Introducing historical landscape in the cultural heritage conservation through the example of the Tokaj wine region in Hungary
The Tokaj wine region has been declared as a historical landscape by the decree of the National Ministry of Human Capacities in 2012. The historical landscape is defined in the Act LXIV of 2001 on the Protection of Cultural Heritage as an area under the preservation of Historical Monuments. The Tokaj Wine Region is the only legally recognized historical landscape in Hungary. This protection aims to preserve the historical built and natural environment as well as the traditional land use methods. The historical landscape, in the case of Tokaj, is a legal tool to increase the heritage protection level of the wine region. Nevertheless, no further details have yet been communicated on the preservation method. In this matter, protection remains on the level of discourse which puts emphasis on the expected perspectives in territorial planning and development. It may create a narrative that might potentially transform the territory. The region of our case study has been inscribed as a cultural landscape on the UNESCO World Heritage List and was added to the World Heritage List in 2002. Besides, the national government recognized the region as a territory of priority development in 2014 and a territory of priority touristic development in 2017. The area in question is marked by the stark contrast between social inequality and the image of the prestigious wine sector. In this paper, after providing a discussion of the institutional background of the adoption of the historical landscape in Hungary, I describe the different protection tools from the perspective of heritage conservation in order to reflect on the conception of the historical landscape: how was the region recognized as a historical landscape, and what was the purpose of this recognition? The main aim of the paper is to analyse the institutional process that led to the integration of a new object of protection in Hungary, called historical landscape.