Preserving the past while building for the future

In the course of the application of the heritage conservation principles, it is important to note that the communities are the ones breathing life into the heritage. The monuments we inherited - these fortified churches - were built hundreds of years ago to protect the community from invaders. Today we believe their role is to bring welfare to the same communities that own them. The spirit of community is what primarily motivates people to preserve their culture and heritage. This spirit is born out of the feeling of attachment, belonging and responsibility for the culture, identity, origins and for the heritage received from our ancestors. In Viscri the community spirit was and is truly important. This is why over 860 years of village history, the Transylvanian Saxon dialect is still alive and the village houses are still inhabited. Today it is important for the villagers to reconnect with their identity, which was forgotten during communism. It is important for the young to become aware of the value of their heritage and to feel proud of their history and culture. For the development of a community that lives in harmony with the heritage, it is essential for the people to constantly acquire skills which allow them to thrive in the long term. The instilment of the community spirit in the young generations needs to be initiated early on. In order to gradually diminish indifference and passivity from a community, we need a lot of effort, knowledge and perseverance and capable leaders. Conclusively, the effects of such educational initiatives induce results that influence and inspire the generations to come.
Why the Faro Convention? The Faro Convention is first and foremost a convention about society, for society. It is one of the ways that the Council of Europe can help member states to address the societal challenges they are facing, individually or collectively. The originality of the Faro Convention is that it asks the question: “why and for whose benefit should we enhance cultural heritage?” It thus complements the previous Council of Europe conventions (Granada and Valletta), which provide answers to the question of how to preserve cultural heritage. Ongoing efforts towards sustainable development, shared prosperity, peaceful, just and inclusive societies, require sound and innovative perspectives on human rights and democratic governance. With the consideration of heritage as a social, economic and political resource, the Council of Europe’s Faro Convention suggests a vision and a new way of looking at heritage by setting the ground to reframe relations between all involved stakeholders, highlighting the essential role of inhabitants and as suggested by the Convention, heritage communities.