Natural and Cultural Balkan Heritage by Trail
The Trail Via Dinarica Will Connect the Whole Western Balkans RegionJune 23rd, 2016
The work will cover a length of 2,000 km along the Dinaric Alps in seven countries of the Western Balkans, from Slovenia to Albania, in order to enhance the cultural heritage of this region.
In 2006, taking inspiration by the European Via Alpina and the US Appalachian Trail, the Croat climber Gordan Papac had the idea to create a long transversal trail through the Dinaric Alps, called Via Dinarica.
However, the real project has been put into practice only in 2013, with the help of NGOs, private companies, national partners, the Adventure Tourism Association BiH (ATA BiH) and the huge support of both the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Nonetheless, also private mountain enthusiasts contributed enormously in the development of the project.
The project stands for a corridor able to bring back to life the old commercial routes, highlighting the precious cultural and agricultural heritage of the local communities. As Ante Vukadin, member of a mountaineer organisation in the south-eastern Bosnian town of Tomislavgrad, stated:”The Via Dinarica represents a great opportunity for the development of our region”.
Rural areas along the mega-trail will benefit the most from the project. As more tourists and hikers will come to the region, rural inhabitants will have the opportunity to show them their own cultural heritage, offering their own unique services and hospitality.
Without the cooperation with international actors, the whole project would not have been possible. In fact, as Zahira Virani, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, said “UNDP supports Via Dinarica concept as it assists development of the Dinaric Arc rural region by promoting its touristic resources and potentials, as well as creation of new cross-regional partnerships”.
Also the USAID agreed on the economic potential of the mega trail; as stated by USAID Mission Director, David Barth: “[The Via Dinarica] will encourage capital investment in local industries and contribute to international and regional marketing efforts”.
Cultural Diplomacy News
Valentina De Gregorio, CD News