Millions of people will enjoy free access to thousands of rarely opened historic and cultural sites in 50 countries throughout September as part of the annual European Heritage Days, a joint initiative of the European Commission and Council of Europe. The 2013 European Heritage Days are officially launched tomorrow (30 August) in Yerevan, Armenia, which currently holds the Chairmanship of the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers. A new interactive website will also be launched on the same day: it will provide details of the sites which are open to the public, as well as information about special events taking place in each country to tie in with the Heritage Days.
As usual, this year's European Heritage Days is brimming with a rich and varied range of fascinating sites and events which bring history alive. In Northern Ireland, for instance, visitors will be invited to imagine going into battle during the Middle Ages as they "feel the heft of a sword and the weight of chain mail and the clang of a helmet visor". 'Power and Glory' is the theme in the Netherlands, where visitors will be able to experience 400 years of history. Sweden's 'Meeting Places' will offer an emotional journey to places of encounter and departure over the centuries, while Switzerland will light up the heritage landscape through the theme of fire, light and energy. (more...)