WALKofPEACE the best European Interreg Project

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WALKofPEACE, a project with the aim of preserving, researching and promoting the heritage of the First World War and developing a sustainable tourism product, became the best European Interreg Project on October 14, 2020, at the final event of the »European Week of Regions and Cities«. The WALKofPEACE project team gave a performance which helped the general public to recognize its main purpose: to promote the unification of nations and to spread the message of the futility of war and awareness of peace.

After the Interreg call for the best European project in the spring, over 150 European projects applied for the "Interreg 30 years Project Slam" competition. The WALKofPEACE project, in which five Slovenian and five Italian partners are participating, was first ranked among the top 30. After that it convinced the jury with a video on the topic of “connection to the neighbourhood” and ranked among the top 6 contestants. On October 14, the five finalists presented at the final event of the »European Week of Regions and Cities«, which was scheduled to take place in Brussels, but was conducted online due to the situation with COVID-19. The WALKofPEACE team decided on an original presentation and delivered a theatrical performance. A narrator tells a story about a project manager and the spirit of a soldier, which appears to her in a dream and confirms that she is on the right track working on the project. On the one hand, the story expresses the great importance of restoring and preserving the heritage of the First World War, and on the other, the sense of connection between nations with personal encounters on the real trail "Walk of Peace", which unites the people of the European Union. After the presentations a short online vote followed. In just two minutes 410 votes arrived; 163 of them were dedicated to the WALKofPEACE project, which became the undisputed winner. Other projects followed: NonHazCity, HITRO, CIAK and INNOQUARTER.

Throughout the project, study activities were carried out with the aim of preparing a database of fallen soldiers and a permanent exhibition on the topic of logistics on the Isonzo Front, with an emphasis on railway connections. New exhibitions, conferences, thematic cultural and commemorative events are being prepared to enhance the general knowledge and awareness of the First World War heritage. To strengthen the joint promotion and marketing the cross-border umbrella destination brand Walk of Peace was introduced. A new website is being created and promotional material is being prepared. A marked extension of the Walk of Peace from the Alps to the Adriatic is being added to the trail, which will now total to 520 kilometres in length. Education on the heritage of the First World War is provided for pupils in primary schools. A lot of effort is goes into investment work, namely the restoration of buildings, monuments, museums, information centres with modern multimedia presentations of the heritage of the First World War.

Investments in the WALKofPEACE project are taking place on both sides of the border. The Soča Valley Development Centre takes care of the implementation of five investments in the total value of 300,000 EUR and in close cooperation with the municipalities of Bovec, Kobarid and Tolmin. Together with the maintenance and upgrade of individual sections on the thematic trail "Walk of Peace", the amount totals to almost 320,000 EUR, of which 15 percent will be contributed by all three municipalities. At the end of last year, the Memorial Church of the Holy Spirit in Javorca was renovated and the German ossuary in June this year. Both investments were in the municipality of Tolmin. In the municipality of Kobarid, an old military truck, which is now exhibited in a new mobile pavilion, and an Italian military chapel on Planica have been restored. In the municipality of Bovec, funds from the WALKofPEACE project will be used to arrange a thematic trail along the Kluže fortress.

Work is underway on Sabotin to set up a visitor centre, where an innovative multimedia centre with a museum collection will be established and define Sabotin as the central reference point on the Walk of Peace from the Alps to the Adriatic. The investment is taken care of by the Municipality of Nova Gorica. In cooperation with the Municipality of Kanal ob Soči, the WW1 water basin in Kambreško will be renovated, and in the municipality of Šempeter-Vrtojba, the memorial of Sv. Ot, in the municipality of Renče-Vogrsko the Park of the WW1 Vinišče. As part of the investment, the Walks of Peace in the Soča Region Foundation will upgrade the Walk of Peace Information Centre with an interactive exhibition on the Walk of Peace from the Alps to the Adriatic and adapted access for the disabled. The information centre will provide information on the heritage of the 1WW and the Walk of Peace from the entire program area. The Italian partner ERPAC will arrange green areas next to the Museum of the Great War in Gorizia in the area of ​​the Gorizia castle Musei di Borgo Castello, and the partner VEGAL will restore the museum in San Donà di Piave.

The Soča Valley Development Centre is happy to lead a project in which, together with the Walks of Peace in the Soča Region Foundation and all other partners, will carry out a series of activities aimed at sustainable preservation of the First World War heritage and development of cultural tourism.

 

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