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Cultural Heritage

The term "Cultural Heritage" is itemized by the UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. The text of the WHC mentions different categories of Cultural Heritage objects, such as monuments, groups of buildings and sites which are each exactly defined (Art.1). Similar phrases we can find in the European Council conventions (Granada, Valetta) specially dealing with the Architectural and the Archeological Heritage in Europe. Finally, the national legislations of some states - for example the Russian legislation - follow the legal terminology used by the international conventions. Thus, historical and cultural monuments in Russia are legally identified as "Objects of the Cultural Heritage", whereas the Russian law only concerns the Heritage of the people in the Russian Federation. In other countries the protection of historical monuments, ensembles and sites is also ingrained in the national legislation without using the term "Cultural Heritage". In such cases the relation of the monument protection to the protection of objects listed as the World Heritage may cause problems. Oftentimes the World Heritage objects are at the same time listed monuments according to the national regulations. Nevertheless, it can also happen that a historical monument with an outstanding universal value awarded at the international level does not have the same protection status according to the national legal norms.
The legal treatment of the Cultural Heritage makes a deep impact on the public perception. In conflict situations there may be a wrong image of the Cultural Heritage as a bare prestige title which is rather desirable, but in case of need uncomplicatedly dispensable. To guard against this kind of perception, that is one of the main issues of the international Cultural Heritage dialogue.


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