What Is Cultural Heritage?

Cultural heritage is the physical artifacts and intangible attributes of a group or society inherited from the past. It is a result of historically evolving values recognized by different groups of people.

It can be tangible like heirlooms or locations, or intangible such as traditions, beliefs, and skills. It is also constantly changing.

Cultural continuity

Cultural heritage is an integral part of a community’s identity and a vital component for its well-being. It enhances historical and cultural continuity, fosters social cohesion and enables its members to visualize the past and envision their future. It is also essential for sustainable development.

Cultural Heritage can be intangible or physical and may include works of art, archaeological or historical objects and buildings, and significant places. It can also consist of the societal traditions and beliefs associated with them. It also includes the natural environment and the way in which it is entangled with cultural heritage.

Artists, who immerse themselves in traditional art forms, can play a key role in the preservation of cultural heritage. By fusing their work with modern artistic techniques and ideas, they can preserve the traditions of their ancestors while sparking interest among younger generations. In this way, they ensure that cultural heritage remains relevant and valuable. They can also revitalize interest in cultural heritage by organizing workshops and celebrating cultural festivals.


The concept of cultural heritage encompasses both tangible and intangible aspects of a society’s history. It includes a combination of physical artifacts and non-physical attributes, such as traditions, beliefs, languages, and cuisine. These characteristics define and identify a community, providing a sense of identity and continuity.

It is also important to note that a culture’s identity is dynamic, and it can change over time. This is because a culture can be influenced by changes in politics, power asymmetries, war, and conflict. However, a culture’s identity can also be shaped by its environment and the interactions of its members.

The preservation of cultural heritage is an essential part of a society’s identity. This can be done through various methods, including digitisation and making it accessible to the public. This is what Transkribus does, and it is a vital part of the process of protecting cultural heritage. We decipher and transcribe historical documents, such as letters and portraits, and make them available online in a fully annotated digital form.


Often, when people think of cultural heritage, they imagine artifacts (paintings and drawings, prints, mosaics and sculptures), historical monuments and buildings or archaeological sites. However, the concept of cultural heritage has evolved beyond artifacts to encompass all evidence of human creativity and expression. It also includes a wide range of intangible cultural heritage such as music, dance and customs.

Using the Living As frame, participants in Scotland and Aveiro valued many biotic and abiotic features of the natural environment, such as species important for past practices. In the Iroise sea, for example, kelp had instrumental value for harvesters in earning their livelihood, but it also had relational heritage value that made it non-substitutable.

Cultural heritage has the potential to enhance social cohesion and promote local values. In addition, it can generate economic benefits in the form of tourism, gastronomy and other cultural activities. These benefits should be taken into account when determining the economic value of cultural heritage.


It is important to preserve cultural heritage, both for the future of society and as a source of inspiration. Preservation also involves the promotion of cultural diversity and respect for different cultures. It is also a means to build solidarity in communities. A community that has a common sense of identity is more cohesive, and it will be less likely to fall into societal ills.

Creating an effective preservation plan is an essential step in safeguarding cultural heritage. It is a critical document that identifies the long-term preservation priorities of an institution and helps shape its strategic planning agenda. It also allows the development of a framework for securing the necessary resources to implement these recommendations.

A good preservation plan should include an inventory of the institution’s collections and a detailed description of their current condition. This will help in determining the priorities and budget of preservation activities. It should also identify the potential threats to these collections.

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