Topic of project are medieval ruins. In Europe there are at least several thousand historical ruins. Owners and managers of these sites struggle with the same problems: protection of ruins is problematic due to ongoing process of destruction, and modern use of ruins is limited. Ruined historical buildings are often either neglected or increasingly transformed. They lose their key features – authenticity and integrity. Problem applies to entire Europe.

Importance of project arises from fact that historical ruins in many countries are in danger for two reasons. Firstly, all historical ruins are in state of constant destruction (it results from their form - lack of appropriate protection against weather conditions). Therefore, their technical protection - assuming minimal interference in historical form and substance - is difficult and expensive, moreover, it is a continuous process. Such a process is difficult to organize, so for many ruins destruction process keeps progressing. Secondly, form of ruin often is not considered a proper form of maintenance of historical object. Increasingly, owners, users, public opinion, journalists, local communities demand rebuilding of ruins. Rebuilt ruins are transformed into hotels, restaurants, museums, offices, etc. Such reconstruction irreversibly destroys authentic historic ruins. The number of such projects keeps increasing. Cultural heritage represents a big potential for economic growth, generating value and thereby directly benefiting citizens. Finding better balance between preservation of cultural heritage and sustainable socio-economic development of regions is necessary. Therefore there is urgent need for development of modern, attractive forms of re-use, management and protection of ruins in their present form, while preserving their historical value.

Project objective is to give “the second life” to medieval ruins through modern management and attributing contemporary, socially useful functions, while preserving historical value of these sites.

Project aims to develop and disseminate transnational guidelines and integrated model of contemporary use, modern management and protection of medieval ruins in Central Europe in order to enable elaboration of comprehensive management plans for ruined historical sites. Elaborated comprehensive management plans will help owners and managers of historical ruins, local, regional and public authorities exploit economic potential of this heritage in economic development of regions, and to preserve value of medieval ruins as cultural heritage.

Traditional approach to preservation of ruins has been focused on only one issue - how to maintain historical ruins from technical point of view. Innovation of project is to go beyond technical problems and to create integrated model that brings together three elements: contemporary use, modern management and sustainable preservation of ruins. Activities undertaken within project will be combination of research tasks concerning documentation and evaluation of technical state of ruins, conservation tasks concerning the form of protection of ruins and, most of all, activities aimed at contemporary use and modern management of historical ruins.

Cooperation of 6 countries with various traditions and experiences will result in development of universal models that could be applied for management, use and protection of medieval ruins all over Europe, providing European added value.

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