AT A TURNING-POINT
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A good deal of essential problems with which are faced the Polish scientific and cultural circles dealing with protection of historical monuments have been listed within the present article. The main emphasis, however, was laid upon und in detail discussed were the following questions: the advancing endangerments to settling environments as a consequence of new conditions of the „standardized production” of new housing estates; the definition of the term „historical monument” or „cultural heritage” ; the unfavourable results of'verifying the cultural property through its classification; the approach of representatives of various scientific disciplines to cultural property; the problems of a corporate considering of groupings of historic buildings and, finally - the problems of staffing as well as those of organization. A particular emphasis was laid by the author upon importance of problems related to protection of settling environment by stressing the fact that the Polish experts have at their disposal a number of well developod methods basing on the corporate investigations carried out by specialists from many scientific areas. The introduction of such investigations into a wide practice should prove highly helpful while establishing the outlines that in their turn would constitute an essential element in preparing of the general and detailed plans and at working out of housing programmes. The author hopes that it will namely be the historians and conservators who will choose the spatial settings deserving to be safeguarded and at the same time demanding the determining of nature and extent of the necessary or permissible rehabilitation and modernization. While advancing the above requirements he puts the question about our readiness to carry out the aforo- -mentioned tasks and expresses his doubts and objections. Among these objections quite essential, in the author’s view, role is being played by terminology. The term „zabytek” (a historical monument in Polish) while in use in other languages suggests a sizeable object of monumental character whereas in Polish it is composed of two parts, namely a prefix „za”, pointing to something coming from the past and „byt” , eonstituing an arch definition. In the above connection the term „zabytek” (a monument, historical monument) is strongly emphasising the ancientness of an object which in the author’s view confines its comprehension range. The author refers to the Polish Law on the Protection of Cultural Property of 1962 wdiere the term „historical monument” is being used as one alternating with „cultural property” . From the above fact two features are resulting, unfavorable for the protection of cultural property, namoly interpretation stating that as the „monuments” are to be considered only the cultural property subjected to legal protection and, furthermore, the identify of terms „monument” and an object whose main quality is its age. According to the author a lot of confusion and harms have been caused by classifying verification of cultural property or cultural heritage consisting of architectural objects or historic buildings which has led to demolition of objects classified to lower categories or even those in higher categories. The register of historic buildings is covering only sporadic buildings dating from the 19th and 20th centuries that under the eyes of community only quite recently are acquiring the qualities of cultural property under protection. A strong criticism was expressed by the author with respect to touring maps containing classifications of the separate historical monuments an a general statement made by him that in the community’s consciousness more and more firm becomes the view about the apparent worthlessness of what is forming the basic tissue of historical settings. The Law mentioned above lists eleven groups of objects or their groupings that may form the subject of protection. It must be added, however, that each of these groups forms a basic for the separate area of knowledge. The above division results into different methods of investigation and, furthermore, is connected with various institutions, professional associations, displays, etc. It has been stated by the author that the prevailing majority of groups to wrhom is classified the cultural property in this country is to be found within the groupings and enclosed systems and so, for instance, a single grouping may be composed of cultural property representing the above 11 classes; thus the separate elements of that grouping will be diasipated in registrations which the situation does not favour a corporate protection. In the course of his further considerations the author characterizes the approach the experts from the various fields of science may have to a given object and he states that the most „corporate” in its nature approach is shown by graduates from the Institute of Connoisseur - ship and Conservation, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń. It is required by the author that the aesthetical values of cultural property be not indentified with assessments made on conventional basis of investigations carried out by art historians and architects and that the classifying verifications be made on the basis of a full and objective overall distinction. As an essential problem is considered by the author that of settlement groupings of high rank arising from richness of historical and social traditions and both spatial systems and forms. As particularly unsatisfactory are to be considered conditions of the traditional rustic buildings. It is suggested by the author that in each ethnographic region at least one grouping of rustici buildings should be selected with a reservation accompanying it. With regard to the historic urban centres in the years 1969—1970 the criteria for estimating of historic buildings have changed; thus, for instance, to such buildings are now being counted those with architectural forms that developed during the 19th and early 20th century but as deserving consideration should also be handled the town plans, the outskirts or the workers’ housing quarters and the like, dating back to those times. It is proposed by the author to stop the publication of registers or catalogues of historic buildings and to focus on systematic investigations supplying the background for the renewed, but this time carefully planned and wide registering action. The problems of staffing have also been dealt with by the author who pointed to quantitative insufficiencies of the appropriately trained personnel able to undertake the tasks associated with protection and preservation of cultural property. While speaking about such personnel he has in mind a number of suitably specialized experts e.g. twon planners, architects or civil engineers who with the problems from the ange of cultu al property protection would be made acquainted in the course of their academic training. However, that their activities could prove affective it is indispensable to establish a suitable organizational system of their work with no place for an excessively extended administration, but quite opposite — with the conservation services supported by a suitable scientific and research as well as technical background. In this connection it is suggested by the author to establish the Voivodship Centres of Cultural Property Protection subordinated to Voivodship Conservators and responsible for carrying out the tasks associated with preparing of documentation and other research activities. While summarizing his considerations the author presented the directions of the necessary research activities, organizational and legal measures, these form the field of training and finally those in publishing range that all taken together could lead to changes in protection of cultural property in Poland.
- K. P a w ł o w s k i i M. W i t w i c k i , Problemy oceny wartości zabytkowej historycznych zespołow miejskich, „Ochrona Zabytkow”, XXI (1968), z. 4.
- A. B r u c k n e r , Słownik etymologiczny języka polskiego, Warszawa 1970, s. 643.
- W. F i a ł k o w s k i , Bankructwo architektury nowoczesnej („Kultura”, nr 27 (577) z 7 lipca 1974 r.).
- Z. B i e n i e c k i , Potrzeba i drogi ochrony obiektow architektury najnowszej, „Ochrona Zabytkow”, XXII (1969), z. 2.
- Problemy ochrony architektury najnowszej (1850—1939), pod red. M. C h a r y t a ń s k i e j , „Biblioteka Muzealnictwa i Ochrony Zabytkow”, ser. B, t. XXIX, Warszawa 1971.
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