The number of town dwellers on the planet is steadily growing. And a municipal policy asserts itself at a continually increasing rate. The bigger the number of towns and townspeople, the more perceivable is their interest in a historical environment. Curiously enough, the period of the Middle Ages (and Early Modern time as well) turns out to be, although not the only, but very likely the most attractive source of adoption. If the medieval built-up environment of a town has been retained, it is accentuated and reconsidered. If it is only archaeological traces that remain, they are reconstructed and, occasionally, rebuilt anew. If a town is actually too young to possess the medieval past, it can be invented from scratch, or, if worst comes to worst, they would activate medieval replicas of the 19th–20th centuries in the form of the Gothic revival, brick Gothic style, romanticism, and eclecticism.
The search for the answers to these questions brings us to the intersection of such important and relevant themes as the usage of the past as a tool for different purposes, the correlation between history and memory within the urban space, a mental geography of a town, and ‘spatial turn’ with its GIS-technologies and other opportunities, municipal policy regarding historical heritage (‘patrimonie’).
The session papers present wide geographical (Western and Central Europe, Russia, Iran, Caucasus, India, Central Asia) and thematic variety: inclusion of archaeological and architectural heritage into a present-day city; imaginary and invisible presence of the past in a town, even if they seem paradoxical, e.g. nomadic urban past, medieval town in ‘Game of thrones’; and peculiarities of urban historical memories.