The difficult relationship between nationalism and built heritage : the case of late nineteenth-century Krakow
Title: The difficult relationship between nationalism and built heritage : the case of late nineteenth-century Krakow
Author: KISIEL, Piotr
Citation: Nationalities papers-the journal of nationalism and ethnicity, 2017, Vol. 45, No. 3, pp. 410-424
ISSN: 0090-5992; 1465-3923
This paper examines the debates that surrounded the renovation of the royal castle in Krakow during the last decade before World War I. When the Galician crownland took over the castle in 1905, it bore little resemblance to a royal seat, having been used as military barracks since 1846. The debate that followed focused on what should be preserved, what demolished, and what recreated. In this discourse the "meaning" of a historical monument was examined and different interpretations within the circles of architects, preservationists, and artists were propagated. The debate conducted during the meeting of the Central Commission for Research and Conservation of Historic Buildings revealed that the division was not along national lines, but rather among different philosophies of preservation of built heritage. The point made by the paper is that the discourse conducted 100 years ago allows us today to draw conclusions about the role of historical buildings in a national(istic) worldview and examine its inherent contradictions. That is because, I argue, the past as such matters little in the national( istic) understanding, despite its ostentatious interest in history. What matters is the usefulness of historic symbols in the present.
Published online: 20 November 2018
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