As world seeks to restore Notre Dame, Belarus stands to lose its existing monuments

Yesterday it seemed that this is an irreparable tragedy not only for France but also for the world culture. Fortunately, the fire in Notre Dame was put out, and the treasure of Notre Dame was saved. Unique architectural monument will be restored. At the same time, Belarus keeps losing its rich architectural heritage every minute.

A large fire in the Cathedral of Notre Dame destroyed all the wooden structure of the roof of the temple, brought down the spire. Police consider the fire as an accident, and the president of France Emmanuel Macron promised to restore Notre Dame.

One of the symbols of the French capital and European culture, a vivid example of the Gothic style cathedral of Notre-Dame was built in 12-14 centuries. Notre-Dame de Paris is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Paris City Hall said that the Christian relics, kept in the Cathedral, were rescued.

At the same time the latest loss for our cultural heritage was a wooden church of 18th century in the western Palessie style, which in March was burnt in a Kobrin district village. However, the majority of the monuments in our country are destroyed without any fires. Belarusians think it is mostly the state which is responsible for the destruction of the historical heritage of Belarus.

Both the destroyed church and majority of the abandoned estates are in the state list of historical and cultural values ​​of Belarus. And this list over time is not reduced, but rather increased. Why doesn’t the protected status work?

“It’s a question of priorities, since, in fact, the money is spent on many other goals — Dazhynki, October celebrations or “this minute” changes, which are also necessary. But you have to understand the priorities,” says an art and architectural historian Syarhei Hareusky.

And most importantly, emphasizes the art expert, they need to listen to the public, as people sometimes better to know where you want to invest.

Historian Zmitser Drozd thinks the main reason for the decline of the architectural heritage is no private land ownership in Belarus:

“Potential owners of the estates, who could acquire them, invest money, they know what they will get, they will invest millions of dollars, and then at any time the state will come and take away the property.”

Notre Dame has a global significance, and the whole world is ready to restore it. According to the historian, to save or restore the destroyed and abandoned monuments of Belarus, it is necessary to see the tourism potential of such buildings and realize the value of their historical heritage.

Iryna Darafeychuk,

Photo: Christophe Petit Tesson / Pool via REUTERS / Forum

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