Turkey’s Culture Routes Society (CRS) is an NGO, which was established in 2012 in order to develop, maintain and promote culture routes and use them as a stimulus for rural development.
Culture Routes Society represents 18 natural and historical thematic routes and co-operates with official bodies in Turkey to encourage responsible tourism and to bring conservation and sustainability to the forefront of government policy. Among its members are route designers, travel agencies, service providers, as well as academics and botanists.
In December 2014, Culture Routes Society representatives met the European Association of Via Francigena (EAVF) authorities at the European Pilgrimage Routes Conference in Florence and agreed on a collaboration to apply to the Civil Society Dialogue Program with a mutual project that would allow them to take the first steps in combining and extending their networks.
The Europe to Turkey on Foot project, which started in Feb 2016, is financed by the EU and Turkish Republic and will last for a year. It aims to integrate the Turkish and European approaches in the management, communication and marketing of cross-border cultural routes as well as initiating the extension of Via Francigena towards the east by combining it with 3 existing Turkish routes. As part of the project, the European model of managing routes in collaboration with local administrations is studied and will be implemented by CRS and 3 project associate municipalities in Turkey: Inegöl on the Evliya Çelebi Way; Eğirdir on the St Paul Trail; Demre on the Lycian Way. In September 2016, a workshop was held in Thessaloniki to discuss the marketing strategy and develop an action plan in this regard together with local representatives including the Via Egnatia. The project continues with the support of Cultural Heritage Management students who will test-walk and evaluate the Turkish section and the result of this action will be exhibited by their photography and films in various places in Turkey. Finally, there will be 2 reports analyzing conservation systems in Europe and Turkey.
After the recent inclusion of Brindisi-Santa Maria di Leuca to the VF network, the route now can extend from Italy towards the east both by the sea and by the land and development of itineraries in rural areas is again the main target of this work. The cooperation between CRS and EAVF will continue further when this project ends and the new itinerary will eventually contribute to the intercultural dialogue by forming a bridge between Europe-Asia.
Culture Routes Society
Please find here below the article issued on the magazine “Via Francigena and the European Cultural Routes”, n.42, November 2016
This information is produced with financial support of the European Union and the Republic of Turkey. CULTURE ROUTES SOCİETY is responsible for the content of this document and can in no way be interpreted as the opinion of the European Union and/or Republic of Turkey.