Unleashing the tourism potential of historical fortresses in the western Balkans

The EU-funded Fortress Reinvented project aims to develop and promote the tourism potential of historical fortifications in the cross-border area of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Adriatic Croatia and Montenegro. Its work in this field involves applying innovative approaches to showcasing digital content about cultural and historical heritage compiled under the project.

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A montage of the St Michael’s, Klis, Vranduk and Kanli Kula fortresses ©Public A montage of the St Michael’s, Klis, Vranduk and Kanli Kula fortresses ©Public

" The lead partner, Šibenik City Museum, has already participated in EU projects dedicated to revitalisation of historical fortresses. Therefore, it proposed to other fortresses in the programme area to join in a cross-border project that would help its partners to exchange experiences and transfer know-how in tourism and culture, and also discover new ways to present heritage. St Michael’s Fortress and Klis (Croatia), Vranduk Fortress in Zenica (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Kanli Kula Fortress (Montenegro) joined to create synergies for future stronger and harmonised development of cultural tourism in these countries. "

Kata Žganjer, Fortress Reinvented project manager

Technological innovations for transmitting digital content will improve the visitor experience at four historical fortresses: St Michael’s and Klis in Croatia; Vranduk in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina; and Kanli Kula in Herceg Novi, Montenegro.

One of the main achievements of the project will be creating a ‘Fortress Reality Window’ at each site, which will increase the fortresses’ attractiveness and serve as a marketing channel by creating a unique cultural route of historical fortresses. It comes in the form of a touchscreen with an application that allows visitors to take a tour of the other three fortresses using live-streaming technology.

Audio guides and info points

All four fortresses covered by the project benefit from the installation of state-of-the-art audio guides, while digital touchscreen kiosks displaying information on the fortresses are being established in and around the towns and cities where they are located.

A further element of Fortress Reinvented concerns training. By the end of the project, 120 participants will have attended courses on quality assurance, standardisation and destination management related to heritage sites. Improving knowledge and transfer of know-how in this way will lead to sustainable and responsible tourism management of historical fortification monuments.

A shared tourist offering

The St Michael’s, Klis, Vranduk and Kanli Kula fortresses are all of very high historical value and have an important role to play in creating a shared offering for tourists in the border area between the three countries. Fortress Reinvented seeks to capitalise on this cultural heritage and on the experience of the lead partner, Šibenik City Museum, in previous projects dedicated to revitalising of historical fortresses, with a view to increasing the sustainability of and expanding the local tourist industry.

More than EUR 1.3 million has been invested in the project, with in excess of EUR 1.1 million supplied by the EU. Of this sum, EUR 823 010 has gone towards buying equipment necessary to implement the various digital and technological innovations. These innovations will place the fortresses firmly on Europe’s cultural map and should lead to increases in visitor numbers.

With its cross-border approach, Fortress Reinvented aims to stimulate growth and harmonised development of cultural tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro, as well as opening up opportunities for communication, experience exchange, knowledge transfer and organisation of joint cultural events. At the same time, by introducing innovative perspectives, the activities should enhance the knowledge of stakeholders involved in creating the regional tourist offering and managing cultural heritage sites, and help discover new ways of presenting heritage.

Total investment and EU funding 

Total investment for the project “Fortress Reinvented – innovative approach and digital contents in historical fortification monuments” is EUR 1 310 232, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 1 113 697 through the “IPA CBC Croatia – Bosnia and Herzegovina – Montenegro” Operational Programme for the 2014-2020 programming period.

 

Draft date

02/11/2018