VIII International Conference of Eurasia World Heritage Cities “Children, Heritage, Tourism” took place on April 22-23 in Safranbolu (Turkey). Over 70 mayors, representatives of local governments and experts in the field of culture and heritage, representatives of 26 cities from 7 countries of Eurasia took part in the Conference.
The conference was opened by Mayor of Safranbolu Dr.Necdet Aksoy. Member of UCLG World Council, Mayor of Astrakhan Alena Gubanova delivered welcome speech on behalf of the cities of UCLG-Eurasia. In her speech she highlighted that within the territory of Eurasia there are monuments embodying the unique heritage of nations that live in Europe and Asia and that represent the exceptional testimony of cultural diversity for the whole world. Also Secretary General of the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) Denis Ricard and Governor of Karabuk Province Mehmet Aktash welcomed the guests.
Following the Opening ceremony in solemn atmosphere the Agreement on establishment of twinning relations between the UNESCO World Heritage cities Bolgar (Republic of Tatarstan, Russia) and Safranbolu (Karabuk Province, Turkey) was signed. Head of Bolgar Kamil Nugaev and Mayor of Safranbolu Necdet Aksoy exchanged memorable gifts.
During the conference three exhibitions were presented to the participants. The first was the exhibition of Eurasia World Heritage cities where the stands of such cities as Kazan, Bolgar, Yelabuga, Yaroslavl, Suzdal, Veliky Novgorod (Russia), Aktau (Kazakhstan), Safranbolu (Turkey), Denpasar and Gianyar (Indonesia) were presented.
The best works of the participants of the Children Drawings’ Contest “Heritage of Eurasia through Children’s Eyes” were presented at the second exhibition. This competition was held in conjunction with the conference and Children’s Day in Turkey and was organized for the purpose of fostering careful attitude for the heritage among younger generation and promotion of cultural heritage sites’ of Eurasian cities. The receipt of works was from February 01 to April 10, 2017. 1679 children from 153 Eurasian cities took part in the competition. Participants of the competition reflected in their drawings cultural heritage of their cities and area they live in. On April 14 the Contest commission consisting of art schools’ teachers defined the prize-winners and diploma holders.
During the conference Regional Coordinator of OWHC Secretariat for Euro-Asia Rasikh Sagitov announced the results of the children drawings’ contest and presented the best works to the participants of the event. In the age category 2-5 years children from Pervouralsk, Omsk and Kazan became the winners. Children from Kazan, Minusinsk and Norilsk took prizes in the age category 6-8 years. In the age category 9-11 years drawings from Yakutsk, Nalchik took prizes. The works of the young artists from Naberezhnye Chelny, Omsk, Krasnoyarsk and Nizhny Novgorod became the best in the age category 12-14 years.
Besides, the exhibition of drawings made by children with limited intellectual capacities from Safranbolu was presented at the conference. All exhibitions aroused lively interest among participants.
Kamil Nugaev, Head of Spassky Municipal District of the Republic of Tatarstan (Russia), Dr.Katalin Kiss, Heritage Teacher, Architect, Honorary Coordinator of OWHC-CEER (Budapest, Hungary), Doç. Dr. Arzu Özyürek, Faculty of Health Sciences of Karabük University (Turkey), Oleg Ivanov, Executive Director of the Council of Moscow Region Municipal Entities (Russia), Fatima Kardanova, First Deputy of the Head of Baksan Administration, Kabardino-Balkar Republic (Russia), Liudmila Lubskaya, Deputy Head for Socail Affairs of Klintsy Administration (Russia), Venera Sadritdinova, Head of the Museum Pedagogy Department of Yelabuga State Historical-Architectural and Art Museum-Reserve (Russia) delivered a speech at the first plenary session “Education of Children with a Spirit of Respect for the Heritage”. Mayor of Safranbolu Dr.Necdet Aksoy was the moderator of the session.
The second plenary session was dedicated to the theme “Material Culture of the Nation as a Basis for Tourist Attractiveness of the Area”. Gulzada Rudenko, Director General of Yelabuga State Historical-Architectural and Art Museum-Reserve was a moderator. The speakers of the session were Başak Dökmeci, Architect, Directorate for Reconstruction and Urban Planning of Safranbolu Municipality, Isa Khaskhanov, Adviser of the Mayor of Grozny, Artem Silkin, Director of State Historical, architectural and Art Museum “Island Town Sviyazhsk”, Prof. Dr.Aysun Özköse, Head of Architecture Department of Fethi Toker Fine Arts and Design Faculty of Karabuk University, Aynaz Mustafina, Chief Specialist of the Islam Culture Museum
The third plenary session devoted to the theme “Intangible Cultural Heritage as a Source of Event Tourism” was held by Evgeniya Lodvigova, Vice-Mayor of Kazan. The report on the theme were presented by Aysen Nikolaev, Mayor of Yakutsk, UCLG Vice-President, Natalya Maslennikova, Deputy of Khural (Parliament) of Kyzyl Representatives of the fourth convocation, Member of the Committee for Education, Science and Youth Policy of Khural (Parliament) of Kyzyl Representatives, Valentina Shumlyanskaya, Chairperson of Voronezh Regional Association “Assa”, Elena Merzon, Director of Yelabuga Institute of Kazan Federal University, Doç. Dr. Nuray Türker, Deputy Dean of Architecture Department of Fethi Toker Fine Arts and Design Faculty of Karabuk University, Aytekin Kuş, Journalist-Researcher, Tatyana Nazarova, Scientific Secretary of Yelabuga State Historical-Architectural and Art Museum-Reserve
VIII International Conference of Eurasia World Heritage Cities is unique. It is dedicated not only to children but has been organized with their participation. Together with participants a group of children from Bolgar and Yelabuga arrived to the conference. They got acquainted with history and heritage of Safranbolu, at the local school met and exchanged experience with children from Safranbolu. Besides, on April 23 they performed national songs and dances on the holiday “Children’s Day”, thus presenting intangible heritage of their cities. “This is enormous experience indeed. Children are our future and today we educate them with a spirit of respect for the heritage”, highlighted Alena Gubanova, Mayor of Astrakhan, Member of the World Council of UCLG.
The 14th Extended Meeting of the Council of Eurasian Section of the World Organization “United Cities and Local Governments” (UCLG) chaired by UCLG Vice-President, Mayor of Yakutsk Aysen Nikolaev took place within the framework of the conference.
Secretary General Rasikh Sagitov presented a report on the activity of UCLG-Eurasia for 2016-2017 to the members of the Council that was unanimously admitted as good. They highly evaluated the activity of the secretariat of UCLG-Eurasia. “The city of Astrakhan takes part in the activity of many organizations. However, I would like to highlight the UCLG organization that provides us with an opportunity to take part in global decision-making process. Eurasian section of the organization is the most active and bright in terms of speeches, and united that allows estimating its activity as excellent” noted Alena Gubanova, Mayor of Astrakhan, and Member of the World Council of UCLG in her speech.
“A great thing is being done, due to UCLG we are recognizable everywhere” complemented the report on the activity Kamil Nugaev, Head of Spassky Municipal District.
During the discussion on new members the resolution on admission of the city of Sukhum (Abkhazia) and Agryz Municipal district of the Republic of Tatarstan (Russia) to the UCLG was adopted. New members were awarded certificates of membership.
“We join UCLG as it is a strong organization having great future” highlighted Valery Makarov, Head of Agryz Municipal District, in his speech.
The third issue on the agenda of the Council’s session was the expenditure of the organization. Kamil Nugaev, Head of Spassky Municipal District, Chairman of the audit commission of UCLG submitted the results of the review of financial and economic activity for 2016. The report of the audit commission was approved unanimously. Cost estimates and work plan for 2017 were also adopted.
In the evening the reception on behalf of Mayor of Safranbolu Dr.Necdet Aksoy where in the solemn atmosphere the personalities, who made considerable contribution to the preservation and promotion of historical heritage, were awarded took place. Mayor of Safranbolu Dr.Necdet Aksoy, Secretary General of OWHC Denis Ricard and Regional Coordinator of OWHC Euro-Asia Region Rasikh Sagitov presented awards signed by the President of the Organization of the World Heritage Cities Mayor of Lyon Gerard Collomb and Secretary General of OWHC Denis Ricard. The awards were conferred on Gulzada Rudenko, Director General of Yelabuga State Historical-Architectural and Art Museum-Reserve, Kamil Nugaev, Head of Spassky Municipal District, Alfiya Galiullina, Head of the Choreography Group “Seilyan” – the diploma for contribution to the preservation of Tatar identity; Liliya Diyarova, Head of the Department for Realization of Programs and Events of the Kazan Committee for Tourism, Dr.Katalin Kiss, Architect, Heritage Teacher in Budapest, Architect, former Regional Coordinator of OWHC-CEER, Harun Arslan, Deputy Head of the Department of External Affairs of the city of Safranbolu.
Due to the magnificent samples of classic Ottoman architecture in 1994 Safranbolu was added to the list of World Heritage of UNESCO. Besides, the city is one of the 20 most well-preserved cities of Europe. During the conference participants were provided with an opportunity to get acquainted with historical heritage of Safranbolu that is extremely rich and includes over thousands architectural monuments that are samples of Turkish architecture preserved in its original form. These buildings include individual houses, mansions, fountains, mosques, bathhouses and many others.