European Cultural Heritage
What is Cultural Heritage? It is the legacy of physical artifacts and intangible attributes of a group or society that are inherited from past generation, maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations.
Let’s take Calabria and our cultural heritage, for example. Calabria is not only a region but a state of mind. Geographically speaking, it contains mountains, coastlines, coves, cliffs, gulfs and waterfalls. German director, Wim Wenders, called Calabria the landscapes of contemplation. French Baudelaire states, “By facing the landscape of Calabria, the soul catches what the eye does not.”
All this was home to many populations who in the past, conquered and ruled, all, leaving some kinds of tangible and intangible traits. Churches, monasteries, impressive castles, literature, paintings, sculptures and not only: a strong sense of work ethic, respect for elders, importance of family and loyalty. As we can see, the tangible traits reflect the
intangible ones. People from Calabria are these values and core beliefs.
Why is it important to maintain and safeguard cultural heritage? Cultural heritage is our identity card. It talks about our past, our present and if we are willing, our future. It tells us about our natural habitats and landscapes, our underwater treasures, what are our hobbies, what is important to us, our personal characteristics, what we believe in…
One of the major challenges for the protection of heritage, in all its forms, is the current relatively low awareness of what actually constitutes heritage and why cultural heritage must be safeguarded. The subject matter itself embraces a core part of a community’s sense of identity and place in the world and helps convey the value of what may have not
been readily acknowledged as being of critical importance to society.
Activities that prompt the mind to understand the importance of admitting that Cultural Heritage should be taught and above all, lived, in schools to children and teenagers. The idea of exploring through travelling, walking through woods and forests, breathing in, savouring breathtaking views, eating local food, trying to learn a language, dancing to rhythmic tune, experiencing ‘hands on’ activities to understand and appreciate the value of who we are.
The European Council has long been committed to the idea that education is a fundamental means to ensure the legacy and preservation of any and every cultural heritage.
Author: Teresa Platì - JUMP Trainer