× Europe H2020

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 760858

Heritage values: Places of Memory

Heritage Memory and Belonging Section

Places of Memory

Monuments and memorial sites are not only reminders of an historical event, they also help us understand why society decides to celebrate them. They explain how a given event or moment in history becomes important to society at a specific time and show in which way society wants to remember it.
Sometimes memorial sites fall into neglect. What was once important to society ceases to be so. A new interpretation of the same historical event arises, indicating a further change in society. 
In some cases, we see how different interpretations and valorisations of previous historical periods lead to the stigmatization of architectural elements that were once erected as symbols of power or reminders of specific politics. Sometimes the rejection is not focussed on a specific building or site but on an architectural style or typology. 
The debate surrounding historical memory and its symbols is an important topic in many countries. The most extreme positions advocate for the suppression of any item that could be understood as a tribute to people or entities whose acts provoke rejection today. However, we must understand architecture as a repository of history rather than as a tribute to it, since the complexity inherent to architecture allows for multiple layers of understanding that, most of the time, transcend political intentions. Furthermore, the perception of history is not immutable, and the conservation of patrimony is also an act of responsibility and generosity for future generations.

Related monuments


©Darmon Richter (www.monumentalism.net)

Hut Buzludza, хижа Бузлуджа [Buzludzha Monument]


© Lee Smith

Паметник 1300 години България [Monument to 1300 Years of Bulgaria]


cc 3.0 Harri Blomberg

Vikingskibshallen på Vikingskibsmuseet [Viking Hall at the Viking Ship Museum]


© Alexander Nilssen | www.nilssen-photo.com

Salaspils memoriālais ansamblis [Salaspils Memorial Ensamble]


© Michael Lordi

Felszabadulási Emlékmű [Liberation Monument]


Susana Landrove/Fundación DOCOMOMO Ibérico

Tomba Monumentale Brion [Brion Tomb]