Council of Europe on Cultural Heritage

The Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for the Society (Faro, 2005) gives most comprehensive definition of cultural heritage, embracing its tangible, intangible and digital dimension in a holistic way:

Cultural Heritage is a group of resources inherited from the past, which people identify, independently of ownership, as a reflection and expression of their constantly evolving values, beliefs, knowledge and transitions. It includes all aspects of the environment resulting from the interaction between people and places through time (Faro 2005).

This Convention underlines that any sign or a symbol created by, or given meaning by human activity, that is intentionally protected, conserved or revived, instead of being left to natural decay, oblivion, or destruction, can be considered cultural heritage. It puts the emphasis on the values (i.e. cultural, historical, aesthetic, archaeological, scientific, ethnological, anthropological value), beliefs, knowledge and transitions, which are considered relevant by a community or group of reference that has the right to benefit from this resource and that is responsible for the transmission to future generations.