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EHD 2005 - South-East Europe – shared heritage

National theme: "South-East Europe – shared heritage"
24-26 September 2005

The European Heritage Days 2005 were held in Bulgaria under the permanent motto of the Days: Еurope,common heritage and of the European year for Democratic population through education.

The subject “South-East Europe – shared heritage" was selected due to its exceptional actuality for Bulgaria and the whole region, in the context of the current processes of joining of the European Union. It is also closely related to one of the most remarkable international events for 2005 in Bulgaria – the Regional Forum “The Cultural corridors of South-East Europe; common past and shared heritage – key to future partnership" (Varna, 20 and 21 May). The Forum was held under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria Mr. Georgi Parvanov, the General Director of UNESCO Mr. Koichiro Mazuura and the General Secretary of the Council of Europe Mr. Terry Davis and with representatives from UNESCO, the Council of Europe, the European Union and ICOMOS. The participating eight presidents and leading figures from the countries of South-East Europe adopted the Varna Declaration, the one creating the real base for common actions, directed to the investigation, preservation, sustainable use and promotion of the cultural corridors and the cultural heritage of the region.

The main objective of the EHD 2005 was to exhibit and promote the role the cultural heritage of the countries of South-East Europe as a valuable resource for their sustainable cultural, economic and social development, as essential element of the world cultural diversity, as bearer of European and regional identity – especially in the context of European integration, and as means for encouraging the dialogue, mutual understanding and respecting the assets of the others. Constantly, in the focus of attention was the permanent objective of the European Days – raising of the interest, sensitivity and knowledge of the general public – and especially of children and youth – towards the cultural heritage.

Organisers of the European Heritage Days 2005 in Bulgaria were the following institutions: Ministry of Culture (under the aegis of which the Days were held), Ministry of Education and Science, the Agency for Youth and Sport, the National Institute for Monuments of Culture, the Municipality of Shumen and the Bulgarian National Committee of ICOMOS (National co-ordinator).

In the EHD 2005 participated more than 30 municipalities, over 100 museums and a great number of voluntary NGO, schools and higher schools, among which the Bulgarian National Committee of ICOMOS distributed the special poster, dedicated to the EHD 2005 in Bulgaria, as well as the brochures and other promotion materials, provided by the European co-ordinator.

The following main events took place within the frames of the EHD:


1. Joint press-conference of the Union of architects in Bulgaria and the Bulgarian National Committee of ICOMOS (19 September), where their common initiative was announced for organising a national campaign "Heritage at risk" and publishing of Red book of the endangered cultural heritage in Bulgaria.

2. Opening of the exhibition "Cultural corridors of South-East Europe" and presentation of the results of the Forum in Varna (19 September) –in the hall of the Central house of the architects in Sofia.

3. Press-conference of the Ministry of Culture (21 September), where the forthcoming start of the EHD 2005 in Bulgaria was announced, as well as the main events within the frames of the Days and some of the present problems of the Bulgarian cultural heritage were commented.

4. Official opening ceremony of the European Heritage Days 2005 in national scale (24 September). In the ceremony, held on the central square in front of the Municipality of Shumen, took part the Mayor of the town and representatives of the other organisers of the EHD 2005. The flag of the Days was officially hoisted, while youth music and dancing groups staged a concert “The Balkans without border", presenting the folklore of the countries of South-East Europe and stressing on the idea for close relations, good-neighbour relationship and friendship among these countries.

5. National Workshop “South-East Europe – shared heritage", (Shumen, 24-25 September). In the Workshop participated outstanding scientists and experts from various institutes of the Bulgarian Academy of Science, from the Bulgarian National Committee of ICOMOS, from the Union of architects in Bulgaria, and from the cultural institutions in Shumen. The perspectives for co-operation among the countries of South-East Europe in the field of investigation, preservation, promotion and sustainable use of the cultural heritage of the region were discussed. All ideas of the participants united in the Final document, supporting completely the Varna Declaration, adopted on the Regional Forum, but drawing special attention to the necessity to solve various problems related to the preservation of the Bulgarian cultural heritage – legislative, financial and management.

6. Opening of the International exhibition “X International photo-experiment for monuments of culture" (21 September). The exhibition presented the works of the prize-winners for 2005 of the international youth photo-competition dedicated to “Monuments of culture", held annually under the aegis of The Council of Europe. The exhibition was held in the French Cultural Institute in Sofia and was officially opened by the Deputy minister of culture Mrs. Kileva, in the presence of the French Ambassador Mr. Yves SAINT-GEOURS.

All other national events were presented in the press and the national T.V., broadcasting reports and interviews with the participants.


More than 30 municipalities in the country, over 100 museums, hundreds of schools and a number of NGO took active part in the EHD 2005 with their own rich and various programmes. Specially should be pointed out the participation of the Municipalities of Shumen (host of the official ceremony of the opening of the Days in Bulgaria and the National Workshop), Blagoevgrad, Varna, Veliko Tarnovo, Gabrovo, Goze Delchev, Dobrich, Dryanovo, Elena, Kazanlak, Kustendil, Pazardjik, Pernik, Pleven, Plovdiv, Svishtov, Silistra, Smolyan, Sofia, Stara Zagora, Tryavna, Hadjidimovo, Yambol.

The common characteristics in the programs of all municipalities participating were as follows:

  • Organising of a mass media campaign in the local press and electronic media, presenting the Days by various information, discussion and education materials
  • Organising of the official opening ceremony of the Days and hoisting of their flag
  • Providing of free access to all museums, galleries and monuments of culture during the Days
  • Optimum and active participation of the students and youth in the Days

The most typical events, included to some extent in most of the programmes are as follows:

  • Organising of subject exhibitions – art, photo, ethnographical etc., – presenting various cultural and historical assets and their participation in contemporary life
  • Organising of lectures, seminars, public debates and other similar events, aiming at drawing the attention of the general public to specific phenomena and problems of the heritage
  • Organising of tours along the cultural and eco-routes
  • Research expeditions to archaeological and architectural reserves
  • Youth competitions for photos, drawings and essays dedicated all to subjects related to the cultural and natural heritage
  • Education programmes – in the framework of schools, museums, the mass media
  • Work on the European Project “From one street – to another"
  • Heritage classes (research, documentation and interpretation of a specific monument of culture by a group of students, working on spot in the course of 7-10 days)
  • Radio broadcastings and radio games dedicated to the cultural and historical heritage of the home place
  • Gala-concerts, performances, carnival processions etc.
  • Youth initiatives for creation of web sites dedicated to “The cultural heritage", for the organising of Youth Forums dedicated to the EHD subject “South-East Europe – shared heritage"; for organising of campaigns for cleaning and maintaining of the local archaeological sites.

The main contribution of the EHD 2005 in Bulgaria is as follows:

  • The EHD gave again the ground for further creating of sensitivity of large-scale social strata to the problems of the cultural heritage;
  • The importance of the cultural heritage as resource for sustainable economic and social development of South-East Europe and as factor for the better mutual understanding and rapprochement among the various national, ethnic and religious communities in the region was pointed out;
  • Beneficial co-operation and uniting of the common efforts of the public authorities and voluntary organisations in the field of preservation and reasonable use of the heritage was carried out;
  • The possibilities for international co-operation in South-East Europe form the implementation of the decisions of the Forum in Varna in the field of exhibit and use of the common cultural heritage were analysed and traced out.

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