RURITAGE, our international project focusing on cultural and natural heritage has reached a new phase, marked by the  knowledge-transfer  learning and mentoring visits. In August Molnar Sandor, the president of the Via Mariae Association, representing Pro Edu, has visited the UNESCO Karawanken-Karavanke Geopark to learn more about their abandoned pilgrimage route to Hemmaberg and to study the ways in which our good practices here at Maria Ut could be implemented by our Replicators for reviving this once famous pligrimage place. At the beginning of October it was our honour to welcome the representatives of the geopark for a 3 day visit to Csiksomlyo, during which they had the chance to experience a short journey on the pilgrimage route, they visited the Csikszomlyo Church and the Three Hill Altar, but also took part in the 9th edition of the Via Mariae Conference.

Our partners from UNESCO Global Geopark Karawanken- Karavanke from the Austrian-Slovenian border and the mayor of Globasnitz was hosted by Harghita County Council and the Pro Edu Association between 10-12th October within the framework of the Ruritage project. During the three-day visit, the partners had the opportunity to get to know the different sections of the Mary's Way and attend the IX. International Mary's Way Conference.
The highlight of the first day was the bear watching in Tusnad, followed by an official welcome dinner at the Jakab Antal House in Csíksomlyó. The second day of the visit started off with a longer pilgrimage to the Gyimes region: from the Fügés Pass through the Széphavas Mountain to the Ciherek Valley, the guests had a beautiful view and experienced what it is like to go on a pilgrimage in the countryside and take a themed guided tour. They saw signs along the way and sacred religious sites. The pilgrimage ended with a visit to the Csíksomlyó church, the final destinbation of the Via Mariae pilgrimage route. During the second half of the day, the members of the delegation attended the 9th Mary’s Way Conference where they had the chance to learn about several of the country's most important pilgrimage and thematic routes.

On the last day of the visit and the second day of the conference , Dr. Darja Komar, geologist of the Karavanke / Karawanken UNESCO Geopark, gave a presentation about the formation, day-to-day life and activities of the geopark. Antonia Weisenbacher, guide of the geopark spoke about the Hemma pilgrimage route which has recently been forgotten and many are unaware of its existence. Guests from the Austrian-Slovenian border participated actively in the roundtable of the conference, where they discussed the present and future of the Romanian thematic and pilgrimage routes with professionals and enthusiastic volunteers. The final moment of the conference and the exchange of experiences was a short pilgrimage around the Somlyó Mountain, led by Sándor Molnár, president of the  Mary`s Way Association. They also visited the Three Hill Altar on the Saddle, a place where hundreds of thousands of people gather year after year to celebrate Pentecost.

The visit ended with a short tour of the centre of Miercurea Ciuc, the county residence of our RM territory, Harghita county.

Photos: Urosh Grabner, Pro Edu


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