An agreement called “The Charter for the Protection of the Byzantine Heritage Monuments” was unanimously ratified this weekend after a three-day meeting held in the city of Thessaloniki, Greek Reporter reports.
Representatives from twenty-one countries agreed on a framework of principles for the protection of Byzantine heritage for all areas comprising the former Byzantine Empire. The Empire spanned three continents, and its monuments are now spread out among 23 countries with different cultures, languages and religions.
The Byzantine Empire outlasted that of the the Romans, flourishing for over eleven centuries.
The creation of the Charter was the culmination of a lengthy process conducted over four meetings held in 2001, 2003, 2006 and 2018. The Charter of Thessaloniki meetings were organized by the European Centre of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Monuments.
The Charter aims to be a useful scientific tool for the countries which contain Byzantine-era monuments within their territories. Its principles encourage the different nations to enact measures to protect, study, and record the priceless monuments they contain.
The Thessaloniki plan also calls for the different countries to incorporate their priceless Byzantine-era monuments into modern society, in order to tell their stories to citizens and visitors.
Representatives of countries from the entire Mediterranean world as well as Bahrain and Syria participated in the Thessaloniki meeting, which was concluded on Sunday.
The participation of Tunisia and FYROM, which was initially scheduled, was cancelled.
The Charter will be submitted to UNESCO for ratification. Membership will remain open so that other countries having Byzantine monuments and buildings may join.