Study visit 1: White marble stone and narrow streets – the World Heritage city of Šibenik
Some cities along the Adriatic coast were established by Greeks, Illyrians or Romans. Šibenik, however, was founded by Croats in 1066.
Over the centuries it has absorbed Venetian, Byzantine, Hungarian and Habsburg influences while city rulers always ensured it retained its Croatian identity that is such an attraction today.
The city’s jewel is the 15th Century Cathedral of St. James whose walls and roof were built entirely of stone. Today it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The four historic fortresses of Šibenik have witnessed an eventful history, as have its narrow streets which are so typical of Mediterranean communities.
We will visit the City museum's new permanent exhibition of Šibenik history and take a specially-prepared guided tour of the old town and the Cathedral. Then we will have a chance to discuss, with local stakeholders, the link between heritage interpretation and tourism.
Study visit 2: Spectacular waterfalls and much more – Krka National Park
Most tourists come to Krka National Park to marvel at the world-famous cascades of the Skradinski waterfalls set in stunning natural surroundings. Water, is the main attraction in this protected area. But there is much more to discover here from ancient monasteries and one of the oldest hydroelectric power plants in the World (1895) to an open air museum with live demonstrations.
The Park management is facing the challenge of managing visitor flows in the most accessible and best-known areas, which are often over-crowded, while other parts of the Park remain largely unvisited. We will discuss these challenges as well as the contribution that heritage interpretation could make toward these issue as well as its potential benefits for local people.
Study visit 3: Corals, sponges and other treasures – Krapanj and Zlarin
More than 1200 islands are situated off shore the Croatian coast but only 47 of them are inhabited. We will visit two of these ‘pearls’ where old maritime customs have continued to evolve into modern times.
The Isle of Zlarin is famous for coral hunting and the craft of making coral jewellery. Many people used to earn their living from it and the island hosted a large number of coral workshops. Today there is only one left and very few people still keep up the skill of coral diving. Nearby Krapanj is the island of sponges and it is facing similar problems – as well as development possibilities – as Zlarin.
Tourism on these islands is currently limited to just two months during the summer. We will discuss how heritage interpretation could help to attract new target audiences during the early and later seasons and in that way help to generate income from sustainable tourism for the local economy.