Project "Heart of Istria: Heritage and arts of Istria" is co-financed trough initiative INTERREG IIIA Neighbourhood Programme Slovenia-Hungary-Croatia 2004/2006. INTERREG is the widest Community initiative, financed from European Regional Development Fund. The goal if the initiative is to increase economic and social cohesion trough promotion of cross-border cooperation balancing the development of the whole territory of the Community (EU and bordering regions).
Project "Heart of Istria" has been conceived three years ago with the idea to reveal the hidden cultural heritage of Istria, and not in any manner. The chosen method is the one that joins cross-border cooperation of institutions, scientists, cultural and tourism workers, securing at the same time preservation and revitalization of cultural heritage, including its visibility.
Project has been implemented in four integrated components: efficient project management (home-news), paths of cultural heritage trough urban and rural areas of Istria, paths of architectural and archeological heritage of Istria, and dissemination, promotion and verification of project results.
Target groups managed by the project are: local population, tourists, employees of scientific, educational and tourist institutions.
Greatest value and, at the same time, biggest challenge of the project was cooperation of partners institutions, as well as scientists and institutions involved in the project. It is such cooperation where cross-border Slovenian-Croatian paths were created, and latter published in promotional booklets. These paths are composed of less promoted, but still important destinations of cultural tourists, presenting a growing segment of tourism market. This paths are:
Paths of castles and cultural landscapes including Istrian castles and fortified towns;
Paths of sacral arts, including Istrian churches with frescoes;
Path of tradition and heritage of Istrian towns including publication of medieval statutes;
Development of Istrian towns from perspective of urban planning involving architectural heritage of Istrian towns emphasizing Venetian architectural heritage;
Archeologic parks of Istria, including creation of itineraries trough archeological parks and path of ancient gods, reflecting the story of religious cults of ancient population of Istria.
Publications describing aforementioned paths are composed of four brochures in four languages each: Croatian, Italian, English and Slovenian, describing in detail four subjects: Istrian frescoes, Istrian castles, Istrian archelogical parks – Path of Gods and Istrian architectural heritage of Venetian times. Brochures are an extract from scientific and tourist research, synergetic effects of experts’ cooperation from both sides of the border. Each brochure is thematically followed by a leaflet (on 5 languages) with a map of localities connected by numbers to photographs of localities described in the brochure, a DVD material, i.e. promotional movie with 4 mentioned topics. Brochures are being distributed to institutions in tourism industry and culture, and due to its educational impact, a part of the run has been distributed to libraries and schools throughout towns and municipalities (upon inquiry on telephone 052 211 416).
Working on brochures, project team continuously implemented scientific research, resulting in
on four mentioned topics, being a base for texts in brochures, and these articles will later on be published in Annales, Slovenian partner’s scientific publication.
Fifth in a row, Path of tradition and heritage of Istrian towns includes publication of statues of medieval towns of Izola and Piran, by Slovenian partner. Moreover, Slovenian partners have published book on Pietra Pelosa, and Dance macabre in Istrian frescoes. During the project, a research on cultural tourism in Istria was conducted.
Four workshops have been organized during the project: two in Koper an Poreč, organized by slovenian partners (Turism offer and its carriers in Istria – Poreč, Tourism offer and its carriers in Istria – Koper) and two by croatian partner (Istrian identity and rural architecture, and Beram trough past – Colorful trail of Istrian frescoes). Moreover, Days of Architecture in Piran have been organized, as well as experts’ excursions trough localities of cultural heritage, in organization of Slovenian partner. Croatian partner has implemented geodesic and architectural sondation of Kožljak castle, while two scientific articles are under preparation (cultural heritage and promotion of cultural heritage).