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     Conference Series on Theoretical and Practical Issues on Built Heritage Conservation – TUSNAD
     16th Edition


The TUSNAD conference on built heritage conservation is one of the most significant professional symposium for specialists from East-Central Europe and at the same time a synthesis meeting of the professions interested in built heritage conservation from different regions of the world. The event was organised every year between 1992 and 2001, after which it became a biannual conference. During the past years it also became a tradition to organise the meetings of specialist built heritage organisations in parallel with the conferences.


The international Conference Series on Theoretical and Practical Issues on Built Heritage Conservation – TUSNAD was launched in 1992 as a specialist training course on built heritage conservation in Băile Tuşnad (whence the conference's name derives), then after 1993 it developed into a 6-8 days long scientific conference organised during spring (usually in March).

Starting with the year 1994 the lectures have been printed in proceedings volumes, which, since 1999, have been issued prior to the conference session. The volumes containing theoretic and practical information of a high scientific level are, quite rightly, much appreciated by the specialists. Since 2000 the plenary papers and round-table discussions may be read in complementary volumes, which are presented in their final form by the succeeding conference. Beginning with the 12th edition, the internationally renowned conference has been organised each time in a different location. Along the years the lectures were clustered around more and more precise and accurately determined topics. While between 1992 and 1994 the conference was organised without a specific topic, since 1995 the event's subtitles were formed by clearly differentiated topics: The Change of Attitude towards Monument Protection from the Venice Charter to Present (1995), Castles and Mansions from Eastern Europe (1996), Ecclesiastical Built Heritage Conservation (1997), Historic Towns (1998), Vernacular Architecture (1999), Built Heritage and Society (2000), Integrated Built Heritage Conservation (2001), Built Heritage Conservation, Compatibility Issues (2003), Realistic Approach to Built Heritage Conservation (2005), Global Protection of Historical Towns (2007), The Vernacular and the Multicultural Dialogue (2009), Fortresses Once Again in Use (2011), Contemporary Conveniences in Historic Buildings (2013).

The conference participants’ represent 15 professions (archaeologists, art historians, architects, engineers, landscape architects, mural, painted wood, stone, glass and metal restorers, building biologists, building physicists, soil mechanics specialists, geodesists, respectively HVAC specialists) arriving from different countries to this event, which by today has developed into an international conference, have a chance to meet, to exchange experience or to debate on problems regarding conservation that have risen during their work. The scientific level of the volumes contains the lectures, of the programme booklets, conference materials, field trip booklets, respectively that of the trilingual simultaneous translation have to be in conformity with the European norms as well, this being an essential requirement in the case of an international event.

Starting with 2007, the members of the ICOMOS scientific committees competent in the given fields have also taken part in this event, representing, besides displaying their personal professional experiences, the ICOMOS standpoint on the main topic. In 2007, the conference organised in Sibiu hosted the annual meeting of the European ICOMOS presidents. One of the significant achievements of the ICOMOS meeting that took place in the city holding in 2007 the title of European Capital of Culture was that the participating presidents had the chance to visit its preserved historical centre, starting thus the process the result of which will be the inclusion of Sibiu on the World Heritage List.

Similarly, in 2009 the members of ICOMOS–CIAV, the International Committee of Vernacular Architecture, held their meeting during the conference in Rimetea. As its result, the Rimetea Document was formulated, which pinned down the most important guidelines regarding the conservation of vernacular architecture in multi-ethnic regions.


The 16th edition of the international Conference Series on Theoretical and Practical Issues on Built Heritage Conservation – TUSNAD, held in August 21-24, 2013, took place in Bistriţa.

Bistriţa is one of the significant historical centres of Transylvania. Considering that the Lutheran church – which is located in the centre of the town – means a monumental symbol of the region, it represents an inestimable value for the history of architecture. The topic of the conference was in accordance with this architectural symbol, celebrating 450 years of its existence.

The major purpose of this cultural project was to realize, to understand and to appreciate the diversity of built heritage, to generate a change of mentality in the protection of this.

On August 23, a study field trip was organized, in order to visit important historic buildings from Şiei, Domneşti, Ţigău, Arcalia, Beclean and Năsăud.

On August 24 a round-table discussion was held, on the question of the Lutheran church’s conservation, followed by the vernissage of the exposition The conservation of the Lutheran church, held in the gallery of the church.

Our cultural project was in strong correlation with the celebration of 450 years of the church’s existence.

The main beneficiaries of the symposium were the professions interested in built heritage conservation; they could hear about the latest information of the research and practical conservation of inland and foreign built heritage. Between the participants there were representatives of the local authority, specialists, owners and users of historic buildings, researchers and students from masters and PhD of the architecture universities.

Furthermore, with the opportunity of celebrating 450 years of the Lutheran church’s existence, there were expected many foreign visitors to come, especially from the Saxon community from Germany, who contributed in the last few years at the restoration of the building.

The expected goals of the symposium are:
- the preservation of the built heritage and its implementation in the touristic cycle, through a change of conception in matter of realizing its values by the large public, the owners and users of historic buildings
- diminution of the number of deterioration and avoidance of the damage of built heritage, caused by the misinformation and misunderstood of the diversity and inestimable value of it

The number of participating countries has reached 4 (Germany, Hungary, Mexico, Romania), while the number of the participants exceeded 50.


Due to organisational problems, we were forced to modify the plans for the study field trip. Originally the fortification walls of Orăștie and the Dacian fortress in Sarmizegetusa Regia were also included in the programme, but the organisers decided on their elimination due to the bad road conditions, observed during the preliminary route check. Thus they were replaced by the fortified church in Valea Viilor and the fortification walls of Mediaș.

Constant trilingual (Romanian, Hungarian, English) simultaneous translation was ensured throughout the conference's entire period, by the means of which we have ensured the flow and exchange of information between the participants of different ethnicities.

The conference was financed by the National Cultural Fund from Hungary, while the Renaissance dance performance by the Communitas Foundation.


The conference's continuity is ensured by the organising, according to our plans, of the 17th issue of the scientific conference on May 14-17, 2014 at Cluj-Napoca, on the topic Contemporary Management for Built Heritage Protection. Despite the decreasing funding opportunities, we wish to continue our work in organising the conference, because with every occasion we are confronted by the fact that in the scientific circles there is a need for such events. It fills us with pride that along the numerous returning participants, increasingly newer generations are interested in events of this kind.

Compiled by: TAKÁCS Enikő - Programme manager

January 27, 2013, Cluj-Napoca

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