In 1987, the Santiago de Compostela Declaration laid the foundations for the first Council of Europe Cultural Route, highlighting the importance of our rich, colourful and diverse European identities. Today, the Council of Europe Enlarged Partial Agreement (EPA) on Cultural Routes oversees 29 routes connecting culture and heritage across Europe.
Cultural Routes are powerful tools for promoting and preserving these shared and diverse cultural identities.
They are a model for grass-roots cultural co-operation, providing important lessons about identity and citizenship through a participative experience of culture. From the European Route of Megalithic Culture with its monuments built as long as 6 000 years ago, to the ATRIUM route of Architecture of Totalitarian Regimes, the routes contain elements of our past which help us to understand the present and to approach the future with confidence.
The Cultural Routes also stimulate thematic cultural tourism in lesserknown parts of the continent, helping to develop economic and social stability in Europe.
This first ever step-by-step guide to the design and management of Council of Europe Cultural Routes will be an essential reference for route managers, project developers, students and researchers in cultural tourism and related subjects.
It addresses aspects ranging from the Council of Europe's conventions to co-creation, fund-raising and governance, and it explores a Cultural Route model that has evolved into an exemplary system for sustainable, transnational co-operation and that has proved to be a successful road map for socio-economic development, cultural heritage promotion and intergenerational communication.
The Council of Europe EPA on Cultural Routes is the result of our successful co-operation with the Luxembourg Ministry of Culture and the European Union.
Increasingly, other organisations, such as the United Nations World Tourism Organization, are joining this project.
This handbook was funded by the third European Commission/Council of Europe Joint Programme on Cultural Routes.