The year 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the gigantic effort of rebuilding the utterly ruined historic towns and architectural heritage in Poland that was undertaken by the Polish nation in 1945. Heritage as the source of identity, threatened by the uncontrolled development and regional conflicts and disasters, was the main subject-matter of the European Heritage Days 2014; yet the statement is always valid, regardless of time and place. Currently, along with the PNC ICOMOS we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the birth of the independent, non-governmental world organisation that was summoned to protect historic heritage. This idea emerged at the II International Congress of Architects and Technicians of Historic Monuments which declared the famed Venice Charter in the year 1964. Professor Piero Gazzola proposed that the first ICOMOS General Assembly took place in Warsaw and Cracow in June 1965. In the year 2000, after three years of preparations and discussion of experts who represented the academic schools of Florence, Venice, Rome, Budapest, Valladolid and Cracow, supported by the EU Programme Culture 2000, and following the initiative of scholars of the Cracow University of Technology, the Cracow Charter 2000 was accepted. It all happened in Cracow, the then European Capital of Culture. The document defined principal aims, methods and means that served protection of architectural heritage. Its main thought was the conviction that “Cultural heritage may be the foundation of the modern civilisation”.

Thus we dedicate the II Congress of Polish Conservators not only to the widely recognised accomplishments of the Polish school of conservation, but also to the reflection and debate on the contemporary challenges that are faced by the heritage protection that is grasped as the source of cultural identity and the bearer of the universal values of our civilisation. The organisers represent independent social and professional organisations, scholarly circles and governmental institutions:
Association of Conservators of Monuments, which originated 35 years ago, along with the surge of the Solidarity movement and continues 110 years of tradition of the historic Association of Care for the Monuments of the Past.
Cracow University of Technology, which was inaugurated 70 years ago at the Wawel Royal Castle as a new, postwar academic school. It was, however, founded by the prewar professors and based on young, patriotic and professional staff who all aimed at educating new professionals capable of rebuilding and developing their country.
National Heritage Board of Poland, governmental agency of the Ministry of Culture and Historic Heritage, who is also the legal successor of the merited Centre of Documentation of Historic Monuments. The latter was summoned 53 years ago and continued the mission of the Department of Art at the Ministry of Religious Denominations and Public Education, which was summoned itself in the year 1918, on the threshold of independence of the Polish state. The activities of these institutions mark 97 years of the Polish state conservation service.

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