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​RURITAGE Project’s Izmir Coordination Center Opened

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Izmir Metropolitan Municipality took the first step of a great project that will develop north of Izmir through culture, nature and tourism. The coordination center of the project opened in Bergama Town, Kozak Highland Yukarıbey District.

We are going to apply for including the region in UNESCO European Geoparks Network.
“RURITAGE – Rural Regeneration through systemic heritage-led strategies” is a project launched by the EU as a part of HORIZON 2020 Program and Izmir received a financial support in the amount of 550 thousand Euros; accordingly, we are starting to work on protection of cultural heritage through activities focusing on tourism, nature and rural development so that we can contribute to economic and social development of Bakırçay Basin, including Bergama, Kınık and Dikili towns.

We will document geological heritage and apply to UNESCO
This project is based on six themes; “religious tourism”, “local food”, “migration”, “art & festivals”, “resilience” and “landscape”. Accordingly, in respect of religious tourism, we are planning to promote the key religious centers along Selçuk – Bergama area as a religious tourism route and to establish Info Desks and Bulletin Boards along IZBAN line stations. Activities such as assuring sustainability of local produce festivals, production of geo-food and leveraging Natural Living Village in Bergama Kozak Highland are the highlights of “local food” theme. For the “art & festivals” theme of the project, we are planning to create an updated festival guide for the region and to increase the number of local craft workshops such as basketry or carpet business. We are going to work on positioning the region as a “Geopark” for the “landscape” theme. For this purpose, first, we are going to identify the geopark potential of the region and start the application process before UNESCO European Geoparks Network. For “resilience”, we are going to focus on projects solving problems such as diseases of stone pines in the region or planning use of water to fight the climate crisis.
Izmir is one of the 6 replicator cities
Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, Izmir Institute of Technology and Demir Energy are the stakeholders of this project that started in June 2018 in Bologna Italy. This four-year project will be completed in May 2022 with a closing meeting to be held by UNESCO in Paris.
Cultural and natural heritage will be mapped
This project prepares a RURITAGE ATLAS based on geographical IT systems. This will be an accessible database focusing on cultural and natural heritage. Thanks to this atlas, the region will improve its visibility in the international arena. In Dikili – Bergama line, Izmir track of EuroVelo passes this region towards Ephesus and thus it will create an integrated value. This will combine a geopark with a cycle track.
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