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European Waterways Heritage: Re-evaluating European Minor Rivers and Canals as Cultural Landscapes

The context
The presence in many European countries of artificial waterways and connected natural hydrography can be considered a relevant cultural heritage. Characterized by an intrinsic hydraulic complexity, this heritage goes back far in time at least to the Middle Age, develops further during the Renaissance and reaches its maturity during the industrial era. In some cases, this hydraulic network is already a tourist resort; in other cases, it is a hidden potential for sustainable development. Such a precious, historic heritage deserves today a renewed, coordinated commitment to its re-valuation, by considering both the structural hydraulic works (canals, bridges, locks, shipyards, mills, quays) and the historic artefacts in peril (traditional wooden boats).

Aims and objectives of the project and its relevance
The project aims to promote the knowledge and rehabilitation of European historic waterways and rivers cultural heritage. Such a connection between natural and artificial water networks favoured the expansion of urban centres and the development and expansion of trade, thus interacting with flood control strategies and the construction of rural landscapes. It is therefore necessary to develop new, more coordinated strategies to promote memory and identity of river cultures, linking the institutional activities and encouraging the exchange of experiences. Other relevant objective is to develop new opportunities for ecotourism and outdoor recreation along the European waterways, as a driver of sustainable development.

Expected outcomes

  1. census, inventory and filing of waterscapes material and non-material heritage
  2. four meetings among different academic contexts, enhancing interdisciplinary approach
  3. a number (approximately twelve cultural itineraries) aimed to re-evaluate the local material and non material heritage
  4. a dedicate, innovative APP about hydraulic heritage along small rivers and canals
  5. dissemination of research results and cultural itineraries through social networks in order to increase public awareness
  6. two publications (final proceeding, monograph) and a number of scientific papers
  7. four dissemination workshops involving research groups and local relevant stakeholders



EuWather on the Heritage Research Hub

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