The Athens Charter for the Restoration of Historic Monuments – 1931

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International Museums Office


International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)



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This policy document discusses key conclusions of the conference titled, ‘First International Congress of Architects and Technicians of Historic Monuments,’ held in Athens in 1931. It can be accessed at the website of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).

The conference deliberated upon several aspects of conserving ancient monuments such as basic principles, legislative measures, techniques of conservation and international collaboration. Several recommendations were made to respect the historic artwork by means of maintaining aesthetics around monuments, educating visitors, and judicious use of modern construction material in restoration efforts. Additionally, the conference made seven main resolutions titled, ‘Carta del Restauro.’ (Restauration chart).

ICOMOS is dedicated to the development of common doctrines for the protection of cultural heritage sites and monuments, the evolution and circulation of knowledge, the creation of improved conservation techniques, and the promotion of cultural heritage significance.

This unique non-governmental, democratic not-for-profit international organisation is associated with UNESCO, as an Advisory Body of the World Heritage Committee for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention. The creation of ICOMOS in 1965 is the outcome of initial conversations between architects, historians and international experts that began in the early twentieth century and eventually materialized in the adoption of the Venice Charter in 1964.

Some of the resolutions made at the conference are:

  • International organizations for restoration on operational and advisory levels are to
  • be established
  • Excavated sites which are not subject to immediate restoration should be reburied
  • for protection
  • Modern techniques and materials may be used in restoration work
  • Historical sites are to be given strict custodial protection
  • Attention should be given to the protection of areas surrounding historic sites