The restoration, preservation, and use of medieval monuments in modern times
The concept of the management of monuments includes the care of all immovable and moveable monuments. It is the manner in which they are studied, understood, protected, restored, cared for and used, so that they can be passed on to future generations. Archaeological Law No 3028 'On the protection of antiquities and general cultural heritage' provides a legal framework for this relationship. It includes monuments within the cultural heritage of our country, and enforces their protection. Comparable international agreements such as the 'Venice Charter for the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites' of 1965, mentions, in Articles 3 and 4 respectively, 'The preservation and restoration of monuments is aimed at their preservation both as works of art and as witnesses to history'. 'The maintenance of monuments has as its overriding requirement the continued and permanent care for their preservation'.
Our relationship with monuments gives rise to obligations, the meeting of which is now an urgent need, but a difficult process, as every monument is unique.
Although monuments are connected to commemoration and the past, they are also a part of the present of all societies, and, if they are carefully maintained and protected, they will become a part of their future.
The ephorates of antiquities and later monuments are responsible for the protection and preservation of cultural assets, as well as for their modern use. The accession of Greece to the European Union and the Community funds that are made available for culture (3rd Community Support Framework, NSFR) for projects regarding the maintenance, support and restoration of monuments, allowed work to be carried out for the restoration, protection and display of many monuments, and therefore the cultivation of a relationship between the monuments and the society of which they are part.
The contemporary management of immoveable monuments takes on different forms, for example: the parallel restoration and display of the phases of a building; the maintenance of murals in churches; the maintenance of archaeological sites; excavations; and using a monument for a new purpose.
Through all the above activities, monuments acquire a meaning, a place in society, and a function. Through their protection and correct management, which is the not just the responsibility of the State and the competent authorities, but of us all, we achieve the preservation of our cultural heritage.