Cultural Heritage and The Covid Times

Published: 1. 1. 2021
Author: Antonín Staněk
Photo: Shutterstock.com
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Culture is a set of values that have been formed over generations and create a nation's cultural awareness. Without culture, a nation and state cannot exist.

Culture is rooted in society and serves to preserve the cultural identity of the nation. Cultural value is as important as health. Our natural goal should be healthy development of society and enriching our being thanks to the cultural heritage that surrounds us.

The meaning of memory

Cultural memory is extremely important for the development of society, it explains the direction of the nation in the past and the present. Thanks to quality cultural memory, it is possible to ensure the development of a balanced society that understands its past and the legacy of the ancestors in many tangible and intangible artefacts. Just as a computer has its own memory, so do tangible objects represent conserved memory that needs to be protected by institutions in charge of service (archives, libraries, museums, galleries, castles and chateaux). The Czech state annually spends considerable funds on the protection of cultural memory for future generations, which is one of its main tasks in relation to cultural memory.

Tourism industry

The basis of the cultural wealth of the Czech Republic is a large number of cultural monuments, which together with cultural institutions form a unique system of cultural assets located in the territory of our country. It is important for the Czech economy that foreign tourists come to the country regularly. It goes without saying that the tourism industry is based on them coming, which accounts for 2.9% of total GDP. The profit from tourism is 153 billion crowns, which is significantly reflected in the revenue side of the state budget. Therefore, it is important to secure cultural assets for their further use. Due to the absence of the sea and high mountains, such as the Alps or the Tatras, cultural assets are one of the attractions tourists are drawn by. The potential of tourists from abroad is great, though now it is a matter of using the potential of domestic tourists, to whom Czechia also has something to offer.

Voice of support

And it is the current covid period that shows how particularly vulnerable this sector of Czech culture is. A significant part of the income from the tourism industry is returned by the state in the form of subsidies for the restoration of cultural monuments, which, despite this support, has been significantly underfunded for a long time. The collapse of the tourism industry caused by global epidemiological measures will have a completely fatal effect on its revenues and, consequently, on the support for the restoration of cultural monuments. In combination with other specifically domestic negative factors, there is a real threat to our cultural heritage. Immovable cultural monuments cannot defend themselves, nor do they have a much-appreciated electoral vote, which is why it is important that those who are not indifferent to their fate speak up for their support.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Antonín Staněk (born 2nd March 1966 in Olomouc) is a member of the CSSD and a former Minister of Culture.

He graduated from the School of Education at Palacký University in Olomouc, where he still works as an Associate Professor. From 2010 to 2018 he was a Representative of the city of Olomouc, where he served as Mayor for four years.

He is the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of SK Sigma Olomouc, he is also the Vice President of the Czech Handball Association and the Chairman of the Central Moravian Handball Association.

He is married and has a son. His hobbies include music, theatre and sports.

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