What is Cultural Heritage?

cultural heritage

Cultural heritage is the legacy of things, places and practices that a community has inherited from past generations. These include sites, monuments, arts, customs, languages, values, beliefs, and more.

They help a community develop a sense of identity, inspire pride, and build connections between people from different backgrounds. They also embolden a sense of responsibility to society at large.

Cultural boundaries are not well-defined

Unlike political boundaries, which are firmly fixed, cultural boundaries tend to be less defined. They may be based on language, religion or ethnicity, and they may change over time.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a prime example of this. The boundary between the Jewish and Palestinian cultures has played a major role in the region’s history, resulting in several different conflicts over land.

In Europe, language is often a large factor in drawing boundaries. It’s often a good idea to have a common language in a country to help prevent wars or conflicts.

In a globalized world, people are increasingly moving to other countries to work or live temporarily. This means that they’re crossing national boundaries more easily than in the past.

Cultural heritage is a living thing

Cultural heritage is an expression of a community’s customs, traditions, language, art, beliefs and values. Often passed down from one generation to the next, it is a way of life that provides a sense of identity and continuity.

Unlike tangible cultural property, intangible elements of a culture are not permanently preserved and may change over time. This can lead to a loss of the heritage that a society has accumulated over the years, for example when buildings and monuments are destroyed during a conflict or a disaster.

This is why it’s important to preserve cultural heritage. It helps us learn about our history and culture and provides a source of inspiration for future generations.

Cultural heritage is a shared experience

Cultural heritage is a shared experience and gives us a sense of belonging. It can include items that you can see, such as art and monuments, but also intangible things, like language, traditions, culture, beliefs, history and values.

When you think of cultural heritage, it usually conjures up images of paintings, sculptures and buildings from the past. But cultural heritage also includes towns, underwater heritage and the natural environment.

UNESCO defines culture as a group’s values, traditions, history, and achievements that are passed on from one generation to the next. They are a reflection of where people come from and how they live their lives.

Cultural heritage is a way of life

The legacy we receive from the past, experience in the present, and transmit to future generations is called cultural heritage. It combines physical tangible artefacts and ways of doing with immaterial and intangible values and knowledge, and forms an integral part of people’s lives.

It is also a source of inspiration, confidence and a sense of belonging. This is why Blue Shield strives to protect cultural heritage.

Despite the fact that cultural heritage is important, it can be endangered by a number of factors, including social persecution, terrorism and armed conflict. These attacks and wars often destroy historical monuments or sites, which are essential for maintaining cultural identities, establishing shared history and preserving traditions and culture.

While it is a common belief that cultural heritage is essential for wellbeing, policy-makers are still at an early stage in recognising this value. This is why value studies have been introduced into the field of heritage governance to ensure that conservation and sustainable use of cultural heritage are rooted in sound economic, ecological and socio-cultural principles.

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