Hüseyin Eryurt and Kate Clow attended the conference on European Pilgrimage Routes in Florence from 4-6th December and presented papers on the St Paul Trail and the Evliya Çelebi Way. The well-organised conference attracted participants from most European countries and was introduced by a high level board of politicians as well and experts. The emphasis was the management of routes through the landscape – speakers emphasized the Landscape Convention and the incorporation of routes into the landscape. The conference was divided into various themes, including the effect of routes on the life quality and financial wellbeing of local people and villages.

While at the conference, Kate and Hü met with the management committee (Massimo Tedeschi, Silvia Lecci and Luca Bruschi) of the Via Francegina, a long distance route which starts in Canterbury, UK and crosses France and Switzerland to Rome. This route, incorporated in the EICR in 1994, has now been extended south to Brindisi and Bari. The eventual target is Jerusalem, but for now the route managers would like to make an agreement to cooperate with the Culture Routes Society. The aim would be for us to help establish a route across the Balkans (through our member the Via Egnatia) and from İstanbul to a port for Cyprus and thence Israel. This proposal will be discussed at the KRD management committee meeting in January.

We also listened to presentation on a proposed St Paul Greenway in Greece. Informally, we learned that St Paul’s travels is high on the priority list of the Council of Europe. This would be partly concurrent with the extension of the Via Francegina.

We will bring you more news on this topic as it develops.

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