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Why we need to take care of heritage

By George Gurescu 

Each city has its own histories. Every time I get home, in Botosani, I rediscover the ones that marked my childhood and made me keep to this small town, and 15 years after I left it. The stories of a city are told by those who lived them and by the buildings that still stand. Witnesses or storytellers are fewer and fewer, but the buildings that managed to survive wars, communism and the passage of time are the only evidence of a city that was once more than a source of export for Spain and Italy. 

Botosani is a city that grew up with the help of Armenians, Jews and Lipovans, and without the buildings, monuments and cemeteries they left, their history would have been more easily forgotten. Every piece of heritage that is standing today contributes to the preservation of a history and the preservation of an identity. 

Heritage is worth saving not for glorifying periods and for egos, but for remembering who we are and what we can do. Botosani will not become a small cosmopolitan city again just because the buildings are protected, but the locals will know that their city can be more than it is, that their city now is the product of such a beautiful and diverse history.  

Why do I think it's important? Because the forced uniformity of the city, the demolitions and all the ideology of the communist period still haunt us and made us lose these pieces of our identity. 

Protecting the heritage, and you will see in the interviews conducted for this edition, does not mean a preservation and putting to "formol" the newly rehabilitated buildings. Heritage only makes sense when you give it back to the community and put life into it. 

In the articles in this edition you will get to know organizations that understand this and fight with an incredible passion for saving, resurrecting (because that's often what it's all about) and protecting these pieces of history. Often, their struggle seems unequal, resources insufficient, and support does not come on time. But stubbornness and love for these pieces of history manage to bring about change. 

"Personally, I believe that the right to heritage and cultural landscape is a universal right of the human being, but education and work in the community are needed to become aware of this right," says Mirela Duculescu (Pro Patrimonio). 

For Oana Chirila, from the Locus Association (Herculane Project), the first big challenge was that "we had to show that we are persevering, that we will not stop at the first obstacle and that regardless of the situation we will look for the best and most sustainable solutions. At the same time, the hardest process was and is to win the trust of the local community."

Luiza Zamora tells us about the work on the ground and the realities that an organization faces. "The biggest obstacle is the lack of real cooperation between the state and the non-governmental sector, the lack of interest in heritage on the part of this state incapable of seeing in its own heritage a resource not only cultural but also a financial one. "


In the reports made by journalist and writer Ruxandra Hurezean you will find such an organization that has managed to save dozens of monuments so far and involve communities in the restoration and rendering of history. The Ambulance for Monuments is now an organization present – through its franchises – in seven regions of the country, and in six years it has saved 70 monuments. 

The work of the Ambulances inspired others to get involved, and in the story of Brusturi you will see how a doctor managed to mobilize a village for the restoration of a 300-year-old church, having the priest and the Ambulance on his side. 

This summer's chronicles are about how we can save the past so that we can have a future of our own. 

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Chronicles of Philanthropy

Every community has the resources to become a better and stronger home for the people who live in it. We, the Association for Community Relations, have the mission to discover, cultivate and use these resources to give people hope, but also a framework in which they can act.

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