About this site
The reason this site was created is to raise awarneness of the need of strategy for protection of the cultural heritage in Bulgaria that is currently missing. All interested parties in the process are losing, future generations will inherit the problems and the destroyed elements of history.
This site is an initiative of professionals in the field of cultural heritage and contains both problems we face in our work and proposals for solutions. Our goal is a broad public debate on the issues of conservation of immovable cultural heritage in Bulgaria and creating long-term strategy for its conservation.
In this site we have collected and analyzed current problems in the whole system of protection of cultural heritage in Bulgaria – from legislation to institutional defects, according to our knowledge. We face a barrier of incompetence, lack of dialogue, political decisions of non-specialists, due to the presence of imputed power. Our goal is not only to detect problems, but also to give our vision for their solution.
The problem grew for decades and today we are faced with a dilemma – does it make sense to protect something, when society itself rarely reacts against its destruction. We are firm in our belief and seek public support in this direction.
A major problem for the preservation of cultural heritage in Bulgaria today is the lack of public involvement in this activity, the lack of awareness of the role of public opinion – the importance of the personal position of every citizen. Society passively waits for the state to take care of their cultural values, but it must be the opposite – society should actively seek this care. To a great extent this behavior is inherited from the totalitarian period when the political system suppressed civil society and individual opinion. Personal position was meaningless, even dangerous for the individual. On the other hand in the same period power relied on cultural identity in their struggle against „the enemy“ in the West and thus supported heritage conservation with legal and financial measures. In practice, socialism has achieved effective protection of the cultural heritage without the active participation of the public. But this formula does not work in the changed political and economic conditions today. It turns out that government priorities are as far from the culture in general as the preservation of heritage in particular. There is tremendous need of critical public participation on this issue.
Today’s common opinion that „the National Institute for Immovable Cultural Heritage is not doing its job“ is wrong, because this Institute is the result of the government policy, not an originator of one. In other words – the state policy for the protection of cultural heritage is the policy of the Institute as well. Before 1989, it was strong and authoritative institution because there was a clear policy to protect the heritage, regardless of ideological and political impurity, followed internationally recognized professional principles. Today, the guiding principle of state policy for the protection of cultural heritage is absorption of European funding. In itself that is not a bad principle, but applied in our country within conflict with the worlds’ conservation principles it results in irretrievable loss of authentic cultural and historical traces. The Institute (National Institute for Immovable Cultural Heritage, NIICH) is systematically crippled in the years after 1989 and eventually was placed in a position from which it cannot protect the public interest. Currently NIICH does not work as a state instrument for the protection of cultural heritage. It was taken all possibilities for that. The whole system for the preservation of cultural heritage in Bulgaria collapsed and we can no longer expect that the state will change it. Clearly, it is advantageous for those who have power. NIICH cannot change government policy, it can only follow it. And that is the way it should be. The situation/policy should and can be changed only with strong public reaction.
While in 2009 the Law on Cultural Heritage was adopted, many of its provisions remain good wishes with no idea of their real application. Many of the innovations not resolved, but amplified the problems.
Our work in the field of cultural heritage preservation led us to several conclusions: architects and investors do not have enough knowledge about cultural heritage; there are no experts in the institutions that should control the design and execution; but most importantly – there is lack of citizen interest in the problems of the preservation of our Bulgarian cultural heritage.
This site is aimed at everyone involved in the process of cultural heritage preservation: owners, local authority planners, institutions and all citizens interested in what is happening with our cultural heritage. Only unification around strategic objectives could save Bulgarian cultural heritage of his chaotic destruction. A people without history and culture, we all know – have no future.
M. Arch. Desislava Nencheva
M. Arch. Elitsa Andreeva
M. Arch. Emilia Kaleva
M. Arch. Alexandra Vadinska
M. Arch. Milica Petrova
M. Arch. Lenko Grigorov
M. Arch. Ivan Kolev
B. Urb. Vladimir Petrov
We are familiar in theory and practice with the problems of cultural heritage preservation through education in the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy, specializations in the field in Bulgaria and abroad, our work on investment projects related to the heritage and especially through our work in NIICH in recent years. Namely the systemic problems we face every day in our work in the state expert body for preservation, provoked us to launch this strategy initiative.
Our goals are:
1. Real and effective preservation of the cultural heritage of Bulgaria.
2. Change of the Cultural Heritage Law in order to build a workable system for the preservation of cultural heritage in the country.
3. Involvement of citizens in conservation through any possible means so that the importance and value of our heritage is appreciated and enherited.
If the public does not assess what it has, it will never wish to preserve it.
We expect your support and comments on our proposals and our email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is not the final product. Completeness of the platform depends on your comments and additions. The site will be updated periodically depending on the feedback received.