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The Relation Between War and Heritage
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Sanne Toonen, Seminar 2, Friday 21st, November : Heritage, Why do we talk about Geography of Heritage?
The preservation of physical heritage places is under pressure. However, this is not the only problem. Although regulations are often in place, treasure hunting is still occurring these daysTreasure hunting goes back since ancient times(Timothy & Boyd, 2006).
Furthermore, at historical heritage places, often a political and hierarchal image is presented of the story attached. For instance, patriotism, nationalism and political heroes. Up to the present, these places are executing their political power. For instance, nominating the heritage list for UNESCO (Timothy & Boyd, 2006). However, one has to consider, highlighting political events and power relations at a historical place, might only tell one part of the story.
Besides, historical places generate billions of expenditure in the local economy (Timothy & Boyd, 2006). This is another reason added to the broad range of arguments why it is often worth to preserve a heritage place.
Finally, the authenticity of the visitor experience as mentioned is of great value. With supposedly historical places this is not always the case. Often places are replicated and many artefacts can be found (Timothy & Boyd, 2006). Thus preservation of the fragile visitor experience is of priority. Part of this experience is the creation of the “authentic feel” for the tourist.
The Relation between War and Heritage
Only few tourists had visited the place and the shock was tremendous. Contradictory this heritage side was suddenly known all over the world, thus the left overs. Between the third and fifth century the two Buddha’s were constructed (55, and 38 meters high), representing the Greek and Hellenic influences of that time (Ashworth & van der Aa, 2002).
Due to wars and other competing heritage sites in Afghanistan, it only came to an inscription for nomination, but the heritage site was never officially included on the UNESCO world heritage. Despite this fact after the destruction of the Buddha, the media referred this event as “Cultural genocide”(Ashworth & van der Aa, 2002).
Ownership plays a key role in protecting such an historical site. However, even when this cannot be prevented the new role and function of such a site needs to be clarified. UNESCO-status could help, however UNESCO represents only national policies regarding ownership, dismissing the idea of the global meaning regarding heritage.
Ashworth, G. J., & van der Aa, B. J. (2002). Bamyan: whose heritage was it and what should we do about it? Current issues in tourism, 5(5), 447-457.
Richards, G. (2003). What is cultural tourism? Erfgoed voor Toerisme. Amsterdão: Nationaal Contact Monumenten.
Timothy, D. J., & Boyd, S. W. (2006). Heritage tourism in the 21st century: Valued traditions and new perspectives. Journal of heritage tourism, 1(1), 1-16.
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