November, 2015

General Assembly and annual conference of the MedCities, Dubrovnik

The city of Dubrovnik hosted the General Assembly and the annual conference of the MedCities -network of Mediterranean cities, 10 – 11 November 2015. The two-day-event is organized in the collaboration with the Croatian Association of Historic Towns (HUPG) and it united the mayors, deputy mayors and representatives of the city-members such as Barcelona, Tanger, Tunis, Tripoli, Malaga, as well as political representatives of the surrounding cities such as Kotor, Mostar, Sarajevo, Kaštela, Solin, Split together with the international experts in urbanism and international institutions.

The international seminar « Historic cities: Heritage, innovation and social cohesion » is addressed to the representatives of local administrations in the Mediterranean region and the Adriatic and is part of the MedCities Annual Conference 2015.

MedCities is willing to provide tools to its members and others policymakers and experts interested in the subject in order to achieve sustainable urban development and promote policies and practices that are adequate to the needs of citizens. Taking into consideration the importance of the historic centres of the cities members of MedCities and the current challenges that the historic centres represent for the city, in terms of urban planning, economic development, preservation of heritage, quality of life and social cohesion, this seminar focuses on generating debate and exchanging experiences and good practices from all shores of the Mediterranean basin.

The aim is to present innovative interventions in the historic centres of the region regarding cross-cutting issues and discuss the challenges and risks faced by the municipalities.

The issues discussed were:

  • Economic activities, with special emphasis on those linked to tourism,
  • Cultural and heritage activities;
  • Social cohesion and improvement of quality of life in these areas;
  • Innovation in the development and management of historic centres: urban regeneration projects and the provision of public services, including new technologies (Smart Historic Cities)

The General Assembly took place on Wednesday 11 November, more than 30 cities of the North and South shores of the Mediterranean represented by mayors and elected officials will participate. In addition, the General Secretariat will present the 25th MedCities anniversary campaign that will be implemented during the year 2016.

The event was opened with the interventions of Andro Vlahušić, mayor of  Dubrovnik, Mohamed Idaomar, MedCities president and mayor of  Tetuan and Alfred Bosch, vice-President of the Barcelona Metropolitan Area, which hosts the General Secretariat of MedCities.



October, 2015

Study visit: system of protection and presentation of cultural heritage in Languedoc-Roussillon, France

Study visit to the French region of Languedoc-Roussillon (04.-10.11.15.) was organized by the Croatian Association of Historic Towns HUPG, in collaboration with the French Association of Towns and Regions of Art and History and Protected Areas (ANVPAH & VSSP), the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, the French Embassy in the Republic of Croatia and the Languedoc Roussillon Region. The aim of the trip was to learn about the system of protection and presentation of cultural and historical heritage in France and its sustainable use for touristic and economic purposes. Croatian Delegation was presented with examples of sustainable development of cities with rich historical and cultural heritage, both large and smaller ones, together with an example of cross-border cooperation between France and Spain in the Catalonian valleys of Tech and the Ter.

Representatives of the Croatian historic cities of Dubrovnik, Split, Trogir, Varazdin, Karlovac, Rovinj, Solin and Klis Municipality thus visited the Pont du Gard, the site under the protection of UNESCO, and the city of Nimes, where they had a chance to meet the Mayor and Senator of the French Republic Mr. Jean-Paul Fournier ; the First Deputy Mayor in charge of modernization and evaluation of public policies and a member of the European Parliament Mr. Franck Proust,  and the Deputy Mayor in charge of tourism and tourist promotion of heritage and a member of the Regional Council Mrs. Mary Bourgade.

A part of the presentation of the city and a discussion with representatives of Nîmes and State architect-conservationist Mr. Jean-Paul Pribetich, the actions which have been taken in the city of Nîmes in order to enter the List of UNESCO were also presented emphasizing  the concept of continuity of life from the age of antiquity and the integration of modern architecture. In addition, Croatian Delegation was welcomed at the headquarters of the Region of Languedoc Rousillon in Montpellier, represented by the Vice-President in charge of social affairs, youth and education, Mrs. Beatrice Negrier.

At the headquarters of the Tourism Office, Croatian Delegation met with representatives of the city of Pézenas, led by Mrs. Edith Fabre, Deputy Mayor in charge of heritage, handicrafts and tourism. In the town of Céret Mrs. Aurélia Greiveldinger presented the project “border province of art and history,” – the Catalan river valleys Tech and Ter involving cooperation of 11 towns of the French and Spanish border area in the eastern Pyrenees. In the town of Amélie-les-Bains the Delegation was welcomed by the mayor, Mr. Alexandre Reynal who presented the project of rebuilding the abandoned military hospital on the principle of public-private partnerships. InSaint Laurent de Cerdans two examples of restoration of old crafts were presented: centuries-old tradition of textile and espadrille making, which today still employs local population. The cities of Sant Joan de les Abadesses and Prats de Mollo were represented by their mayors Mr. Ramon Roque I Rio and Mr. Claude Ferrer.

The last two days were dedicated to Aix-en-Provence, the reception in the City Hall and the city tour with an emphasis on architectural development from ancient to modern times. Croatian Delegation also visited Marseille and the new Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations (MUCEM) – its unique architecture and successful interpolation with the nearby medieval fortress of Saint-Jean.


September, 2015

Panel discussion “Valorization of Cultural Heritage”, Karlovac

As one of the events of the Festival of France in Croatia “Rendez-Vous”, which is held from May to September 2015 with over 150 events in 22 cities in Croatia that present the contemporary France, the panel discussion “Valorization of cultural heritage” was held on September 2, in the City Hall of Karlovac. It was supported by the City of Karlovac and the City of Dubrovnik and organized in the collaboration between the Croatian Association of Historic Towns (HUPG) and the French National Association of the Cities of Art and History (ANVPAH & VSSP).

In front of a large auditorium composed of professional public and individuals interested in the subject, the participants exchanged on current issues of the protection, valorization and management of cultural heritage and historic cities. The Ambassador of France in Croatia Michèle Boccoz and Deputy Minister of Culture of the Republic of Croatia Sanja Saban congratulated the organizers for the choice of this subject and the quality of the speakers. Mrs. Saban stressed that the Festival of France in Croatia is the result of cooperation between the two countries in 2012, when the Croatian artists went to France. This panel discussion is also an example of sustainable inter-sectoral collaboration – urban planning, culture and tourism. Madam Ambassador Michele Boccoz emphasized the importance of networking and cooperation in the revitalization of historical heritage. The architectural heritage cannot be the concern of the state only. It must also be that of municipalities and cities, citizens’ associations and citizens themselves. International cooperation is also important for the conservation and promotion of heritage, not only to preserve the local identity, but the identity and culture of Europe.

Representatives of the French National Association (ANVPAH & VSSP) Anna Maria Spano, Deputy Mayor of La Rochelle; Josiane Tricotti, architecture and heritage animator of the city of Menton and Caroline Cousin, Director of the Department for the Valorization of Architecture and Heritage of the city of Pau, presented to the professional public and citizens of Karlovac the examples of valorization and cultural heritage management in their French communities.

Following these presentations, the Croatian public and professionals of the city of Karlovac have found that despite the higher level of the legislation in France, it is not always easy to apply laws and to use all existing protection tools in practice. The French and Croatian cities have similar problems. The key to achieve an effective protection and valorization of the cultural heritage lies in the collaboration of all stakeholders: government, local authorities, associations, cultural institutions, professionals and citizens. It is not only about protecting the heritage, but also about using it as a sustainable resource.


February, 2015

First International Ancient Cities Congress, Solin

Under the organization of the Tourist Board of Solin, the City of Solin and Hotel President Solin, the International Congress of ancient cities was held under the slogan “Meet, share & build” from 25th to 28th of February 2015,.
The International Congress of ancient cities aimed to encourage meetings of leading professionals in ancient cities, tourism, tourist boards and representatives of travel agencies, in order to exchange experiences regarding the promotion on the national and international tourism market and to develop new products by connecting leading people in destination tourism.
This was the first such project in Croatia, which brought together lecturers from tourist and archaeological professions, as well as guests from the French Association of Historic Towns ANVPAH&VSSP, who represented the ancient cities of France; leaders of the cultural tourism Fair “Paestum” from Italy; representatives from Oxford University and from the ancient cities of Split, Solin and Pula. In addition to lectures, the program included a discussion concerning the often opposite relation when it comes to the management of sites between professions of tourism and archaeology.
Alongside the organizers and the main sponsors, the Croatian Association of Historic Towns HUPG, the French National Association (ANVPAH&VSSP), the French Embassy in Croatia and the “Lavandaturist group” also contributed to the organization of the Congress.


November, 2014

Revitalization of Historical Centers, Trogir

The City of Trogir, in cooperation with the Croatian Association of Historic Towns (HUPG), the French National Association (ANVPAH-VSSP) and the French Embassy in the Republic of Croatia, organized an international seminar entitled “Revitalization of historical centers – institutional framework and case studies”, during two days at the City Hall.
The aim of the seminar was to contribute towards a better understanding of the current situation in historical heritage and to find out what measures are necessary for an effective preservation.
On the first day of the seminar presentations were divided in two parts: institutional framework and procedures, with lectures by representatives of Trogir, the Ministry of Culture, Conservation Department of Trogir and the French National Association of historical cities and protected areas. The other part was dedicated to the case studies of Trogir and La Rochelle – historic cities in action – with presentations of representatives of the Department of Conservation in Trogir, the Society for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Trogir “Radovan” and the deputy mayor of the French city of La Rochelle.
From studies to performance: project methodology, was the theme of the second day of the seminar, where the case studies showed representatives of the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture of the University of Split, Art History Institute “Cvito Fisković” from Split, the University of Perpignan and the owner of Renaissance mills “Pantan” from Trogir. The closing debate was opened on the subject of cooperation between public and private sector, moderated by the deputy mayor of Trogir Radovan Slade-Šilović.


September, 2014.

Successful Management and Transport Solutions – How to improve energy efficiency and air quality in historic centers, Dubrovnik

The 2–day workshops looked at practical measures that can improve the quality of life in our historic centers through understanding how to manage and care for heritage buildings and how to improve energy efficiency and air quality – benefiting residents, visitors and the historic fabric. Successful management is the basis for the sustainable use and preservation of heritage sites. The workshops focused on common issues in the preparation of sustainable management and transport plans for World Heritage Sites using a range of case studies, common approaches and management tools as an illustration. An understanding of the diverse systems that exist for the management of various sites is crucial for the protection of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) and integrity of heritage sites, in accordance with Article 4 of the World Heritage Convention. Sustainable management plans facilitate change and adaptation to modernity, a side-by-side existence and prosperity, at a time when our cities are challenged by rapid growth and the need for delivering consistent sustainable and smarter infrastructures using technological advances in various fields.
The Day 1 Workshop helped understand Management Plans for World Heritage or potential World Heritage cities with a specific focus on case studies. It was an opportunity to share views and experiences related to current management issues of heritage sites. Heritage sites are frequently vulnerable and need sustainable site management. Implementing a sustainable development model means recognizing existing controversies between conservation and tourism activities. In this context, the City of Dubrovnik as Lead Partner and the Final Beneficiaries involved in the IPA Adriatic CBC project EX.PO AUS – “EXtension of POtentiality of Adriatic Unesco Sites” presented the current results of the project activities involving Cross-Border Sustainable Management of UNESCO Sites in the Adriatic.
The Day 2 Workshop included how to prepare Sustainable Urban Logistics Plans (SULP). Delegates:

  • learned first-hand from European case studies from: LUCCA, VICENZA, SIENA – Italy TRONDHEIM – Norway DEN BOSCH – Netherlands TREVISO – Italy
  • contributed views on the sustainable transport challenges facing historic towns and
  • helped develop best practice guidance for historic towns.


May, 2014.

Official meeting in the French Embassy, Zagreb

This meeting was organized at the Embassy of France, May 13, 2014, in the presence of the French National Association (ANVPAH&VSSP). It reflected on future plans of cooperation and reviewed indications on the development of the network of Croatian historic towns.
The plan was to create an A3 version of a brochure based on the model from the French National Association and an A5 brochure (in Croatian, English and French).
The French association is based on a contract with the State, which is not the case for the Croatian network. The discussion on criteria needs to be continued. It is clear that we must strengthen the commitment of cities to give more visibility and credibility to the network to achieve greater possibility in creating joint projects and agreements with Croatian ministries.
All participants emphasized the need of thorough urban studies to assess similarities and differences of the cities and in order to create a common strategy and proposals based on the specific needs.


December, 2013.

Tourism Management in Historical Centers, Šibenik

A seminar on tourism management was organized in partnership with the Embassy of France in Croatia, the French National Association (ANVPAH & VSSP) and the Croatian Association of Historic Towns in Sibenik, from 4-5 December 2013.
This topic was chosen as coastal cities are being faced with increasingly greater numbers of visitors, which does not have the expected effect in terms of direct economic benefit for citizens or for small and medium enterprises. Consequently, inhabitants move from the old centers, real life disappears and the cities are converted to “open-air museums”. There is a significant demographic decrease in historical centers as well.
The seminar also served as an opportunity to discuss the possibilities for helping residents and young families. As is the case in some southern cities of France, in such centers we can find modest structures, not renovated and not adapted to modern needs. Efficient revitalization must involve at least three sectors: rehabilitation, social and economic needs. Among these three areas we can identify causes for the abandonment of old centers.
The development of mass tourism on the Dalmatian coast creates short-term income economy that results with a loss of identity. These radical changes in the urban fabric can be irreversible.
On the other hand, the City of Karlovac, who hosted a seminar in 2012, does not have the same opportunities as coastal cities, in terms of tourism. Therefore, the tourism objectives are different, particularly for reconstruction and infrastructural projects.
French experts stressed repeatedly the importance of creating networks and collaborating. The French National Association, after signing a cooperation agreement with HUPG in August 2014, has the following expectations:

  • exchange of experience between the Croatian and French cities;
  • development of a systematic approach to the identified needs, especially those related to the entire Croatian network, such as housing;
  • emphasis on the importance of historical centers as a factor of development;
  • a better understanding of European funds and the preparation of joint projects;
  • creation of thematic routes on architectural heritage;
  • work on the national visibility of specific problems of revitalization in historic centers;
  • preparation of a detailed analysis on the negative effects of mass tourism on a national level.


November, 2012

Cultural Heritage Mediation, Karlovac

The Embassy of France in Croatia, the National French Association (ANVPAH-VSSP), the City of Karlovac and the Association of Croatian Historical Towns organized a workshop on heritage mediation tools and policies.
This workshop took place on November 27, 2012 and it allowed a discussion on the importance of raising the awareness of inhabitants with respect to their heritage and environment, especially in cities faced with growing tourism. The policies implemented in French cities (Perigueux, the Plaine Commune …) and in Croatia (Dubrovnik, Karlovac, Sibenik …) were presented by politicians, technicians, architects and representatives of associations. The importance of establishing a collaboration between the state, local authorities and civil society for the protection and promotion of heritage was highlighted.
The French label “City of Art and History” and its touristic advantage attracted particular interest among Croatian partners.
At the end of the workshop a number of projects were identified for the following year: signing a cooperation agreement between ANVPAH-VSSP and the Association of Croatian Historic Towns – HUPG; a workshop on tourism management; a workshop on the revitalization and new functions of the “Star of Karlovac” in partnership with the Croatian universities of Architecture in Zagreb and Split, and the French National School of Architecture in Nancy.


October, 2012

Delivering Smart Sustainable and Inclusive Growth in Historic Towns, Dubrovnik

In organization of the City of Dubrovnik, the Association Heritage Europe and in collaboration with the Croatian Association of Historic Towns, Turkish Association of Historic Towns, the Council of Europe and the UNESCO’s School in South East Europe,
this conference was a unique opportunity for key decision makers working in the field of cultural heritage, as well as academics and practitioners committed to the preservation of historic cities, particularly those cities inscribed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List, to share views and experiences and help influence and shape future European Policy.
The conference theme focused on the new EU 2020 strategy for 2013 -2020 – a policy that will determine the way the main European funds are allocated – a key potential resource for European Historic Towns.
The 3 priorities of the EU 2020 strategy are:
– smart growth: developing an economy based on knowledge and innovation.
– sustainable growth: promoting a more resource efficient, greener and more competitive economy.
– inclusive growth: fostering a high-employment economy delivering social and territorial cohesion.
But can historic towns respond to the key global challenges of the 21st Century and help deliver sustainable growth?
This conference explored ways in which historic towns can and do contribute to these European priorities and presented the historic city as a model for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth focusing on the knowledge economy, social cohesion and the challenges of climate change.
It showed :
– practical examples of successful growth and regeneration strategies in large, medium and small historic settlements ;
– the experience of a number of European projects and partners ;
– the work of the European Heritage Alliance in developing a European Cultural Heritage Strategy that demonstrates the economic and social importance of the historic city.


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