Cultural heritage is another casualty of war

The cultural heritage of a country is part of what is lost during a war. Every war is a symbol of destruction and death. In addition to the loss of human lives, without distinction of children and the elderly, there is the destruction of hospitals, houses and public buildings. And it is not something from the past, it is happening today in Ukraine.

cultural heritage
St. Sophia Cathedral

Although, in addition to all this human barbarism, there was also the destruction, sometimes systematic, of the cultural heritage. Buildings such as the Mariupol City Theater or the Svyatohirsk monastery were destroyed by bombing. In the case of the monastery, it was the oldest monastery in Ukraine, as written records date it to the 16th century.

In The Hague, there is an agreement signed to preserve cultural heritage during a war

UNESCO issued a warning about how fragile monuments and cultural property are. Also, in Ukraine there are remains of ancient Greek cities. For that reason, the international organization asks to respect the commitments signed in 1954 in The Hague. The signed act is a convention to preserve cultural heritage. The signatory countries undertook to do everything in their power not to destroy it.

Ukraine has a cultural heritage of about 140 thousand censored valuables. In addition, there are 132 thousand monuments and archaeological sites. About 500 of them are of national importance. In addition, it has 402 cities declared as historical sites.

It has seven cultural properties that are UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

  • St. Sophia Cathedral and the Monastery of the Caves.
  • The historical center of Lviv.
  • The residence of the metropolitans of Bukovina and Dalmatia.
  • The ancient city of the Chersonese.
  • The wooden Tserkvas in the Carpathian region.

However, throughout history, many goods have been lost because of armed conflicts. And they will continue to be lost as long as humans do not understand that wars are for the benefit of a few to the detriment of millions.

In many cases, the destruction of cultural heritage is seen as a tactic to morally weaken the enemy. Today, as in the past, the destruction of cultural property has become a tool of war.

uNESCO cultural and world heritage
Cave Monastery – Ukraine
History bears witness to irretrievable losses

They destroyed irretrievable assets such as the Library of Alexandria. It was by arson and destroyed priceless books and documents. The mutilation of the Greek Parthenon in Athens, as part of the Holy League war in the 17th century.

During World War II, indiscriminate Nazi bombing also destroyed valuable cultural property. And in the 21st century, the Taliban destroyed priceless cultural heritage, such as the Buddhas of Bamiyan. With the sole objective of destroying everything that does not belong to the Muslim culture.

Thus, in the city of Timbuktu, the historic city of the 333 Saints, hundreds of ancient historical sites were destroyed. Religious temples, mausoleums, libraries, sculptures, monuments and architectural relics were reduced to rubble.

The destruction of cultural property is not a thing of the past. It continues to occur and will continue as long as there are wars, it is intrinsic to them. However, the most regrettable thing about a war is still the horror, death and desolation it leaves in its wake. Something that those who plan the tactics and strategies of a war cannot and will not avoid.

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