Collaboration with Council of Europe
The Department of Cultural Heritage under the Ministry of Culture (the Department) takes an active part in the activities and programmes initiated by the Council of Europe. Since 1995 the Department has been involved in the work of CDCPP (Steering Committee for Culture, Heritage and Landscape) which is the main body for intergovernmental cooperation in the field of cultural heritage.
The Department is represeneted in the HEREIN Network and is participating in such programmes of the Council of Europe as "European Heritage Days", "European Day of Jewish Culture", "European Cultural Routes".
European Heritage Days
The annual events of the Council of Europe programme "European Heritage Days" have been held in Lithuania since 1994. They are coordinated and organized by the Culture Heritage Department under the Ministry of Culture, as well as by municipalities of towns and districts. Every year the events attract a lot of attention and a huge number of participants from various society groups.
Each year the "European Heritage Days" in Lithuania have a special theme with the aim to promote specific related objects and their cultural values. The initiative of the "European Heritage Days" gives a good possibility to promote and increase the awareness and understanding of cultural heritage values, to highlight its importance in the history of Lithuania and the whole Europe, to develop an integral identity of the Lithuania and European citizens.
The theme of the "European Heritage Days 2014" in Lithuania – "The flavor of the beginning of the XXth century". The events were aimed to acquaint the public with the most important historical and political issues of the first decades of the last century, to reveal the processes of science, art and cultural heritage of that period.
During the "European Heritage Days 2014" in Lithuania about 200 various events were held in 48 municipalities of the country and attracted more than 12 000 people.
Themes of the previous "European Heritage Days" in Lithuania:
- 2013 - Imprints of Epochs
- 2012 - Genius Loci. Spirit of Place
- 2011 - Hidden treasures. Wall painting
- 2010 - Family and Cultural Heritage
- 2009 - Creating History Together
- 2008 - Historical Organs in Lithuania
- 2007 - Cultural Routes
- 2006 - Preserving the Past
- 2005 - Cultural Properties and Cultural Tourism
- 2004 - Jewish Cultural Heritage in Lithuania
- 2003 - Historic Towns: Old and Modern
- 2002 - Wooden Architecture in Lithuania
- 2001 - Defensive Fortifications in Lithuania
- 2000 - Industrial Heritage in Lithuania
- 1999 - Historical Parks and Gardens in Lithuania
- 1998 - The Protection of Cultural Heritage: Citizenry, Society, Polity
- 1997 - Residential Buildings and Manors in Lithuania
- 1996 - The Use of Historic Monuments
- 1995 - Early Masonry Construction in Vilnius
European Cultural Routes
The Programme of Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe was launched in 1987 with the aim to reveal the many aspects of the cultural identity of Europe, strengthen cultural tourism and develop cultural cooperation between countries. For coordination of the Programme, the European Institute of Cultural Routes was established in Luxembourg in 1997.
In order to disseminate knowledge and understanding about the common European heritage as well as develop cultural links and the dialogue both within Europe and with other countries and regions, on 8 December 2010 the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted Resolution (2010)53 establishing an Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes (hereinafter, the EPA). The EPA seeks to form a common cultural area by creating Cultural Routes, which would promote awareness-raising with regard to heritage as well as foster education, cooperation within networks, quality, sustainable foreign tourism and related activities. The creation of new Cultural Routes should focus, in particular, on the topics which have a symbolic importance for Europe's unity, history, culture and values and which provide an opportunity to discover less-known places. By promoting thematic and alternative tourist routes and cultural projects, the EPA contributes to the preservation of various types of heritage.
On the initiative of the Department of Cultural Heritage under the Ministry of Culture (hereinafter, the Department), on 8 June 2012 Lithuania officially acceded to the EPA to become the 15th member of the Programme. The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania delegated the Head of the Department's Heritage Registry, Public Relations and Education Division, Alfredas Jomantas, as a representative of Lithuania for the Programme; he was elected a member of the Bureau of the EPA Governing Board during a Board meeting in April 2014.
The European Route of Jewish Heritage
In 2004, Lithuania symbolically marked the route approved by the Council of Europe, The European Route of Jewish Heritage, by affixing a symbolic plaque on a wooden synagogue of the town of Žiežmariai to mark the start of the route. Thus Lithuania officially participates in this European route, though a consistent route, which could be an extension of the European project and become a part of The European Route of Jewish Heritage, so far has not been developed.
Every year, in September, Europe commemorates the European Day of Jewish Culture, which is an integral part of the programme supported by the Council of Europe, The European Route of Jewish Heritage. Internationally, this project is coordinated by the European Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Culture and Heritage (AEPJ), which proposes the theme for the events of the European Day of Jewish Culture every year.
Lithuania has been commemorating the European Day of Jewish Culture since 2005 attracting the attention of the society towards the local Jewish cultural heritage. Every year people are invited to exhibitions, concerts, lectures and other events disclosing the theme of that year's European Day of Jewish Culture. In Lithuania, these events are organised by the Department of Cultural Heritage under the Ministry of Culture in cooperation with Jewish communities of Lithuania, urban and rural municipalities, museums, schools as well as other educational and cultural establishments.
In 2014, the events of the European Day of Jewish Culture were held on 14 September. The theme of the events was "Women in Judaism" that revealed a special status of women in the tradition of Judaism, their lifestyle, family duties and responsibilities, which were not considered less important than those of men. This intriguing theme offers not only to examine various aspects of the Judaic tradition, lifestyle and daily life, but also remember famous Jewish women and disclose their contribution to the culture of nowadays.
In 2014, the events of the European Day of Jewish Culture took place in ten cities and towns of Lithuania and attracted more than 2 000 participants.
The European Cemeteries Route
The European Cemeteries Route is a unique project of cultural tourism inviting us to familiarise with the rich heritage of the best-known European cemeteries, reflecting social, cultural and historical development of cities and local communities. This route aims at reviving, preserving and cherishing European cemeteries and single graves, which are the most significant from historical or artistic point of view, as important spiritual and cultural heritage of the humanity. The European Cemeteries Route was established in 2009 by the Association of Significant Cemeteries in Europe (ASCE). In 2010, the Council of Europe recognised this Route as a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe.
The Department of Cultural Heritage under the Ministry of Culture is a member of ASCE and takes part in the activities of the Association as from its very establishment. In 2002, Vilnius hosted a congress of ASCE members to discuss issues of restoration of cemeteries. The Department took part in the issue of the publication "Cemeteries of Europe: a Historical Heritage to Appreciate and Restore" in 2004; it was issued in five languages – English, Lithuanian, Italian, Slovene and Swedish. The publication provided a description of the best-known cemeteries of 30 European cities including the Rasų, Antakalnio and Bernardinų cemeteries in Vilnius.
Every year, Europe commemorates the Week of Discovering European Cemeteries as a part of the European Cemeteries Route. The Department of Cultural Heritage also commemorates this Week by organising events with regard to heritage of cemeteries, such as guided tours to significant cemeteries of Vilnius, lectures or artistic programmes.