About the World Conferences of Historical Cities

Cracow Declaration in 1998

previous conference:

The 6th Conference in CRACOW

Gathered in Krakow - the old capital city of Poland, a monument of universal cultural heritage - participants in the 6th World Conference of Historical Cities, declare:

1. Historic cities are rich and crucially important manifestations of the continuity of human civilization. These cities, representing unique legacies of cultures, reveal specificity, respectful of their varied history. While respecting their uniqueness, one must also accept some general principles, which will have to be followed by all involved, whether national or city governments, business, or community institutions.

2. Given the present state of globalization, historic, cities are more than ever faced with the challenge of preserving their identity. However, defending this uniqueness cannot mean isolation; rather, it calls for a positive attitude towards change. But beyond that, historic cities will need to draw upon their creativity in finding a balance for their cultural and religious diversity.

3. Management of a historic city requires respecting laws of the market and adequate space left for their economic and physical development, that makes harmonious use of the city's heritage.

4. Historical cities are built on cultural and religious values, which are both constant, and yet they change with time; such cities, therefore, will need to peacefully nurture the diversity of beliefs of their citizens. Because of their concentrated heritage, historical cities are well-placed to play a leading role in the learning society, and thus in the improvement of the quality of life and future prosperity of the nations.

5. Historic cities are valuable as the assemblages of monuments. The same rules of conservation should thus be applied towards all the elements of these assemblages.

6. The old city centres are an integral part of the whole city's tissue. They cannot be turned into museums. Contemporary functions are critical for effective monuments protection.

7. Tourism is a part of the economy of each historical city; however, it must be properly managed since it could be a source of many negative effects for the historic substance itself and social conditions in the city. In particular:

- tourism is only one of many use of cultural facilities which must therefore be managed to serve multiple markets;
- there is a need to diverse system that provide a financial return from tourism to the facilities it uses;
- the management of cultural tourism requires public - private partnerships;
- cultural tourism development serves many different community goals.

Cracow, May 28, 1998

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Declarations of the Previous Conferences