On the beginning of the classification of monuments. On the advantages and disadvantages of Polish heritage valuation systems


This article discusses practices of classification of historic monuments and sites which have been adopted in Poland so far. The author of this article presents criteria pertaining to categorising and making inventory of historic monuments and sites developed in the first half of the twentieth century by Jan Zachwatowicz, Zdzisław Bieniecki, and Michał Witwicki. Furthermore, what is also presented is classification of materials that are relevant by their use or invention, classification of modernism monuments, and classification of historic monuments and sites which was carried out in the years 19590–1962, at the time when classes 0 and 1–4 were introduced.
In future, historic monuments and sites should be classified by members of different expert teams cooperating with each other on different levels (regional and supralocal). The lists must be verified by academic authorities from various communities (art and architecture historians, conservators, etc.) and all works must be carried out in compliance with currently binding regulations. The criteria should be developed in accordance with the regulations set forth in the Polish Act on Protection and Guardianship of Monuments and Sites of 23 July 2003, unless major amendments are made to it. The author of this article suggests the following criteria, compliant with the legal regulations in force:
– artistic merit (art. 3.1): the form of a property or a group of properties (quality and scope of their influence – European, supraregional, and local)
– scientific and academic merit (art. 3.1): authenticity of the idea, material, function as well as construction, material, and innovation on local and supraregional scale.
– historical merit (art. 3.1): the value and significance of the site, people and events - European, supraregional, and local scale
It is necessary to define the significance and value of historic monuments and sites of European (supranational), regional, and local importance. Classification of both single historic monuments and sites and their groups should be clear, simple, and include the smallest possible number of valuing criteria. Furthermore, it should be compliant with Polish laws in force. When applied, the classification should result in factual selection of properties and sites - not on creating new groups of properties and sites of great historical importance and new categories of values being difficult to define. It is not possible to have standardised cirtieria matching all requirements and assigning high rank to each historic monument and site.


Classification; historic monuments and sites in Poland; historic preservation; heritage management

Published : 2019-09-12

Lewicki, J. (2019). On the beginning of the classification of monuments. On the advantages and disadvantages of Polish heritage valuation systems. Ochrona Dziedzictwa Kulturowego, (2), 91-108. Retrieved from https://ph.pollub.pl/index.php/odk/article/view/154

Jakub Lewicki 
Department of Conservation of Monuments and Landscape Protection Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw  Poland

historyk architektury i konserwator zabytków, dr hab. w dziedzinie architektury i urbanistyki
o specjalizacji historia architektury i konserwacja zabytków, prof. nzw., kierownik Zakładu
Konserwacji Zabytków i Ochrony Krajobrazu UKSW i Dyrektor Instytutu Architektury i Urbanistyki
PWSZ w Nysie, wykłada historię architektury i konserwację zabytków, twórca programu kierunku
Ochrona Dóbr Kultury i Środowiska. Autor ponad 120 publikacji z zakresu konserwacji zabytków i
historii architektury oraz licznych niepublikowanych prac studialnych będących efektem badań terenowych.
Wiceprezes Sekcji Polskiej DOCOMOMO, a także członek ICOMOS.