BlueLink steers a heritage protection action plan for prosperity in three poor Danubean municipalities

Mayors of the municipalities of Belene, Nikopol and Gulyantsi and BlueLInk’s Chief Editor Pavel Antonov signed an Action Plan for Municipal and Regional Development through the Valorization of the Danube-related Cultural Heritage in the municipalities of Belene, Gulyantsi and  Nikopol. The plan is the first for the Danube region within the DANUrB+ project, financed by the EU and Bulgaria.

Congratulations on the first locally signed Action Plan under the City Brand Danube+: Building regional and local sustainability through the valorization of the cultural heritage along the Danube (DANUrB+) project, said the project’s lead Prof. Balint Kadar of the Budapest University of Architecture and Technology. 11 more local action plans are being developed in six Danube countries. "Valorization means that the local communities benefit from the preservation and sustainable use of the joint cultural and historical heritage around the Danube," explained the leading expert of "BlueLink" Dr. Gavrail Gavrailov.

The joint action plan will help local people in the Danubian municipalities of Gulyantsi, Nikopol and Belene in Bulgaria. Based on a thorough study of local resources and development plans, the plan contains 16 sites to be implemented within three years. They include heritage objects, events and products, many of which have already been nominated for the Danube Quality Label by the DANUrB+ project. Among them: a literary route tracing the memory of the first modern Bulgarian printed book Abagar; memorial tourism on the notorious prison island of Persin; a cultural landscape near the ancient city of Ulpia Eskus; and the wealth of local languages, rituals and culinary traditions in the region.

The signed Action Plan relies on cross-points between the three integrated Municipal Management programmes, which is a prerequisite for budgetary financing of the proposed projects. At the same time the BlueLink Foundation is a guarantor and expert partner and is already looking for funding and partnerships to ensure the implementation of the plan and the projects included in it.

BlueLink’s innovative concept includes providing expert and IT support for full cooperation between local communities, civil society and journalists, explained Dr. Pavel Antonov, co-founder and managing editor of BlueLink. Through the international network of DANUrB+, we will attract neighboring Romanian municipalities to the joint actions, so that the Danube does not divide them, but connects them for the future, emphasized Antonov.

"Our region is one of the poorest not only in Bulgaria, but also in the EU, but it has a rich history, culture and traditions. Our goal is for the region to become a popular tourist destination as an opportunity for the economic development of the municipalities", said Ivelin Savov, Mayor of Nikopol Municipality. This process is not easy and it is important to involve the local community as well. "But turning this goal into a regional policy between neighboring municipalities is the most correct approach," Savov was emphatic.

The mayor of Gulyantsi municipality Lachezar Yakov expressed his satisfaction with the outcome of the project’s activities, declaring a definite desire for joint actions which would give the three municipalities a chance to revive their touristic sites.

The mayor of the municipality of Belene Milen Doulev noted that in a very small area along the Danube in the three neighboring municipalities completely different and unique things can be seen. Which is a great prerequisite for upgrading the joint cooperation in tourism.

"Perhaps in recent years the area is becoming depopulated, but I believe that with the power of this great river and your history and cultural heritage, there will be an opportunity for future generations and young people to stay and build their lives here," said Kadar.

Journalists and participants in the ceremony got acquainted with the local cultural and historical features of Nikopol and explored the nearby islands and the rock church "St. Stephen" by boat. A video recording of the ceremony is available on the BlueLink Facebook page.

Gavrailov called on the journalists to be ambassadors of the "Ulpia Eskus - Nove BG" region. After the ceremony, he held the first working meeting to create a literary route in the area, dedicated to the heritage of Abagar. A breviary by the Bulgarian Roman Catholic Bishop of Nikopol Filip Stanislavov, the historic book was printed in Rome in 1651. It is regarded as the first printed book in modern Bulgarian. BlueLink’s initiative for a digitalised version of the book to be used as a local tourist attraction has attracted interest in the region.

In addition to representatives of the three municipalities, the expert from the Ministry of Tourism Nikola Manevski participated in it, as well as experts from Svishtov and Oresh - the birthplace of the compiler of "Abagar", later Bishop of Nikopol Philip Stanislavov.

The activities are part of a project DANUbe Urban Brand + Building Regional and Local Resilience through the Valorization of Danube's Cultural Heritage (DANUrB+). The project is co-financed by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), as well as by the national budget of the Republic of Bulgaria through the budget of the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works.


These activities are part of the DANube Urban Brand + Building Regional and Local Resilience through the Valorization of Danube’s Cultural Heritage (DANUrB+). The project is Co-financed by the EU through the EUropean Regional Development Fund and the Pre-Accession Instrument, as well as the national budget of Bulgaria through the Ministry of Regional Development.