Extending the Pilgrimage: a journey between tangible and intangible religious heritage

Extending the Pilgrimage: a journey between tangible and intangible religious heritage

From 19 to 22 March 2015 The Sociedad Regional de Cultura y Deporte of Cantabria, in Spain welcomed 25 experts on religious heritage from across Europe for an international conference organized in the framework of the ALTERheritage project.

ALTERheritage aims to make existing material for vocational learning on religious heritage conservation and management available to a larger proportion of the sector in Europe. It is funded through the Leonardo, Lifelong Learning programme of the European Commission. This event was the sixth in the seminar series and was hosted by Centro de Estudios Lebaniegos in Potes, FRH member and partner in the project.

The three-day conference explored the link between tangible and intangible heritage through pilgrimages. Visits and encounters with local leaders in the political, tourism, and church worlds added greatly to the conference discussions. It focused on the importance of the restoration and of the protection of religious heritage in Cantabria and in Europe. This is a topic that is relevant to the North and South, East and West of Europe, and the partnership is a good step to come together on this issue.

The delegates spent part of their journey visiting churches and religious sites, such as the Santo Toribio de Liébana Monastery, Santa María de Lebeña Church, Santa María la Real de Piasca Church, Santa María de Lebeña Church, the Dioceses Museum of Santillana and Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles Church.

During the conference, the delegates met with the Dean of the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral and listened to his inspiring speech. They also experienced the rich culture and history of this fascinating region.

The President of FRH, Future for Religious heritage, Olivier de Rohan Chabot, highlighted the importance to raise awareness of the public opinion and all the institutional stakeholders on the safeguarding of religious heritage and to keep momentum.


Joaquin Solanas, General Director of Culture for the Cantabria Government, emphasized the ambition of the region to listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. FRH and the partnership was pleased to see coverage of the event in El Mundo and Diario de Montanas, among others, which testifies to the greater interest in the that initiative.

FRH’s mission is to help inspiring people across Europe to get excited about the conservation of cultural and religious heritage. A recent EU poll, published last year, showed 4 out of 5 consider the religious buildings in their midst to be crucial.

As announced in Cantabria, the next ALTERheritage conference will be organized in June in Leuven, Belgium.

Read the articles:

Diario de Montanas

El Mundo (PDF)


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