Newsletter Autumn 2013



Regione Marche welcomes you to this latest HISTCAPE Newsletter. We are pleased to be able to report that visitors came from all over Europe to Marche Region for the 5th HISTCAPE Open Conference.

Marche Region welcomed delegates from Austria, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Germany, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, United Kingdom and Slovenia, to continue the enhancement of historical and rural communities and develop solutions to promote sustainable management of rural areas and halt their decline.

The 5th HISTCAPE OPEN CONFERENCE was held on 11th September 2013 at the Cultural Centre of San Francesco in Arcevia.  The OC was twinned with an afternoon regional conference under the umbrella title "LANDSCAPE, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND PLANNING" aimed at attracting a wider attendance and media attention.

Speakers included the Mayor of Arcevia and the Marche Film Commission amongst many others. The conferences were followed by study visits which gave the HISTCAPE partners the opportunity to view outstanding rural landscapes, monuments and urban settlements, such as the Frasassi Caves, the Castles of Arcevia and the renaissance town of Urbino.   The internal partner meetings organized at the picturesque San Septimius Private Reserve with its “Albergo Diffuso” (a 'hotel' made up of dispersed individual historic buildings in a rural communal setting) discussed the collection of best practice, development of pilot actions, policy recommendations and implementations – to produce shared solutions at a European level.

Lorenzo Federiconi and Vincenzo Zenobi, Regione Marche

A report of the 6th Open Conference held in Valladolid, Spain on 23rd October 2013 will be available in the next newsletter

 2014 - HISTCAPE’s 1st Open Conference in the new year will be held at the Monastery of Tibães, on 25th March 2014, and will be hosted by the Northern Portugal Regional Directorate for Culture (NRCD, Portugal)

The Open Conference will be held in the morning of the 25th. The event aims to present some of the best practice identified by NRCD, Portugal, as well as address intervention strategies on Cultural Heritage in rural areas. Special focus will be on the safeguarding of assets and economic sustainability. The approaches of other HISTCAPE project partners will be also presented and discussed.

On 27th March a visit to Varosa Valley and the Valley of the Upper Douro gives the opportunity to learn more about actions that have been implemented in these regions and further measures planned for implementation.

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Project Update

Pilot Actions

HISTCAPE is testing the transfer of good practice within pilot actions in six partner regions

HISTCAPE is about identifying challenges in rural areas and then finding good practice examples where they have been overcome. However, not all good practice examples are transferable. Many depend upon local situations within the community, laws or political realities. Therefore it is necessary to ´test´ if a good practice can be transferred from one region to another. This is the reason for the Pilot Actions. Six regions have adopted, adapted and are in the process of testing implementation of good practice.

These regions: Styria (Austria), Castilla & León (Spain), Regione Marche (Italy), Region of Western Macedonia (Greece), Rhineland-Palatinate (Germany) and Saaremaa (Estonia), identified their challenges and working with other regions connected them with good practice. Local workshops within their communities have also been held to disseminate the project and also to collect additional ideas and input.

HISTCAPE is currently in the middle of this Pilot Action process and the responsible partners are working on their implementations. Based on the results from the six pilot actions, the transferability of the good practice will be validated and a common methodology for good practice transfer will be defined. This methodology will help other regions to improve their cultural heritage policies by adopting good practice examples from HISTCAPE.

Rand Eppich,
Leader of the Policy Implementation Laboratory in HISTCAPE
Tecnalia Research & Innovation

Update on Pilot Actions

Revitalising historic centres of small towns and villages in Styria

Revitalising the historic centres of small towns and villages in Styria

Based on the good practice of other European regions, the region of Styria is developing a strategy for the revitalisation of historic centres of small towns and villages in Styria. Noticeable levels in the reduction of local amenities and the number of empty buildings in the town centres of the municipalities Wildon, Vorderberg, and Murau was the starting point for an in-depth investigation and analysis of this issue.

Within the HISTCAPE pilot action these three municipalities are developing instruments and measures to reduce these issues taking into account both the preservation and accessibility of local amenities and public services as well as the quality of public spaces.

Based on an extensive investigation, the municipalities have implemented different activities and approaches to guarantee the vibrancy and attractiveness of town centres.  Local people have the opportunity to actively participate in the process. The market feast which took place in Wildon was one successful step towards a new development of the historic centre of the town. Empty shops and houses have also found new temporary usage. The town of Vordernberg is also trying to realise the existing potential in the historic centre of the town.

The overall goal of the pilot action is to establish new instruments that bring together owners of vacant property and possible new users and to foster the implementation of innovative usage concepts


Good Practice

Monastery of Saint Martin of Tibães

Founded in the second half of the XI century, the Monastery of Saint Martin of Tibaes the former mother house of the Congregation of St. Benedict in Portugal and Brazil, is one of the best and most representative Baroque monastic spaces in Portugal. Near Braga, overlooking the river Cávado. Its feudal rights were granted by Henry of Burgundy, Count of Portugal, in 1110.

The monks were expelled by the Decree of Extinction in 1834, and the fortunes of the Monastery of Tibães changed. Later sold at auction, the Tibães Monastery and all its surrounding areas fell into decay and ruin.

Acquired by the Portuguese State in 1986, work began immediately to save the site and halt its decline. Between 1995 and 2010 it was the subject of an integrated program of recovery and rehabilitation that has allowed it to be restored to its former dignity and beauty.

Now an important center of historical and cultural dissemination, it is today one of the most emblematic examples of Portuguese art, architecture and religious history. The site now houses a restaurant and an inn, and a religious community has been re-established. This multifaceted tourist and cultural offer enhances the sustainable management of this listed monument in its rural location.

Policy Recommendations

Landscape Policy is discussed by planning specialists from Vidzeme Planning Region

Development of policy recommendations for landscape planning and it’s management

On 5th of September there was a seminar for local development planners within the project BECOSI, where the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, Riga City Council, Vidzeme Planning Region and representatives of local municipalities discussed benchmarking of contaminated sites, industrial heritage and polluted landscapes.

During the event HISTCAPE project expert Anda Eihenbauma introduced participants to the main goals and objectives of the HISTCAPE project and current activities being implemented by Vidzeme Planning Region.

A workshop also took place where development planners discussed landscape planning and its management in Latvia and Vidzeme Planning Region. This discussion was essential in gathering opinions and suggestions from local professionals to improve policy recommendations in this area.

The topics discussed by the specialists were:

  • The competence and support of Vidzeme Planning Region in the implementation of landscape policy.
  • The experience and competence of municipalities in the implementation of landscape policy.
  • Actions which municipalities can undertake to foster the implementation of landscape policy.

Partner News

HISTCAPE Workshop to be held during 'Demographic Week' - Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, 4 November 2013

Developing Our Homeland – Do Cultural Values Improve Rural areas?

On 4 November experts and interested citizens will meet in Mainz to discuss the effects of demograpic change in rural areas and to develop integrated solutions.

The workshop will focus on towns, municipalities and villages up to 20,000 inhabitants and their related cultural and natural landscapes. As studies underline, the active involvement of citizens plays a major role when coping with the effects of demographic change.

This workshop is intended for both decision makers and citizens. As the approach of HISTCAPE is integrative and cross-sectoral this workshop will give experts from the town and village a chance to speak about new usage possibilities, financial models and steering-instruments of the “town and village centre redevelopment“. Over and above interested citizens from Rhineland-Palatinates communities will present their own projects. According to the Motto „ Commitment instead of criticism“ the workshop aims for the definition of a new comprehension among citizens about cultural heritage.

The restoration and adaptation of the Bukaučiškiai Chapel for tourism

The HISTCAPE project has inspired the idea for the restoration and reuse of the Bukaučiškiai Chapel.

The district Mayor of Alytus said that the “development of cultural heritage and related landscape in rural areas is always a challenge - political support and strategic planning, as well as the transferal of experience from HISTCAPE partners – has inspired new initiatives”.

The purpose of the LEADER project is the restoration of the Chapel and its adaptation to public needs, ensuring sustainable tourism development in the rural area, as well as the preservation of a cultural heritage asset.

The project is financed by Lithuanian Rural Development Program for 2007-2013. It is planned to restore the floor, walls, ceiling, windows, doors and electrical installations as well as strengthen the stairs, foundations and clean the basement. The project will also purchase a generator, benches and confessional. The project budget is €76,430.

7-10 November 2013

Paris, France, International Heritage Show 2013 edition. The theme of the 19th Salon is "Heritage and territories".

The International Heritage Show brings together all sectors that are part of the life-cycle of heritage preservation and conservation, and attracting 320 exhibitors from 13 countries and over 22500 visitors and buyers. Encounters, demonstrations and conferences will be devoted to the local, national and international heritage, and the heritage of the cultural routes adopted in different countries.

18-20 November 2013

Milan Italy International Conference “Built Heritage 2013 - Monitoring Conservation Management"

The conference is being held as part of the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Politecnico di Milano, Centre for the Conservation and Promotion of Cultural Heritage. This conference brings together university researchers, professionals and policy makers to illustrate and discuss the most pressing issues concerning the conservation of archaeological, architectural and urban landscapes.

5 December 2013

Brussels, Belgium; European Heritage Policy Conference "Cultural Heritage for Europe, Europe for Cultural Heritage"

As part of its 50th anniversary year Europa Nostra is organising a European Policy Conference as a contribution to the development of the EU Strategy for Cultural Heritage. Heritage Europe are participating in this conference.

HISTCAPE Open Conferences - 2014

Braga, Portugal • 25th March 2014

Styria, Austria • w/c 19th May 2014

Further details of all our conferences can be found on the HISTCAPE website.

Related Projects

PERHT –this project comes under the LIFE + 2011programme “Environmental Policy and Governance”. Aimed at small to medium sized historic towns it aims to look at issues related to transport (people and goods) and mobility in their historic urban centres.

Click here for the project outline

HERMAN PROJECT - Management of Cultural Heritage in Central Europe

The Official HERMAN project brochure with information on the project's structure, expected outputs and partners is now online.

KLOSTERLAND – “Land of Monasteries” 

Klosterland is a network of German-Polish Monasteries that aims to develop a regional cultural-touristic structure between the participants of the network as well as the implementation of a vivid programme that invites people to visit the “Klosterland”, its historic buildings and cultural-touristic events.

EUROCLIO, the European Association of History Educators

Established in 1993, EUROCLIO represents more than 25,000 history and citizenship educators. EUROCLIO believes that the past does not stop at national borders and that history education has a significant impact on how people look at the world around them. 

For the full story read more here

EFFESUS is a research project investigating the energy efficiency of European historic urban districts and developing technologies and systems for its improvement. The term “historic urban district” in the context of EFFESUS, is defined as a significant grouping of “old” buildings built before 1945 and representative of the period of their construction or history, not necessarily protected by heritage legislation. EFFESUS is funded by the European Commission under its Seventh Framework Programme.

Rural areas in central Europe are mainly characterised by challenges such as: demographic & peripheral issues, depopulation and underdevelopment. In rural regions cultural heritage is an important part of regional development, especially the cultural economy, which can be the main protagonist in economic and social development. Local churches and sacral monuments offer great potential, however, no regional and/or transnational strategies exist for their preservation. Read more...