Study Visits

Report from the 9th Study Visit, Styria, Austria, 21 and 22 June 2014

(Mautem,Wildon, Erzberg Mountain and Nature Park Sout Styrian Wineland) 

A Study Visit was organised as part of the 9th HISTCAPE partner meeting on 21 and 22 May 2014 and showed good practice examples of upper and southern Styria in Austria. The main objectives of the Study Visit were to investigate the transformation of the former densely populated industrial region of upper Styria into a leisure, tourism and recreation area as well as to provide insights into the reactivation and reutilization of vacant estates in town centres. The excursion furthermore was designed to demonstrate potential solutions to secure vivid towns and villages in rural areas that not only focus on public and economic facilities but also on housing and cultural needs.

The project partners visited the municipalities Mautern and Wildon as well as the Erzberg Mountain, a historical industrial site and good practice example for industrial heritage preservation. Furthermore, the good practice to preserve traditional building culture was investigated in the nature park South Styrian Wineland. This gave the participants the opportunity to further broaden their knowledge of rural renewal and regional development.

Full report on the Study Visit is available here.

Report from the 8th Study Visit, Nort Portugal, Portugal, 27th 2014

Vale da Varosa

The study visit focused on the valley of the Varosa River where HISTCAPE partners were able to visit the monumental heritage of the ¨Vale do Varosa¨ project. This project integrates many different aspects of cultural heritage conservation and serves as an example for the surrounding territory, It is under the management of the Northern Portugal Regional Directorate for Culture and is located in an rural area that aims to safeguarding both the cultural heritage and its setting in the landscape. This integrated approach ensures the existence of a living rural landscape.

The assets integrating into the "Vale do Varosa" project include the Monastery of St. John Tarouca and Monastery of Santa Maria Salzedas two Cistercian monasteries. Interestingly these two monasteries of the Cistercian order closer to each other than any other in Europe.


Report from the 7th Study Visit, Valladolid, Spain, 24 October 2013

Castilla y León region

It was clear for us the study visit have given us the opportunity to deepen in the exchange of experiences and to have a best knowledge in terms of the objectives of the project. It was necessary to show the characteristics of the region to understand the strategy we follow, the problems and the needs we have, that had already been explained along the project in general and in particular in our regional policy recommendations document and pilot plan. Furthermore, we wanted to link the information provided in the good practices and completed the day before in the Open Conference with the places we were going to visit. 

Given the nature of our region, such as low population density and rich heritage, we find a small number of historic heritage value but sparsely populated activity and management capacity.

For all explained above, the route followed was:

  • Departure from Valladolid to León.
  • First stop. Study Visit to the project ‘THE DREAM OF LIGHT’ in the Cathedral of León.
  • Departure to the Mining valley of Sabero. 
  • Second stop. Study visit to the Museum of Mining and Metallurgy of Castile and Leon, in Sabero and surroundings.
  • Return to Valladolid.

Full report on the 7th Study Visit is available here.

Report from the 6th Study Visit, Marche Region, Italy, 12 Sept 2013

Municipalities of Arcevia & Urbino

The Study Visit started in Arcevia’s Castles in the air (Palazzo, San Pietro, Loretello, Nidastore) and finished in Urbino. The choice of the itinerary for the visit (main) intended to achieve two objectives:

1) Show some significant characteristics of the study area on which conduct the Pilot Action.

2) Visit Urbino, a Renaissance capital, located in a rural area and closely linked to its landscape, Unesco World Heritage Site at the time and one of the candidate cities for the European Capital of Culture 2019.

Moreover the stay in the spread hotel in the Arcevia country, which reused the historic rural architecture to encourage tourism and hospitality in rural areas, joined the same spirit of the study visit. One of the main aims of the visit was to explore the synergy between landscape and development, in terms of sustainability and strengthening of local communities, not only in the theoretical and design, but also through the testimony of regional experiences and some entrepreneurial experience also international.

Full report on the 6th Study Visit is available here.


Report from the 5th Study Visit

Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

(Upper Middle Rhine Valley – Historic towns of Boppard and Oberwesel, Marksburg at Braubach)

About 60 towns and municipalities in both states Rhineland-Palatinate and Hessen are connected with each other on 67 kilometers along the river Rhine to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Upper Middle Rhine Valley. 170.000 people are living in this region. Many historical important towns have a size of population below 20.000 - a size that is in the focus of HISTCAPE. The state government of Rhineland Palatinate has developed a detailed Masterplan in cooperation with all towns and municipalities, the administration union UNESCO World Heritage Upper Middle Rhine Valley, and a vast amount of stakeholders and citizens. For the first time since the Upper Middle Rhine Valley was recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site there is a cross-state overall strategy for the Upper Middle Rhine Valley as a cooperation between Rhineland-Palatinate and Hessen. The Masterplan Upper Middle Rhine Valley was identified as an example of Good Practice from Rhineland-Palatinate within the project HISTCAPE.

The Study Visit lead the HISTCAPE Partners through the Upper Middle Rhine Valley along numerous castles, which the Middle Rhine Valley is famous for all over the world. The medieval roman shaped towns Boppard and Oberwesel are situated at the left bank of the Rhine. The HISTCAPE team also visited the Marksburg near Braubach, the last undestroyed hill castle at the Middle Rhine which is situated at the right bank of the Rhine. Just like the International Conference at the Fortress Ehrenbreitstein in Koblenz and the evening lecture of the multiple awarded architect Max Dudler about the Topic „Further construction” in historical building structure, also the Study Visits of the UNESCO World Heritage Upper Middle Rhine Valley have proven themselves to be an ideal way to deepen cooperation and exchange and to better understand and classify the examples of Good Practice.

Report Study Visit 5 June 2013


Report from the 4th Study Visit

Alytus District, Lithuania

(St. Mary’s Accepting to the Heaven Church in Simnas, Žuvintas Biosphere Reserve, Pivašiūnai Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Assumption into Heaven)

During the 4th Study visit partners visited three cultural heritage sites.  Firstly St. Mary’s Accepting to the Heaven Church in Simnas town. Partners were welcomed by the church’s priest and informed that the church was built in 1520. It is the only renaissance basilica church incorporating a cross layout in Lithuania. Simnas was found near the lakes of Simnas and Giluitis in XVI century and its historical downtown is listed as an urban heritage monument, showing a successful example of the restoration of cultural heritage.

The second stop was to the Žuvintas Biosphere Reserve. This is the first site in Lithuania recognized under UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme and has been added to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR). The EU funded project is a main instrument for innovative and added value activities. Žuvintas Strict Nature Reserve was enrolled into the International list of Designated Wetlands and Shallow Waters of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) in 1993. Žuvintas Biosphere Reserve gained the status of Important Bird Area (IBA) and Site of Community Importance (SAC) in compliance with the established criteria for European conservation territories of natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora in 2004. It was shown as the example for protection rural landscape.

The last study visit was to the PivaÅ¡iÅ«nai Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Assumption into Heaven. It is a tribute to classicist wooden religious architecture in Lithuania. Its simple yet graceful design is distinctive yet reminiscent of the Vilnius Cathedral.  The church’s floor plan is a Latin cross with a transept equal in width to that of the naves. Rows of elegant columns separate the three naves, of which the central nave is much wider than the others. The façade boasts a four-column portico and a deep-set triangular gable with an oval-shaped window. Rays of light depicted all around the window seem to symbolize the Eye of Divine Providence. The side walls feature a contrast between the horizontal boards and broad pillars. It is a successful example of renovation and maintenance of a wooden culture heritage monument and is a key feature in the preservation of cultural heritage in the region.

For further information on St Mary's Church in Simnas

For further information on Zuvintas Biosphere Reserve (in Lithuanian)

For further information on Pivasiunai Church - Pilgrim Route


Report from the 3rd Study Visit, Nympheo, Region of Western

Macedonia, 8 November 2012

(Nikeios School, Silversmiths Museum, Church of St Nicholas, ARCTUROS Organisation, Bear Sanctuary, Brown Bear Information Centre)

The 3rd Study Visit of the project was dedicated to the Good Practice of Nympheo, a small historic village in the mountains of Western Macedonia.  The project team visited one of the most important buildings, Nikeios School, which was built in 1927.  The school functioned as a model school by the end of the 1970s and today operates as a conference centre for the University of Western Macedonia and the Community.

One of the major mansions of Nympheo that has been transformed is the Chrysiko's home of Neveskas which was turned into a Silversmiths Museum and houses collections of rare silver tools, elaborate jewellery and objects, manuscripts of the Macedonian Struggle, sixty portraits of prominent Greeks, Vlachs and others, national Benefactors and Fighters. 

The Church of St Nicolas is an extremely important post-Byzantium memorial piece of art.  The temple was built replacing the old church, which had been destroyed in 1867, funded by a banker called Mr Michas Triplis.  Also the Brown Bear Information Centre was created to attract additional visitors to Nympheo.

For further information on ARCTUROS Organisation, Bear Sanctuary

The full report is available here


Report from the 2nd Study Visit, Saaremaa, Estonia, 27 June 2012

Muhu Island and Saare County

(Koguva Village, Kuressaare Bishop Castle, Kaali Visitor Centre and Angla Cultural Heritage Centre)

In the 2nd Study Visit the project team visited several cultural heritage sites to see Good Practice from Saaremaa and to get an insight into the local reality of the island.  On Muhu Island (a sibling island of Saaremaa) there is the Koguva Village with local heritage assets and at the Koguva Harbour the re-construction of an old vessell called an "Uisk" is in progress. The Kuressaare Bishop Castle is one of the most important cultural heritage assets of Saaremaa and there are several activities taking place in and around the castle today.  Additionally, a special Visitor Centre was created in Kaali, where the Meteorite and Dolostone museum presents the history of Kaali Village with a collection of meteorite deposits, limestone and dolomite.  The Cultural Heritage Centre of Angla Windmill Park was installed to learn traditional handicraft skills, Estonian national culture and to enable the tasting of rye bread made in Angla.

For further information on Koguva Village

For further information on Kuressaare Bishop Castle

The full report is available here


Report from the 1st Study Visit, Vidzeme, Latvia, 26 June 2012 

Oreli Manor and Koni Mill

Project participants visited Oleri Manor, an architectural complex next to the Seda wetlands, which was selected as an excellent example of how local people can manage culture heritage preservation. Oleri manor is an important cultural heritage asset in the Vidzeme region and part of the property is registered in the state-protected cultural heritage list.  Koni Mill is known for its crop grinding and yarn knitting.  Along with the mill, there is a guest house.  Koni Mill promotes Latvian cultural values and traditions, by organizing traditional events.

For further information on Oleri Manor

For further information on Koni Mill

The full report is available here