Mountains cover nearly 30% of the EU territory. Together with rural and remote areas they are home to 57% of the population and account for 46% of the gross added value produced in the EU (source: Intergroup RUMRA & Smart Villages). Besides hosting an invaluable and very fragile natural heritage they also possess an extremely rich cultural heritage, intrinsically linked to the common European history.
The recent Interreg Europe’s briefing on the valorisation of mountains’ cultural heritage provides different examples of how regions can turn heritage into an asset. From mountain products to food festivals, museums, trails and castles, there are various options to sustainably promote cultural heritage and attract both tourists and permanent residents. The briefing for example provides snapshots of strategic campaigns promoting restored mountain castles in Slovakia, the construction of a network of pilgrimage trails up to the Romanian Olympus or the creation of gastronomic routes to discover Italian mountain wines or Corsican products.
“The rich cultural heritage has also a very strong potential for innovation” recalls Marie Clotteau, Director of Euromontana, in the foreword of the briefing. “As such, it can be used to revitalise mountain regions and foster the development of new entrepreneurial ideas to strengthen their attractiveness” she adds, explaining that cultural heritage should not only be promoted towards tourists but should also drive a wider revitalisation of mountain areas, the social inclusion of newcomers, intergenerational links and rural-urban linkages.
Euromontana will also be opening an Interreg Europe webinar on cultural heritage in mountain areas on 9th November 2021. This online event will put forward EU initiatives that both local and regional authorities can take up to boost sustainable development in mountain areas through valorisation of cultural heritage. You can still check the programme and register to join the event and get inspired by how other mountainous regions promote their heritage.
You can also find inspiration in the good practices and proceedings from the XIth European Mountain Convention on mountain cultural heritage, held in Vatra Dornei in 2018.4 November 2021