The Cultural Routes programme, launched by the Council of Europe in 1987, aims to preserve and enhance the rich and diverse heritage of Europe through a series of thematic routes linking monuments, sites and other tourist attractions. Over 45 Cultural Routes cover a wide range of different themes, from architecture and landscape to religious influences, from gastronomy and intangible heritage to the major figures of European history, art, music and literature.
The Cultural Routes networks implement activities and projects in five main priority fields of action: enhancement of memory, history and European heritage; cooperation in research and development; cultural and educational exchanges of young Europeans; contemporary cultural and artistic practice; and cultural tourism and sustainable cultural development.
Establishment and operation
- In 1998 the European Institute of Cultural Routes (EICR) was set up in Luxembourg as a technical body and resource centre. Its role is to provide support and advice to candidate networks wishing to be certified, either through meetings and seminars, or in the framework of annual events such as the Training Academy. The Institute also assists in the evaluation cycles of candidate and certified Cultural Routes, implements European projects and coordinates the programme's University Network.
- In 2010 the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe (EPA) was established to reinforce the potential of cultural routes for co-operation. EPA decides on the Programme's strategy and evaluates both the candidate and certified Cultural Routes, in accordance with the conditions set out in the new Resolution (CM Res(2023)2) of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.
- The Annual Advisory Forum is the most important event of the Programme. It brings together stakeholders from diverse fields (representatives of certified and candidate cultural routes, international organisations, local and regional authorities, Universities, experts, chambers of commerce, civil society organisations, cultural and tourism organisations, etc) in order to discuss trends and challenges, exchange experiences, review progress and launch new initiatives and partnerships.
Greece in the Council of Europe's Cultural Routes programme
Greece is a member-state of the Enlarged Partial Agreement since its establishment and participates in its Governing Board through the Directorate of International Relations and European Union of the Ministry of Culture. National presence in the programme is growing, with two Greece-based routes, i.e. the Routes of the OliveTree and the Historic Cafés Route, and 18 routes with network members in the country.
The first two Cultural Routes Fora were held in Delphi in 2006 and 2010, before the establishment of the Enlarged Partial Agreement. In 2022, the 11th Annual Advisory Forum was held in Greece (Chania, Crete, 5-7 October), on the theme of safeguarding European Values, Heritage and Dialogue. More information on the Forum, which was a great success, can be found on the dedicated Forum webpage.
Olive Tree Routes
Greece You Will Want To Stay Forever
Greece Does Have a Winter
Greece at the International Art Exhibition of Venice Biennale
The Restoration of the Acropolis
Conference on the Future of Europe
The return of the Parthenon Marbles
Archaeological Museums & Collections in Greece
Intangible Cultural Heritage
Hellenic Organization of Cultural Resources Development