Application for certification
Each year, the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe (EPA) awards the certification "Cultural Route of the Council of Europe" to cultural route network applicants fulfilling the criteria set out in Council of Europe Committee of Ministers Resolution CM/Res(2013)67.
- European Network of Saint Michael's Sites and Ways
- Iter Romanum - Heritage & Cities
- Mary's Route
- Pyrenees Freedom Routes
- Romea Strata
- Saint Francis' Ways
- Singing Heritage Route
- Transhumance Trails and Rural Roads
European Network of Saint Michael's Sites and Ways
The European Network of Saint Michael's Sites and Ways brings together sanctuaries, sites, and places of cult dedicated to Saint Michel. The ways converging towards or linking these sites have been laid out on ancient pilgrimage routes or on ancient trade routes. They offer walkers and cyclists a soft mobility facilitating the discovery of heritage, history and the respect of the environment.
The eastern cult of Saint Michael appeared in Italy around the year 490 on the Gargano promontory. Various sanctuaries were founded from the 6th to the 9th century throughout Europe (in Italy, France, Ireland, Spain and Germany), including the foundation of Mont-Saint-Michel in the 8th century. Therefore, many sites dedicated to Saint Michael are to be found throughout Europe. Their history, their architecture, their painted or sculpted decors attract visitors and pilgrims. Several of them have been inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List (such as Monte Sant'Angelo, Mont-Saint-Michel and Skellig Michael).
The network currently involves members in France, Spain and Italy.
Iter Romanum - Heritage & Cities
The Roman Empire designed and built roads throughout its entire territory, creating a network of more than 300,000 kilometres of roadways. This immense network connected its capital, Rome, to the rest of its territories, from large cities to small towns and villages in the outlying areas. The Roman Road network freed vast areas of the empire from isolation and enabled economic, cultural and social exchange between very different societies, while also bringing them cohesion elements. Many European towns and cities today have existed since Roman times and many others were founded and flourished at the road intersections connecting the former.
Through the Roman road network, Iter Romanum links unique monumental sites from the Roman past, considered peripheral or secondary settlements in Roman times. These sites were founded, grew and evolved thanks to them branching off from the Roman road network, a connection that allowed them to follow the cultural, architectural and social trends emanating from Rome, as well as from the large cities of the time. Iter Romanum enhances an exceptional archaeological legacy: temples, defensive walls, villas, aqueducts, military camps, public baths, funerary steles, bridges and much more.
The network currently involves members in Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, Serbia and Spain.
The veneration of Mary, mother of Jesus, dates back to the beginning of Christianity. In particular in Central Europe, her veneration is manifested in buildings, statues, paintings, music, performing arts and in living traditions. In this region, more than 150 living shrines incarnate the living tradition of Mary’s veneration with countless holy wells, statues and regional sacred memories. These shrines are visited by 6-7 million pilgrims every year.
Mary’s Route integrates these shrines into a network of centres of pilgrimages and of veneration of Mary in ten countries, following a North-South and an East-West axes, with an extension of more than 6000 km long. Mary’s Route can be travelled by foot, bike, horse and even water, along the Danube River, while discovering the natural and cultural treasures and traditions of the countries crossed.
The network currently involves members in Austria, Czech Republic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia and the Czech Republic.
Pyrenees Freedom Routes
During the Second World War, from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, the Pyrenees were crossed by more than 30,000 escapees. It is in the central part of the Pyrenees (Ariège, Haute-Garonne and Hautes-Pyrénées) that the most important crossing routes are located, called " Pyrenees Freedom Routes". They constitute a close link between three nations: France, Spain and the United Kingdom, and bear witness to the crossing of the Pyrenees by hundreds of resistance fighters, aviators, Jews and many others, fleeing the Nazi regime.
The Pyrenees Freedom Routes are an opportunity to discover a heritage, exceptional landscapes and traditions and pay tribute to these heroes. Through the Pyrenean foothills and up to the highest peaks, the diversity of our territories and the richness of their heritage are offered to all (decorated caves, Roman remains, churches and medieval villages, calvaries, castles...), in a majestic atmosphere.
The network currently involves members in France, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Romea Strata is an ancient pilgrimage route travelled by pilgrims from Central and Eastern Europe on their way to Rome: from the Baltic Sea, they crossed Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic and Austria and entered the north-east of Italy through the town of Tarvisio. This 4.000 km journey represents a point of union between the East and the West, connecting local and regional pilgrim ways in 7 countries.
Romea Strata stands out due to the variety of elements and experiences that have been stratified along this route throughout history. It was used for multiple purposes, including the trade of amber, salt, iron and silk. This led to the development of artistic and architectural assets along the route, including hospitality establishments, churches and museums. The route was also frequented by enlightened minds who left their mark in the field of science, such as Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo Galilei; and traversed by fundamental figures who spread Christianity, Judaism and Protestantism.
The network currently involves members in Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
Saint Francis' Ways
Saint Francis’ Ways propose a series of thematic itineraries and territorial routes that allow citizens to get in contact with the precious legacy of Saint Francis. The network of pilgrimage routes connects Assisi with the main Franciscan places and the great destinations of medieval spirituality: Santiago, Rome and Jerusalem.
Along the Saint Francis’ Ways, visitors and travellers can discover art places, UNESCO heritage sites, unique examples of architecture, painting and literature, botany and pharmacy, as well as music. Walking along the Way of Saint Francis constitutes an authentic spiritual path. The figure of Saint Francis embodies the value of dialogue, peace, respect for the other, and the multiculturalism from medieval times up to the present day.
The network currently involves members in Cyprus, Croatia, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Malta, Palestine, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Slovakia, Hungary and the USA.
Singing Heritage Route
Singing traditions in Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have been and still are extraordinarily important. They have preserved culture and language, kept national and regional cultures alive, and have been the main channel for cultures to share values and concepts before writing technology.
Today the Singing Heritage Route presents these singing traditions linked to museums, villages, festivals and events, as well as beautiful landscapes and nature, war memorials, churches and religious monuments. It enhances singing traditions such as the “runosong” tradition of Finland, Ingria, Karelia and Estonia, “leelo” singing tradition in South-East Estonia, multipart singing tradition called singing with “pusbolss” in Eastern Latvia, “sutartinés” in Lithuania as well as Baltic song and dance celebrations.
The network currently involves members in Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Lithuania.
Transhumance Trails and Rural Roads
Transhumant pastoralism has contributed to shape the culture of Europe. It has originated a rich and diverse tangible and intangible heritage and a peculiar cultural landscape of pastures and meadows produced for millennia by the constant interaction between man and nature. It has also left a tangible legacy, such as artifacts and settlement, as well as an intangible one in the form of a set of beliefs, religious symbols, narratives and cultural practices. Ancient gods and Christian saints inspired herders, thus countless sanctuaries, temples and chapels have been constructed to honour them. Transhumance is also at the origin of ancient myths, unique gastronomy and traditional craftsmanship.
Today, the Transhumance Trails and Rural Roads Route brings together a network of drove roads and tracks of transhumance spanning across European and extra European areas, such as Latin America, North Africa and the Middle East. A constellation of archaeological sites, small villages, vast horizons and gorgeous scenarios invites travellers to discover the transhumance legacy.
The network currently involves members in France, Italy, Mexico, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.