The Past in the Present: A Living Heritage Approach - Meteora, Greece
Ioannis Poulios
The Past in the Present: A Living Heritage Approach - Meteora, Greece

The Past in the Present deals with the complexities in the operation and management of living heritage sites. It presents a new interpretation of such sites based on the concept of continuity, and its evolution to the present. It is demonstrated that the current theoretical framework and practice of conservation, as best epitomised in a values-based approach and the World Heritage concept, is based on discontinuity created between the monuments (considered to belong to the past) and the people of the present, thus seemingly unable to embrace living heritage sites. From this position, the study suggests an innovative approach that views communities and sites as an inseparable entity: a Living Heritage Approach. This approach brings a new insight into key concepts such as authenticity and sustainable development.Through the use of the monastic site of Meteora, Greece, as a case study, the discussion generated aims to shift the focus of conservation from ‘preservation’ towards a continual process of ‘creation’ in an ongoing present, attempting to change the way heritage is perceived, protected and, more importantly, further created.“The Past in the Present is an important and much-needed contribution to the debate about living heritage – and it is particularly significant in the context of the heritage of the past in the modern world. Anyone concerned with how the past is, or should be, integrated within modern lives and identities will need to read this book.” – Leslie Brubaker, Director, Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies, University of Birmingham, UK.“This interesting and thoroughly researched book by Ioannis Poulios is a useful tool in promoting the Living Heritage Approach, and provides a sound theoretical basis for future work. Living Heritage Approach is a paradigm shift that suggests a new way of addressing conservation for our heritage. ICCROM is proud to have introduced this approach, also with the contribution of Ioannis.” – Gamini Wijesuriya, Project Manager, ICCROM.(DOI:

A note on the author
Part 1. Existing Approaches to Conservation
Chapter 1. Introduction: definition and development of conservation – the concept of authenticity
Chapter 2. Recognising the living dimension of heritage sites
Chapter 3. Existing approaches to conservation
3.1. A material-based approach
3.2. A values-based approach
Chapter 4. Defining and managing ‘living heritage’
4.1. Existing approaches
4.2. Towards a new approach
Part 2. The Conservation and Management of the Site of Meteora in Greece
Chapter 5. Description of Meteora: landscape, and history
Chapter 6. Meteora within the systems of monasticism, heritage protection and tourism operation
Chapter 7. The meaning of Meteora as an Orthodox monastic site
7.1. From the 11th century to approximately 1940: the original Tradition at Meteora
7.2. 1960s to present: contemporary influences to the Tradition at Meteora (the philanthropic-missionary approach to monasticism)
Chapter 8. The conservation and management of Meteora (1960 to present): presentation
8.1. Overview
8.2. Examples
Chapter 9. The conservation and management of Meteora (1960 to present): analysis
9.1. Overview
9.2. Analysis
Chapter 10. The use and arrangement of space at Meteora (1960 to present)
10.1. Overview
10.2. Examples
10.3. Analysis
Chapter 11. Conclusion
Part 3. Towards a New Approach to Conservation: A Living Heritage Approach
Chapter 12. Towards a new approach to the definition of living heritage sites
Chapter 13. Why living heritage sites cannot be embraced within the current approaches to conservation?
Chapter 14. A living heritage approach: the main principles
Chapter 15. A living heritage approach: planning process methodology
Conclusion: The Contribution of a Living Heritage Approach to the Discipline of Conservation
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