Aim of Case Study
The aim of this case study is to showcase the work done by the Monument’s Ambulance for safeguarding the cultural heritage in danger of collapsing in Romania. The work done by the association was recognized at the highest European level, receiving 2 Europa Nostra awards.
The Monuments’ Ambulance is a project initiated in 2016 by the Monumentum Association and developed by a series of existent or newly created organizations active in the field of heritage that operate independently in several regions of Romania.
The project aims to act efficiently to preserve the immovable heritage by safeguarding certain essential heritage items in an advanced state of decay or pre-collapse. Over 600 historical monuments from Romania that are either public or private property are waiting for emergency rescue, and their number is increasing worryingly. The Monuments' Ambulance project was created in response to the accelerated destruction threatening immovable cultural heritage in the absence of action from local communities, the relevant ministry, and authorities. This project aims to safeguard this heritage by involving volunteers, artisans, and local communities in the conservation and restoration process under the guidance of experts in these fields. The Monuments' Ambulance project aims to protect and preserve cultural heritage for future generations.
Wherever the owner provides the necessary construction material, the Monuments’ Ambulance, whose main supporter is HRH The Prince of Wales acts to safeguard the monument with the help of a van equipped with all the necessary tools.
“Most of the project’s activities are related to the replacement of damaged roofs, securing walls from collapse, implementing proper water drainage, and stabilizing wall paintings. Since 2016, many interventions on local, national, and World Heritage sites – such as churches, mills, manor houses, train stations, and ruins of historic fortifications – have been carried out.
One key aspect of the Monuments' Ambulance project is its emphasis on local decision-making and community ownership of cultural heritage. The project operates as an umbrella initiative, with each participating organization functioning as a franchise and retaining the independence to make decisions. Local communities play a vital role in the project by hosting volunteers and providing meals, fostering a sense of collaboration and ownership. By involving community members in the decision-making process and giving them a sense of ownership over the heritage being preserved, the Monuments' Ambulance project aims to ensure the sustainability and success of its efforts.
A close cooperation between private, and public bodies has been created where local and regional authorities cover most of the costs for materials. In contrast, private companies, and donors fund additional materials, equipment, and tools. Hundreds of mayors, priests, local councilors, and other representatives of local communities have joined forces with the volunteers to curb the destruction of their heritage. This has raised local communities’ awareness of the importance and value of cultural identity, and encouraged a sense of stewardship.
The initiative also trains young experts and craftspeople at a local level, ensuring the buildings’ sustainable and future maintenance, addressing a problem that is present not just in Romania but in many other countries throughout Europe.”
• cultural heritage,
• traditional crafts,
• architecture, and restoration
Through this case study you learn that:
-the problems of the monuments in danger need to be solved in a collaboration between the local community, and experts in different fields.
- to take care of the monuments on the long term, new generations of craftsmen in wood, stone, ceramic or other type of materials must be trained
- the quality of the work can be exemplary even if it is done with, and by volunteers, and the results can inspire, and can be recognized at European level.
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