Opening Conference for the 50th Anniversary of the European Cultural Convention
Wrocław, Poland
9-10 December 2004

Awards Ceremony for Five Cultural Routes

9 December 2004

“Parks and Gardens, Landscape” Route
Presentation by Mr Pranas ZEIMYS
Mayor of Palanga, Lithuania

(To be checked against delivered speech)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Parks and Gardens have been chosen in 1993 as a key theme for implementing a pan-European route which was more closely linked to landscape as a whole since the launching of the European Landscape Convention in year 2000.

This route was implemented in various European countries and succeeded to put into practice its multidisciplinary as well as its European citizenship dimensions and of course its importance for the awareness rising in environment protection.

From the South of France with Terrasson Gardens which helped partners to establish contacts and share concerns and strategies, to the magnificent gardens of Cornwall, from the cradle of formal gardens in Tuscany and South Spain to the landscape Parks of Ireland or Lithuania or urban Parks in Luxembourg, some of the most significant heritages as well as contemporary gardens are now part of an enlarged family backed by the Council of Europe.

I am particularly proud to say that this frame – among all the themes that have been integrated into the Cultural Routes Programme of the Council of Europe – is one which really enabled a true and long lasting co-operation between Western and Eastern Europe and a close co-operation between local authorities which are in most cases the owners or responsible bodies of these natural heritages.

“Which man was closer to a tree – asks the famous Lithuanian poet and winner of the Accord Prize, Justinas Marcinkevicius – the one who 2000 years ago could see in it a miracle, a power of growth, ramification of deity and its talk in leaves, or the nowadays man familiar with its chemical composition, the secret of growth and destination of leaves? Knowing a thing or phenomenon is not equivalent to being close to it. It is strange that science sort of alienated man from nature, ousting him from the universe and lifting above it. We have not yet learned a new kind of relationship with nature. So we are advancing toward it as a conquered land where one can plunder, kill and destroy… Often, for no reason at all. Unity between man and nature, and their blood relationship is sensed in art rather than in science. Science treats nature as a laboratory while art considers it a home and sanctuary”.

I believe and wish we were the artists of nature creating its cozy house and bearing its sanctuary in the heart. This is our common cause and survival, and a link among our cultures.