By Jelena Jovanovic
Belgrade, Sept. 12 2009 ( Serbia Today) - European Heritage Days will be held in Belgrade from September 11th to September 21st. This year’s topic is - Heritage as an impulse for intercultural dialog. Annual manifestation, organized every September in many European countries has been organized in Belgrade since 2002.
The main goal of European Heritage Days is to present cultural heritage of the Old continent and diversity of cultures, traditions and customs. Manifestation consists of various, free programs- presentations of many European cultural institutions, museums, buildings, city quarters, areas under the state protection etc. In Belgrade, various programs are organized in various locations- in the whole city and in its suburbs.
“This year we have 70 programs and there is a great interest for all of them. The most interesting might be all guiding tours, literary tours through Belgrade (following the traces of famous Serbian writers who lived and worked in Belgrade), visiting Royal Courts in Dedinje… There are some new programs every year. The concept is the same – every September we present our cultural heritage as all other European cities. All programs are free and for most of them people should apply one or two weeks in advance”, Dejan Veselinov, Head of Public Relations Department in Belgrade Tourist Organization told Serbia Today.
The European Heritage Days originated in Granada (Spain) on October 3rd, in 1985, during the 2nd Council of Europe Conference of European Ministers responsible for Architectural Heritage. On this occasion, the French Minister of Culture suggested extending to a European level the “Monuments’ Open Doors” initiative launched in France in 1984. Several European countries, such as The Netherlands, Luxemburg, Malta, Belgium, the United Kingdom (Scotland) and Sweden soon set up similar events.
In 1991, the Council of Europe officially launched the European Heritage Days with the support of the European Commission. In 1999, this initiative became a joint action of the Council of Europe and the European Commission. Throughout Europe, during the weekends of September, the European Heritage Days open the doors of numerous monuments and sites, many of them usually closed to the public, allowing Europe’s citizens to enjoy and learn about their shared cultural heritage and encouraging them to become actively involved in the safeguard and enhancement of this heritage for present and future generations.
As it is written , the aims of the European Heritage Days are : to raise the awareness of European citizens to the richness and cultural diversity of Europe; create a climate in which the appreciation of the rich mosaic of European cultures is stimulated; counter racism and xenophobia and encourage greater tolerance in Europe and beyond the national borders; inform the public and the political authorities about the need to protect cultural heritage against new threats and to invite Europe to respond to the social, political and economic challenges it faces.
This September, residents of Belgrade will be able to see interiors of some important city buildings, private houses that are under the state protection( important in the history for some reasons) , legates, museums, various cultural institutions, churches, coffee houses where prominent citizens and its guests used to come ... Some interesting programs this year are – guided tours: “Dositej in Belgrade” ( tour that presents Belgrade spots marked in life path of Dositej Obradovic, writer and prominent Serbian educator from 18. century), “Skadarlija tour” (guiding tour through the oldest and most popular bohemian quarter in Belgrade, “Russian Architects in Belgrade” tour (presentation of important buildings in the city center, built in the first half of XX century), “Botanical Garden tour” guidance through beautiful green oasis in the center of Belgrade, with many rare, old and protected trees and plants .... All tours are guided by experts and applying in advance is necessary. (More info and whole program can be found in www.tos.org.rs )
Dejan Veselinov from TOS emphasized in the conversation about approaching European Heritage Days , that this manifestation was very significant for Belgrade and promotion of its cultural and tourist offer.
European Heritage days in Belgrade and other towns in Serbia are organized this year under the patronage of Secretariat for Economy of Belgrade City Administration. The main media sponsor is Studio B.