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Photo credit: Tomislav Petrinec, Ministry of Culture of Croatia

Mayors and high representatives of 18 cities from 15 countries in Europe, together with representatives of national heritage authorities and international experts and resource persons gathered with the objective of discussing the management of historic walls and fortifications in urban World Heritage properties in Europe, with a special focus on implementing the UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (2011) in those properties.

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Photo credit: Šibenik Tourist Board

The meeting that took place in Hotel Ivan, Amadria Park, was organized on 5-6 March 2018 in Šibenik, Croatia by the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe in cooperation with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, the Ministry of Culture of Croatia, the Croatian Commission for UNESCO, the Šibenik-Knin County and the City of Šibenik.

Based on the increasing need to take advantage of the urban cultural heritage as a key resource to enhance the liveability of urban areas, the 2001 Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) advocates the integration of cultural heritage conservation strategies within the larger goals of sustainable urban development, embracing a landscape approach for identifying, conserving and managing historic areas within their broader urban contexts.

Véronique Dauge, Head of the Culture Unit of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, spoke in her opening speech of “the implementation of the Recommendation being of critical importance to ensure that the integrated management of historic urban areas achieves effective preservation, while at the same time fostering social cohesion, inclusive growth, and quality of life”.

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Photo credit: Šibenik Tourist Board

At the meeting, different knowledge tools on the HUL approach were presented with a special focus on its possible implementation in World Heritage properties with a significant presence of historic walls, fortifications and fortified urban areas.

Participants were guided to identify the attributes of the Outstanding Universal Value of urban World Heritage properties based on the recognition of historic cities as a changing ensemble with multiple layers and stories. Besides, they were shown how to manage historic fortifications as an open space to integrate conservation and development in an evolutionary perspective, enhancing the relationship with the socio-economic context and improving the functionality, usability and accessibility of urban areas. Issues related to EU policies and financing opportunities were also discussed, to help the implementation at a practical level.

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Photo credit: Fortresses of Culture Šibenik

On the second day of the meeting, participants took part in a field visit to the World Heritage property of Šibenik and other urban heritage sites, to develop a better understanding of the HUL approach through a teamwork simulation using Šibenik as a case study.

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