(Brandenburg University of Technology (BTU) Cottbus-Senftenberg, Cottbus, Germany)

Keywords: conflict, cultural genocide, reconstruction, collective memory, identity, legal framework

The reconstruction of cities and cultural heritage sites destroyed in conflicts has a significant role for post-conflict recovery of societies. In this context it is not about the simple reconstruction of physical structures but the safeguarding of socio-cultural identity, which is constructed through the individual and collective memory of people and their interaction with the built environment. This paper summarizes the concept of cultural heritage values and their impact on identity and formation of peoples collective memory. Further the topic of deliberate destruction of cultural heritage in armed conflicts is presented under following questions: Why cultural heritage and in its turn the identity of opponents are targeted in the times of conflict? What effects are caused by this? The paper briefly introduces the development of the term ‘cultural genocide’ and presents a summary of the legal framework set by the international conventions answering the question: What are the legislations to protect the cultural heritage during armed conflict?

Relevance conference / Relevance session:
Before 3D-modelling or physical reconstruction process for a damaged/destroyed cultural property can be conducted, a deep understanding of the place and its urban identity should be developed.

Cultural heritage is often targeted during armed conflicts and is still being used as a tool for destruction, this damage goes beyond the physical structures and involves destroying people’s identity


  1. Bevan, R. 2006: The Destruction of Memory: Architecture at War.
  2. UNESCO, 1954: Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.