More than revealing history: archaeology, tourism, and urban development

Archaeological excavations do not necessarily adhere to the glamorous nimbus, whether they are based on epochs (e.g. Roman times or the Middle Ages), regions (e.g. Middle East), or themes (such as industrial archaeology). Most spectacular finds sometimes reach wider public attention, and even then they usually require popular scientific preparation and interpretation in order to be understood in their historical relevance.

However, the European project ARCHEODANUBE proves that archaeology can play a decisive role when it comes to the interaction between different fields and topics: Here archaeology, cultural tourism, and urban development are brought together in examples from nine European cities and regions. Numerous instruments have been created to support the establishment and management of archaeological parks.

Archaeology is an increasingly important topic in integrated urban development and cultural tourism, but so far, especially in large cities, where “the city under the city” is becoming more and more interested in citizens as well as visitors. Archaeological relics become part of reconstruction and new construction measures and experience a staging as a “window into the past”. In public spaces, new paths, archaeological paths, special plastered pavements, and information boards point to the archaeological heritage.

On the basis of the archaeological inventory, inner cities can thus be developed in a planning and design sense and can be preserved in terms of location and cityscapes. An integrated approach and joint action involving citizens’ interests are crucial. The initial question in ARCHEODANUBE was how archaeological sites in the inner-city area of small to medium-sized cities can be included in urban development and tourism in such a way that they can become a value-added factor. The value added did not only relate to economic factors, but should also take into account cultural, social, future planning, and education aspects and involve citizenship.  For this purpose, various instruments have been developed that build on each other, complement each other meaningfully and keep an eye on implementation aspects.

Available are now

For further reading

ARCHEODANUBE – Archaeological Park in urban areas as a tool for Local Sustainable Development:

The project’s homepage, supported by the European Interreg Danube Programme, offers free access and download options for all mentioned instruments as well as other materials.

Information about ARCHEODANUBE in German can be found on the website of the only German partner: The Association “Culture and Work” contributed to the project’s aspects in cultural tourism and in processes of civic participation.

The ArcheoTales are available for download for Apple and Android devices: In the Apple AppStore, the app can be found here:; in the Google PlayStore here:  There is also a video via the app:

Federal Institute for Building, Urban and Spatial Research on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development. 2014. Urban archaeology and urban development in World Heritage.

The publication documents contributions from a conference of the same name of the investment programme National UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which took place in Lübeck in 2012. Although it refers mainly to metropolitan conditions, some of the described requirements and solutions can also be transferred to small cities that were the target group of the ARCHEODANUBE project.

(Authoress: Karin Drda-Kühn)

Picture credit: Pixabay CC

Cultural Tourism: Bridge between Christianity and Islam

At first glance, the cover picture of this article seems to show a common scene from cultural tourism: Visitors are looking at the interior of a church. It could indeed be such a scene, since in the last Flash Eurobarometer survey on “Europeans’ preferences towards tourism”, just over a quarter (26%) of those questioned cited culture with a clear link to visiting religious sites as a reason for going on holiday[1]. But it is not quite so. This image has a slightly different history:

It was taken on a foggy and rainy evening at the end of November 2019 in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana. Christmas decorations were already glittering in the shops, but the Christmas market on the central Prešernov trg was not yet open, and the giant Christmas fir had not yet lit up. Brightly lit, however, was the entrance to the Church of the Annunciation of the Franciscan monastery, whose striking 19th-century façade faces the square.

From the church there was music of the evening mass, and the atmosphere had a Christmassy, solemn feel, carried outside by the approaching darkness and the beginning silence of the square. This may have prompted a group of four young people to climb the steps to the church portal and enter. Obviously they were visitors to the city, for they had strolled along the banks of the Ljubljanica River and had previously admired the view of the illuminated castle at length.

The three young women of the group were veiled with the Hidschāb, also their partly floor-length clothes allowed the conclusion that they were Muslim women.  They stood for a long time behind the last bench of the church room, looked at the frescoes extensively and listened without doubt concentrated to the church music. They respected the evening mass and refrained from walking around inside the church – by no means a matter of course in churches at the time of services and masses, one may now believe common signs on church portals. When they turned to walk, one could see from their faces and smiles that they had obviously enjoyed the music and artistic design of the church interior.

Why is this incident found in a cultural tourism blog? Because it shows how cultural experiences can overcome religious boundaries and allow experiences that bring people together.  The church space allowed the visitors a brief participation in a culture that was almost certainly not their own. It is very likely that a positive memory of an atmosphere of warm light, Christian church music and colourful frescoes will stick – as a peace-making souvenir that lasts.

[1] “Preferences of Europeans towards tourism”, Flash Eurobarometer 432, published March 2016 (based on data from 2015)

#EuropeForCulture : EUROPETOUR awarded with the prestigious EYCH European Year of Cultural Heritage Label

The European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 (EYCH) label is a label promoting the slogan: “Our Heritage: Where Past meets the Future”, including the hashtag #EuropeForCulture. 

The EUROPETOUR project has successfully met all the award criteria of the EYCH label. The ground for the decision is that the initiative contributes to the achievement of one or more of the objectives of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, as endorsed by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU in Article 2 of the legal decision calling for the EYCH.

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Product development & Social Media Marketing for cultural tourism in rural areas: Learning from Waldviertel, Lower Austria.

Lots of cultural tourism learning, excellence in Social Media management, and many interesting tips and learning curves on how to develop (and maintain) networked offers in rural cultural tourism: Those were the main outcomes from the second to last #EUROPETOUR meeting that took place during the month of June 2018 in Geras, Waldviertel, Lower Austria.

Next to all study visits in the rural area of the Upper Waldviertel, which is located about 1,5 hours away from Vienna, the main focus has been on finishing off details to the Training Modules, as well as the Social Media Guidelines for Cultural Tourism in rural areas.

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Learning from the German-Polish “Klosterland” network: A way forward for networked offers in cultural tourism in rural areas.

2018 highlights the final round of meetings for the EUROPETOUR partnership, starting with an experience of the German-Polish “Klosterland” network and our reception near the town of Mysliborz, hosted by Izabela Matusiak, of the community of Mysliborz, and Stefan Beier, head of the board of the transnational monastery network:

Are you, too, curious about networking across borders in cultural tourism in rural areas? Then read on, and learn more about what we found during our meeting in Poland and Germany.

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ITB Berlin 2018: Come & Meet the EUROPETOUR team!

Yes, it’s THIS time of the year again: Thousands of trade visitors are gathering to join the world’s largest travel trade show ITB Berlin, which is taking place from 6-11 March, 2018. The EUROPETOUR team, represented by Karin Drda-Kühn (Association Culture & Work), Elena & Hermann Paschinger (Kreativ Reisen Österreich), as well as Stefan Beier (Klosterland), wish to welcome you there.

Find out more about when and how to meet us.

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Cultural Tourism Entrepreneurship & Social Media Marketing: EUROPETOUR meets again in Marche, Italy

During 12-15 September, 2017, the final meeting of the EUROPETOUR partnership for the year 2017 will take place in and around the city of Ancona, Marche region, north-western Italy. The topics for discussion are manifold, focusing on the final elaboration of the EUROPETOUR training modules, as well as further work on the Social Media Guidelines for cultural tourism in rural areas.

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Training Modules for Cultural Tourism in Rural Areas: A Short Status Quo Update from Cantabria

During the last meeting of the EUROPETOUR team hosted by our project partner Pilar Bahamonde in Potes / Cantabria, we not only had the honour (and tasty pleasure!) of learning more about the actual Cantabrian cultural tourism products, services, and their marketing for cultural, religious heritage enthusiasts, and food lovers (see our latest blog post here), but also made good progress on the development of our training modules for cultural tourism stakeholders.

These modules are now further developed & translated into seven European languages, available for download soon.

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Product Development for Cultural Tourism in Cantabria

As part of the EUROPETOUR meeting in Potes, Cantabria taking place from 7-11 June, 2017, Cantabrian experiences for cultural tourism in rural areas included three types of cultural tourism products, which were very well selected by our partner Pilar Bahamonde of SRECD in Spain. The aim was to showcase, and highlight, the quality of Cantabrian culinary products on the one hand, as well as emphasising the strong links to Cantabrian culture and cultural tourism on the other hand.

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The EUROPETOUR partnership is set to meet again in Potes, Cantabria, Spain

The town of Potes, located along the pilgrimage route of the “Camino Lebaniégo” in Cantabria, is a cultural tourism destination known for its importance as an ancient site of pilgrimage. For the second time in 2017, our partners will gather from all over Europe, Elena Paschinger of partner Kreativ Reisen Österreich even covering the first four days ahead of the meeting as a true pilgrim on the Camino del Norte – self-awareness life!

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Veliko Tarnovo: A hotbed for cultural tourism development in Bulgaria

For the first time in 2017, the EUROPETOUR partnership has again gathered in the city of Veliko Tarnovo, north central Bulgaria. Hosted in conjunction with the city’s International Cultural Tourism Fair, as well as our Bulgarian partner’s INI-Novation first multiplier event, the meeting proved to be very successful indeed, putting the final touches to the collection of training modules, written as a result of the EUROPETOUR survey conducted in 2016.

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First Bulgarian Multiplier Event & Cultural Tourism Conference in Veliko Tarnovo

Following a successful networking event at ITB Berlin this year, the EUROPETOUR family is proud to meet again in Bulgaria in early April 2017. The purpose of this meeting is to highlight and discuss progress made on the EUROPETOUR training modules for stakeholders in cultural tourism, including those attending from the Bulgarian region of Veliko Tarnovo.

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EUROPETOUR Project Meeting in Vicenza, Italy

For the third time in 2016, the EUROPETOUR team has gathered in the town of Vicenza, Italy. The aim has been to discuss the content, structure and writing style of the training modules for stakeholders in cultural tourism development, and to use the conference “Tourists, Travellers & Pilgrims” of EUROPETOUR partner “Future for Religious Heritage” for dissemination purposes about the goals & aims of EUROPETOUR.

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(c) FRH / Photographer Luca Baraldi

Join the FRH Tourism, Pilgrimage & Religious Heritage Conference in Italy!

The European Network “Future for Religious Heritage” (FRH), a strong networking partner within the EUROPETOUR project, will have their Biennial Conference from 9-11 November 2016 in Vicenza, Italy. Once again this year, it will bring together those committed to save and promote religious heritage across Europe and beyond. Several topics are dedicated to religious heritage tourism, which is an important part of cultural tourism.

The conference “Tourists, Travellers and Pilgrims: Encountering Religious Heritage in Today’s Europe” will examine pilgrimage in both its traditional and modern sense. As such, it will likewise be an example of how to involve and engage people in religious heritage.

Registration is now open and you are welcome to join.

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From Suceava to Vicenza: Register now for the next EUROPETOUR meeting at the FRH Conference

It has been a tremendously successful EUROPETOUR meeting in Suceava, Romania this past summer. From participating in a traditional dance with the locals, to marvelling at the skilled craftspeople of the Bucovina area, to being literally taken away & left breathless in front of the UNESCO World Heritage painted outdoor fresco churches: EUROPETOUR is European cultural tourism development at its best. To this end, the entire project team is working hard to develop multilingual training modules for stakeholders in cultural heritage tourism across Europe, based on the outcome of the EUROPETOUR survey.

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EUROPETOUR Project Meeting in Suceava, Romania

Somewhere in the north part of Romania, the EUROPETOUR project team is set to discover a small piece of heaven: Bucovina. Famous for its countless churches and monasteries, the north-eastern parts of Romania are center stage to our vision of developing training modules for stakeholders in cultural tourism management across Europe. To do so, we will be visiting the famous local Dragomirna & Moldovita monasteries, among others.
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The Results of our Country Analysis & Training Needs for Cultural Tourism in Rural Areas are now published!

At the beginning of 2016, the EUROPETOUR team has successfully conducted the first-ever, European cultural tourism survey on qualification needs of stakeholders in rural cultural tourism among its members and networking partners from Bulgaria, Belgium, Romania, Italy, Spain, Poland, Germany and Austria. During our past meeting in the Lower Austrian Mostviertel destination, we have discussed and presented all relevant conclusions from the EUROPETOUR survey. These results are now published in a report, available for download here.
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Survey Results from our 2nd EuropeTour Meeting in Waidhofen

Our EuropeTour experts from Spain, Italy, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Belgium, Germany & Austria have once again gathered in order to discuss results from our previously conducted EuropeTour survey so as to establish training modules for stakeholders in cultural tourism. EuropeTour partner Future for Religious Heritage (FRH) conducted the survey and analysed the results with country specific input of all partners and their respective regions.

The principal aim of the EuropeTour survey has been to disclose the training needs of stakeholders in cultural tourism across Europe. The survey has been conducted neither exhaustively nor scientifically, but rather as a bottom-up, practical approach highlighting the most relevant issues currently being discussed in rural cultural tourism development. Continue reading

The EUROPETOUR Project Team meets again in Mostviertel

The last days of April will again be home to the international gathering of all EUROPETOUR partners, hosted by our project partner E-C-C (“Education – Culture – Citizenship”) in the Mostviertel destination in Lower Austria. The Mostviertel has been chosen for its long-standing history of culture and tradition that forms the basis of modern-day rural cultural tourism. Our goal this time is to discuss the results of the EUROPETOUR survey, followed by a proposed analysis of the qualification gaps of local actors for cultural tourism.
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Karin Drda-Kühn, EUROPETOUR project leader, welcomes participants of last year's press conference at the ITB Berlin.

The EUROPETOUR team celebrates growing interest in cultural tourism at ITB Berlin

Over the past couple of months, the EUROPETOUR team has been working hard on getting the first results of our international cultural tourism country analysis under way, which are due to be published shortly in the lead-up to our next project meeting in Waidhofen, Austria. Meanwhile, ITB Berlin provided us with another chance to meet & greet international media representatives and trade visitors at the world’s largest travel trade show in March 2016. Continue reading