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EHD 2002 - Various ethnic communities and religions – common heritage

National theme: “Various ethnic communities and religions – common heritage”
28-30 September 2002

The main theme of the European Heritage Days 2002 “Various ethnic communities and religions – common heritage” is a question of present interest – both at national as well as far beyond the national scale – regional, European, world. This theme is based on the concept that the cultural heritage is the bearer of universal human values, and is the key for achieving the real mutual understanding among the various communities – by cultivating of tolerance and interest in the values of the Other. This topic reveals also the idea that the similar genetic features, the traces of the mutual cultural and historic influences and the universal aesthetic ideals, incarnated in the heritage assets, enable the heritage to be considered not only as bearer of specific national identity, but also as exhibit of the human spirit on a larger scale – as universal achievement and possession.

The main objective of the European Heritage Days 2002 was to raise the interest, sensitivity and knowledge of the general public – especially of the children and the youth – to the cultural heritage the national and the foreign one, and to provoke concern and involvement to its fate; to cultivate the understanding that all cultural assets, no matter of the ethnic and religious belonging of their creators, are considered as part of the world treasure-house of the cultural heritage, the latter in its unity – part of the European and world heritage; to set understanding and tolerance to the heritage of the Other, hence – to a different system of values.

This objective united a great number of partners willing to cooperate in this field. There was a great number of various participants in the Days – municipalities in regions rich in monuments of culture and natural landmarks, as well as regions with mixed population (outstanding programs of the municipalities of Smolyan, Lom, Yambol, Burgas, Drianovo, Goze Delchev, Hadjidimovo, Silistra, Botevgrad, Cherven briag, Kirkovo, Troyan, Elena, Shoumen, Haskovo,Plovdiv, Kjustendil, Veliko Tarnovo, Montana), regional inspectorates of the Ministry of Education and Science, schools and institutions of higher education, NGO and voluntary organizations, related to the heritage of the various ethnic and religious communities.

Main activities of the Days:

1. Press conference of the Minister of Culture concerning the European Heritage Days 2002 held on 25 September in the Euro-Bulgarian cultural center.

2. Official opening of the European Heritage Days (Smolyan 28 September). The ceremony was held on the central town square, proceeded by a concert of folk groups, presenting the musical and dance heritage, rituals and traditional costumes of the various ethnic communities. It ended with a ceremonial hoisting of the flag of the European Heritage Days.

3. Exhibition “Sacred relics” – Christian and Moslem religious objects from the Rhodopes” opened on 28 September in the Historic museum of Smolyan by the heads of the local Christian and Moslem religious communities.

4. National workshop dedicated to the topic “Various ethnic communities and religions –common heritage, held on 28 September in Smolyan. During the workshop the participants shared valuable experience, gained during the research and promotion of the heritage of the various ethnic and religious communities, lanced interesting ideas for future projects and established useful contacts for future cooperation – the main conclusions and decisions of the participants were presented in the final document of the Workshop.
5. Participation of children from all over Bulgaria in the VIІ EPIM (International Photo experiment for monuments of culture).

6. Exhibition of the awarded works of the VIІ International Children Photo Competition dedicated to the topic “Monuments of culture”, opened by the Minister of Culture on 26 September in the French cultural center, Sofia.

7. Participation in the European project “Europe: from one street to another” (“L’Europe: d’une rue а l’autre / “Europe: from one street to another”).

8. Organized visits of monuments, included in the programs of various participants and related to the topic of the European Heritage Days 2002: the monastery of Dryanovo and the Roman fortress Discoduratera – near Dryanovo; the Thracian tomb and the Moslem pilgrimage site “Demir-baba Teke” near the village Sveshtari; the Rock churches above the village Osmar – near Shumen; the Ancient (Roman) villa “Armira” – near Haskovo; numerous religious monuments of culture in the participating municipalities – Christian churches (Orthodox, Catholic, Evangelic), mosques, synagogues and religious sites of the various religions.

9. Happenings included in the Programs of the various participants: artistic shows, games, lectures, competitions for children drawings, art, architectural and ethnographic exhibitions etc., among which “Days of Bulgarian, Turkish and Gypsy culture, religion and customs” – accompanied with lectures, concerts, photo-exhibitions and presentation of various rituals and customs in Lom; “Day of the Old Town” in Plovdiv under the motto “Live and celebrate together”; concert of the ethnic communities with the first exhibit of the newly formed Gypsy philharmonic orchestra in Shoumen; interactive education of students from various ethnic communities dedicated to the topic “Inter-ethnic education and sensitivity to the differences” – in Haskovo; exhibition of children drawings dedicated to “Bulgaria – our common home” – in Dryanovo; discussion dedicated to “Various ethnic communities and religions common heritage” with the participation of the Students’ Parliament and the Students’ club “Journalism” – in Silistra; photo-competition dedicated to“ The traditions, customs and rituals of the Others through my lens” with the participation of children of various ages and ethnic groups – in Elena; folk concert “We are the world, we are the children” under the motto “Various ethnic communities and religions – common heritage”- in Yambol; lectures, seminars and discussions dedicated to “The cultural assets – inter-ethnic and religious tolerance” and “Acquaintance with the cultural heritage – key to inter-ethnic and religious tolerance” – in most of the participating municipalities; students games, competitions, exhibitions of drawings and photos, concerts and performances dedicated to the topic of the European Heritage Days - in all participating municipalities.

10. Happenings (exhibitions, lectures, specialized tours fro children, etc.) of the national and local museums and free access to them during the Days, provided by the Ministry of Culture and the participating municipalities.

11. Media campaign dedicated to the topic “Various ethnic communities and religions – common heritage”, held at national and local level – publications in the press, radio and TV broadcasting for the European Heritage Days and the present problems of the monuments of culture, press conferences, interviews, radio games related to the topic etc.

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