Cultural heritage inventorying in Lithuania is particularly relevant in the face of threats

  • Naujiena
  • Cultural heritage inventorying in Lithuania is particularly relevant in the face of threats

Inventorying is the first step towards preserving cultural heritage. However, in Lithuania, the inventorying of immovable cultural heritage began only in 2021. The issue of insufficient inventorying has been consistently highlighted by the State Cultural Heritage Commission (hereinafter referred to as the Heritage Commission). During a meeting on February 25, 2022, the Heritage Commission made a decision regarding the inventorying of immovable cultural heritage.

Inventorying is one of the primary measures to prevent the loss of information about disappearing cultural heritage. Collected data is essential for historical and scholarly research, as well as for future generations. When a heritage site is lost or destroyed, having it documented in an inventory ensures that it remains preserved in memory and exists as a source of knowledge. History provides examples where buildings or even entire old towns have been reconstructed because of existing inventories, such as Warsaw’s Old Town, Dresden’s Church of Our Lady, and Berlin’s Palace.

Considering Lithuania’s significant delay in carrying out inventorying, the Heritage Commission recommends to the Department of Cultural Heritage under the Ministry of Culture to allocate special attention to this task. It is crucial to establish strategic directions and priorities for heritage inventorying, create a dedicated department, and develop a clear, long-term operational plan for this new department. According to current complexity of inventorying, the Heritage Commission suggests simplifying this process to encourage broader participation of interested parties.

Cultural heritage inventorying is a crucial stage because only by knowing what is owned and what is desired to be preserved can lead to further steps in heritage protection. Today, in the face of evident threats, cultural heritage inventorying is especially relevant and necessary.

Antazavė manor, Zarasai district

It should be noted that the process of cultural heritage inventorying in Lithuania is significantly delayed, despite both Lithuanian and international law obliged inventorying several decades ago.

It is important to mention the Convention for the Protection of Architectural  Heritage of Europe, which Lithuania ratified two decades ago. The Convention emphasizes the importance of inventorying immovable cultural heritage and outlines obligations for member states.

Heritage Commission is an expert and advisor to the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania, President of the Republic of Lithuania and to Government of the Republic of Lithuania regarding the national policy of cultural heritage protection, its implementation, evaluation and improvement.

Photographies by Michal Škrovina, Agnė Rymkevičiūtė.