribute to the protection and preservation of the architectural heritage. Where such laws and regulations are insufficient for the purpose they should be supplemented by appropriate legal instruments at national, regional and local levels.


In order to carry out a policy of integrated conservation, properly staffed administrative services should be established.


Where necessary the maintenance and restoration of the architectural heritage and individual parts thereof should be encouraged by suitable forms of financial aid and incentives, including tax measures.

It is essential that the financial resources made available by public authorities for the restoration of historic centres should be at least equal to those allocated for new construction.


There are today too few architects, technicians of all kinds, specialized firms and skilled craftsmen to respond to all the needs of restoration.

It is necessary to develop training facilities and increase prospects of employment for the relevant managerial, technical and manual skills. The building industry should be urged to adapt itself to these needs. Traditional crafts should be fostered rather than allowed to die out.

9. Integrated conservation cannot succeed without the cooperation of all.

Although the architectural heritage belongs to everyone, each of its parts is nevertheless at the mercy of any individual.

The public should be properly informed because citizens are entitled to participate in decisions affecting their environment.

Each generation has only a life interest in this heritage and is responsible for passing it on to future generations.

10. The european architectural heritage is the common property of our continent.

Conservation problems are not peculiar to any one country. They are common to the whole of Europe and should be dealt with in a coordinated manner. It lies with the Council of Europe to ensure that member states pursue coherent policies in a spirit of solidarity.



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