Reconstruction of historical architecture, gradually ruined by decay or perished as a result of any force majeure, has been, as a rule, rejected by experts in the field of cultural heritage preservation. These experts insist that destruction is a normal part of history and that it is not possible to aesthetically replace the real lost tradition. They argue that reconstruction means producing mock-ups that have only a show value, and that reconstruction means falsifying history and memory: falsifying the actual message carried by original monuments. Consequently, an average observer fails to distinguish between what is original and what is reconstructed. An important exception to this rule was the reconstruction that followed the WW2. It was argued that if an object was lost as a result of an act of violence and if it was of key importance for the local or national identity, it had to be reconstructed. The case of the Warsaw Royal Castle, blown up in 1944 and reconstructed between 1971-1988, instead of symbolically closing the post-war reconstruction chapter, has encouraged a number of initiatives aiming to reconstruct not only those objects that were still present in people’s communicative memory; architecture that was lost hundreds of years ago, particularly medieval castles, also started to be reconstructed. Such buildings are by no means rooted in the communicative memory of a society; they are not even sufficiently documented by means of pictures or drawings and still become subject to (creative) reconstruction. This paper touches upon the phenomenon of the fake architectural heritage that has been spreading in Europe, and notably in Poland, in the recent decades. It particularly focuses on the influence these visually significant (re)constructions, resulting clearly from manipulating the commemorative culture, have on shaping the cultural memory and the collective identity-building processes in Poland.
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