||The research problem of this thesis stems from the increasing trend of employing the abstract concepts of ‘sustainability’ and ‘sustainable development’ in the management plans of World Heritage Sites or archaeological cultural heritage management projects. To find out whether the use of these concept has actual implications, or they are just another “buzz word”. Therefore, the main research question of this thesis is: To what extent is a sustainable approach implemented in the management of the Bulgarian World Heritage Site – the Kazanlak Thracian tomb?
To answer this question, the methodology uses three types of methods – direct observation, document analysis (World Heritage Site management plan), and semi-structured interviews with four stakeholders from both local and national level of the management system. As theoretical methodologies designed to analyse the social problem of ‘sustainability’ and ‘sustainable development’ and its transmission into cultural heritage management plans is still underdeveloped. The criteria were refined based on issues raised in a review of literature on the subject and attempts to provide a practical approach that can easily move between data and theory.
The aims of the thesis are threefold. The first aim is to contextualise the meaning of ‘sustainability’ and ‘sustainable development’ within the context of World Heritage Site management. The second aim is to present a working methodology for conducting sustainability analysis while using qualitative data. The third aim is to apply the research methodology to the case of the Kazanlak Thracian tomb and evaluate its limitations.
The triangulation of the results from the direct qualitative analysis challenges the strong emphasis that is positioned to the tangible aspects of the Kazanlak Thracian tomb. Therefore, the final discussion argues that the top-down approach and the highly hierarchical system are blocking the implementation of a sustainable approach in the management of the Kazanlak Thracian tomb.