The Charter for the Protection of the Byzantine Heritage Monuments was uninanimously ratified after a three-day debate held in Thessaloniki over the weekend. The officials agreed on a framework of commonly accepted principles for the protection of the Byzantine heritage monuments for all states which own and manage monuments of the former Byzantine Empire, which spanned 11 centuries and three continents and whose monuments are now spread out among 23 countries with different cultures, languages and religions.
The voting of the Charter was the culmination of a lengthy process conducted over four meetings held in 2001, 2003, 2006 and this year, organised by the European Centre of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Monuments.
It is a charter of principles that aims to be a useful scientific tool to the countries that have Byzantine-era monuments in their territories. The principles encourage the inclusion into countries’ national law of measures to protect, study, record and incorporate the monuments into modern societies, in order to tell their story to citizens and visitors.
Representatives from Egypt, Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Jordan, Spain, Israel, Italy, Croatia, Cyprus, Lebanon, Palestine, Romania, Serbia, Syria, Bahrain and Morocco participated in Thessaloniki meeting, which was concluded on Sunday. The participation of Tunisia and FYROM, which was initially scheduled, was cancelled.
The Charter will be submitted to UNESCO for ratification and will remain open for other countries with Byzantine monuments in their territory to join.