Ancient buildings carry human history and civilization. In today’s economic development, how to make ancient buildings glow with new vitality in the protection and opening up? A group of interviews with European correspondents of “People’s Daily” made us feel once again that exploring a sustainable and comprehensive protection concept and pursuing social balance and harmonious development is becoming an international trend.
France: wide protection, the national financial burden is not light
The French Ministry of Culture launched the Cultural Heritage Day in 1984, opening to the public more than 15,000 places of interest, including the Presidential Palace Elysée Palace and the National Assembly Bourbon Palace, with more than 12 million visitors each year. In 1991, the European Parliament established the European Cultural Heritage Day following the French model.
The concept of cultural heritage began during the French Revolution. In order to contain the destruction caused by the revolution, in 1792 the revolutionary government declared the heritage of cultural relics to be state-owned. In 1887, the French Republic began to formulate building protection rules, after several revisions, until 1913, the “Historical Monuments Act” was passed and implemented. This is a relatively complete law, effective so far, laying the legal foundation for the protection of ancient French buildings. In 1943, France promulgated a law on the surrounding environment of historical monuments, stipulating a protection range with historical monuments as the center and a radius of 500 meters, expanding the protection objects from the monuments themselves to surrounding buildings. Facing the large-scale development brought about by the modernization of the city and its series of consequences, France began to expand the concept of cultural heritage to the old city in 1962, delineating valuable areas as historical protection areas, and incorporating them into strict urban master planning management. The buildings in the area shall not be dismantled arbitrarily. Maintenance, modification and construction must be consulted, evaluated and agreed by the “national architect”. The repairs that meet the planning requirements will be subsidized by the state and enjoy tax relief. The 1983 law on decentralization confirmed that the state has overall responsibility for cultural heritage, but at the same time stipulated that relevant local authorities must perform corresponding responsibilities according to their respective powers.
In 1964, France conducted a total survey of the cultural heritage “from the church to the spoon”. The census not only strengthens the citizens’ awareness of cultural heritage protection, but also helps the country to grasp the “heritage heritage” and is also conducive to the study of local culture. The census campaign is still in the ascendant.
After a census, approximately 40,000 historical sites have been protected. About half of them are private property, and they can also enjoy state funding. If it is a building listed as a building protection unit, 50% of the repair fee is provided by the state; if it is a building registered on the architectural heritage inventory, 15% of the repair fee is provided by the state. France spends an average of 305 million euros on the restoration of historical monuments each year.
The state-led protection of cultural heritage such as ancient buildings will not only help improve the specifications and levels of protection of ancient buildings, ensure that the protection funds are in place, but also strengthen the national cohesion of the heritage on the material and spiritual levels, and help enhance the national image and cultural soft power. But this approach also has certain drawbacks, such as causing an excessive burden on the country’s finances, especially during the economic crisis. In addition, the diversity and dispersion of heritage is not conducive to effective national supervision.
Netherlands: Volunteer participation, devoutly guarding the roots of national culture
There are many windmills in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and the Kinderdijk windmills are the most famous. There are 19 windmills built in the 18th century and well-preserved so far. They were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997.
How did the Dutch make the old windmill stand for hundreds of years and work normally? Youhan Moreg, general manager of Windmill Village, said that Windmill Village is operated by a foundation under the supervision of the government. The government allocates a portion of the annual budget for the maintenance and maintenance of windmills, but other expenses are self-financed by the foundation. However, the foundation still actively cedes the government budget to local towns and cities to protect the local environment. He told reporters that what we have to do is to maintain and operate the windmill well over the long term, not to greet momentary gains.
The operation and management philosophy advocated by Youhan and his team has not only attracted foreign tourists, but also been welcomed by local residents. There are nearly 200 staff members in Fengche Village, 170 of whom are unpaid volunteers. Sha Lei is one of them. He is responsible for explaining and playing short films about the windmills for tourist groups. He said: “I have a sense of accomplishment to do my part to maintain the windmill and protect the country’s historical features. I not only have to take care of the windmill in my lifetime, but also leave it intact to the next generation.” Windmill The biggest wish of the village now is to attract more foreign tourists, but the publicity channels are limited, the world’s awareness of windmill culture is limited, and the windmill village is remote, many tourists may not be willing to spend more than half a day even in the Netherlands. This small remote place. But none of these can stop the Dutch themselves from their love for windmills.
Spain: Commercial development and promotion of tourism are also controversial
Alcala de Genares (Alcala for short) is an ancient city about 30 kilometers away from the Spanish capital Madrid. As an important religious and cultural center in Spanish history, its history is much longer than Madrid. The old city here was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as early as 1998.
In the center of this culturally rich old city, there is a hotel whose appearance is exactly the same as that of the surrounding ancient buildings. The main body of the hotel is converted from a monastery built in the 16th century and two 19th-century buildings. “Our hotel belongs to the Spanish Royal Inn Group. The biggest feature of the Royal Inn is to transform those ancient buildings that have historical and cultural value but cannot be fully protected into hotels. This kind of reconstruction is not about destroying the ancient buildings, but strictly It is completed on the basis of heritage protection, so it can achieve the dual purpose of protection and development.” Pedro Soria, general manager of Alcala Royal Station, who has been working at Royal Station for 41 years, pointed out in an interview with our reporter .
As one of the oldest cultural powers in Europe, Spain ranks third in the ranking of the number of world historical and cultural heritages, of which historical buildings are an important part. In order to protect these historical buildings, Spain has made efforts in legislation, administration, civic education and professional personnel training, forming a relatively complete protection system. In addition, the Spanish government has also explored the sustainable economic development of ancient building protection and developed the development model of the Royal Post. Since the establishment of the first hotel in 1928, the number of Royal Inn hotels has now reached 94, covering almost all provinces in Spain. In addition, from its establishment to the present, the basic attributes of Royal Inn as a state-owned asset have never changed. Even the Royal Inn Tourism Group, which is currently responsible for hotel operations, is 100% state-controlled.
There are two articles in the Polish Constitution that deal with the protection of cultural relics, which are listed in Articles 5 and 6, respectively. The protection of cultural relics is placed in the same article as the protection of national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the protection of civil liberties and personal safety. It is far ahead of the provisions protecting citizens’ private property rights.
Soria showed reporters some old photos. The photos show the appearance of ancient buildings, including the monastery, before they were converted into hotels. The old buildings in the photos are in dilapidated condition. “These buildings were abandoned for a long time before they were converted into hotels. From 1850 to 1983, they were used as prisons. The renovation project lasted for 5 years. Compared with new hotels, the renovation was not only longer, but also The cost is high. Even so, it is worth it because we saved an ancient building with a history of hundreds of years.”
”There is a saying in the tourism circle. If an unknown town suddenly appears on the map, it will probably have the Royal Post.” Soria smiled and told reporters that the Royal Post is becoming a tourist in Spain. A benchmark for the industry, it uses renovated historical buildings to showcase Spanish culture and past, its beautiful environment to showcase Spain’s moving and charm, and high-quality services to showcase Spanish expertise and standards.
Because there is not enough funds to repair and protect cultural relics and historical sites, many Spanish regional governments hope that enterprises can reuse ancient buildings. However, for some companies, to rebuild a gorgeous hotel or other place, profit is the goal, and the protection of ancient buildings is not their priority. Not long ago, the Galicia Region’s Cultural Council issued a 118-page report on the project to transform the region’s best-preserved medieval acropolis into a hotel, strongly recommending that the regional government suspend the project or reconsider its transformation use. It turned out that during the reconstruction of the Acropolis, due to the lack of professional guidance, the Acropolis was not protected, but was damaged many times. After the damage, it was repaired with ordinary cement. At the same time, because this ancient military fortress is one of the landmarks, it is closely related to the ethnic identity of the local residents and is of great historical significance, so the reconstruction aroused the resentment of the local people. In fact, this project is also a microcosm of the controversy in Spain whether important ancient buildings can be transformed into hotels or other facilities for protection.
Poland: treasure cultural relics, there are special provisions in the constitution
At the end of World War II, more than 85% of the buildings in Warsaw, the capital of Poland, were destroyed. The old city was covered with scorched earth and ancient buildings disappeared. After the war, the Poles decided to rebuild the Old City of Warsaw and build a new city based on the pre-war surveyed and preserved building materials. In the following 10 years, the Poles used the world-famous “Warsaw Speed” to rebuild and restore more than 900 ancient buildings in the Old City. The palaces, castles and churches of the past reappeared, and the streets in the old city also retain the perfect medieval style. At the same time, Warsaw planned the construction of the new city in an area far away from the old city to avoid the influence of the new city buildings on the outline of the old city. The ancient city of Warsaw was finally included in the World Heritage List as a reconstruction miracle.
Rafaou Nadorne, director of the Masovian Provincial Bureau of Cultural Relics Protection, where Warsaw is located, said in an interview with our reporter that there are two articles in the Polish Constitution that deal with the protection of cultural relics, which are listed in Articles 5 and 6 of the Constitution. , Putting the protection of cultural relics in the same clause as the protection of national sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the protection of civil liberties and personal safety, is far ahead of the clauses that protect citizens’ private property rights. In addition to the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the government, there are also provincial and county (city) cultural relics protection bureaus for independent law enforcement. Urban planning and new buildings that involve ancient buildings or cultural relics must first pass the approval of the cultural relics protection bureau. The agency has a vote of veto. Absolute power. In addition, Poland’s cultural relics protection agencies at all levels have a wide range of management powers. According to the law, about 30% of the Polish land area is currently under cultural relic protection.
In recent years, with the rapid development of urban construction, Poland’s ancient constructions and cultural relics protection have also encountered unprecedented challenges. In the Warsaw New City, some modern buildings still affect the sight of the ancient city or interfere with other ancient buildings. The modern buildings caused by the “herd effect” caused irreparable and serious damage to the contours of the ancient city or ancient buildings. In response to this challenge, the Polish Cultural Relics Protection Agency has continuously applied high technology to the daily work of cultural relics protection. At present, the Warsaw Cultural Relics Protection Bureau has used satellites to accurately locate ancient buildings and cultural relics within the city, and then used 3D technology to scan all buildings around the ancient city or ancient buildings, which will affect the sight of the ancient city or ancient buildings. Objects are included in the warning range, and the construction of new high-rise buildings is strictly prohibited to protect the beautiful outline of the ancient city or ancient building.