What are the Cultural Routes?
Cultural routes was launched by the Council of Europe(CoE) in 1987. Cultural routes is an invitation to discover the richness and diversity of the European heritage, promoting the values of the Council of Europe ( human rights, cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and mutual exchanges across borders).
CoE evaluates and certifies a Cultural Route through an extensive process, aiming to warranty the quality of its existence, services and above excellence. The routes implement several activities focusing in five main priority field. these are : co-operation in research and development; enhancement of memory, history and European heritage; cultural and educational exchanges for young Europeans; contemporary cultural and artistic practice; cultural tourism and sustainable cultural development.
Cultural route Via Eurasia
Via Eurasia is a common effort by three associations from Italy, Greece and Turkey.
It all started from an initiative by Culture Routes Society (CRS) located in Antalya (Turkey).
Via Francigena (EAVF-European Association of Via Francigena), is the Italian partner. Via Francigena is an already certified Cultural Route of the Council of Europe (2001) and has been recognised as one fo the successfully developed cultural route.
The third partner has been Trace Your Eco (TYE), located in Thessaloniki (Greece), which undertook the responsibility to develop and coordinate action in Greece and in Balkan area. Organisations such as Via Egnatia Foundation (Holland) have been supporters also an key contributors for the entire project.
Via Eurasia is a network of roads with common theme the engineering of road construction in several period of the past.
Goal of all roads has been the connection of extended geographical areas, commerce, movement of people, military activities and several others.
In the framework of the project, partners visited the area of Puglia in Italy.
There, they had the opportunity to meet and discuss with people from Via Francigena, local volunteers and coordinators. Participants aimed in exchanging experiences, build and increase the capacity of all in developing routes. The experience of Via Francigena has been key in the entire project.
Currently the network includes Via Francigena nel Sud, from Rome to Bari in Italy. In Balkans it follows Via Egnatia, which starts at Durres in Albania, goes through Florina in Greece and Thessaloniki, passes from Kavala and heads to Instanbul (Turkey).
In the Asian part, in Turkey it involves roads at south-west of Turkey around the cisty of Demre, crosses areas north of Antalya to Egirdir (Lycia, Pysidia, Frygia), goes all the way to Bursa and Ismit, following several regional existing cultural routes.
Through a week tour in the regions of central Macedonia, east Macedonia and Thrace, Via Eurasia was presented to several municipalities, regional governors and local associations and press.
Goal was the public’s increase of awareness of the Cultural routes. During the presentations the benefits for the local societies were analysed and discussions followed with the participants.