Sustainability: Challenging mindsets through heritage interpretation
Join us in Slovenia from 21 to 24 March 2024 for a packed programme of inspiring keynote speeches, workshops, presentations and study visits, where we’ll explore how can heritage interpretation challenge people’s mindsets in a way that doesn’t focus on doom and gloom but keeps their spirits up for successful transition.
Interpret Europe conferences attract, from as many as 40 countries, up to 200 attendees, all of whom share a dedication to support local people and visitors in their search for meaning in heritage. Besides seminal keynote speeches and study visits to remarkable heritage sites, IE conferences benefit from up to 40 presentations and interactive workshops delivered by their attendees.
Koper, a green-labelled multicultural destination, will be the location for our exchanges on such questions. Istria region, a lively crossroads area of cultures and languages, the junction of South, West and East, is rich in history, with a difficult past but now a more peaceful coexistence in a united Europe that should be able to inspire us. What’s more, the karst hinterland with its countless underground caves, Mediterranean vegetation and the wild fir and spruce forests of the Dinaric Alps, home to numerous rare species, will provide us with many opportunities for taking deep breaths in nature.
Koper (Capodistria) is a tourist town in Slovenian Istria, overlooking the blue waters of the northern Adriatic. It is the largest coastal city in Slovenia and lies just south of the Italian border; its neighbours are the towns of Izola and of Ankaran. The city‘s is Slovenia‘s only container port and together with the University is a major contributor to Koper’s economy and development. The city and the coastal area are officially bilingual, with both Slovene and Italian as their official languages. With a unique ecology and biodiversity, Koper is considered an important natural resource and, because of its long and diverse history, a city with a multicultural heritage. Koper was first populated during the early Roman period. The earliest remains of settlers on the island belong to Roman villae but the settlement developed most likely in the nearby hinterland (Sermin) as an emporium called Agida, mentioned by the Roman author Pliny the Elder. Later, different sovereignties ruled the area, which resulted in its different names at different periods. First came the Goths and the Byzantines (who called it Justinopolis), followed by Slavs, Lombards, Avars and then Franks. Lots more – often painful – changes followed right up to recent years and greatly affected this part of the Adriatic.
Trade between Koper and Venice has been recorded since 932. The Venetians, whose influence in the area was the most important, named the settlement Capo d’Istria (the Head of Istria). During the Venetian Republic (from 1278 to the 18th century), the town experienced an economic and cultural boom with salt production for Serenissima, the Republic of Venice. The art and architecture of the town and its heritage you can admire today (such as the Loggia, the Cathedral, the Praetorial Palace and other buildings belonging to the nobility) bear witness to the Venetian period and its influence. The historic town centre, with its diverse and complex history, is an ideal place – and a fascinating challenge – for heritage interpretation, while the modern town and its port on the other side of the town open numerous questions about sustainability and future development. Koper is a perfect place for the Interpret Europe conference.