n 1987, the Council of Europe launched the Cultural Routes Program to find out how the heritage of Europe’s different countries and cultures contributes to our common cultural heritage – on a journey through space and time. In 1998, the European Institute of Cultural Routes was established in Luxembourg. In 2010, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe approved the Resolution CM/Res (2010) no. 53, which laid down an agreement (The Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes – EPA) allowing for a closer cooperation between the countries with a special interest in the development of cultural routes. In 2013, Resolution CM/Res (2013) no. 67 was adopted, which defines the rules for granting the “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe” certificate.
The key aim of the Agreement on Cultural Routes is to strengthen the potential of cultural routes in cultural co-operation, sustainable territorial development and social cohesion, with a special focus on the themes of symbolic importance for European unity, history, culture and values, and the discovery of less known destinations. It helps to strengthen the democratic dimension of cultural exchange and tourism by engaging local networks and associations, local and regional authorities, universities and professional organizations. It contributes to preserving the diverse cultural heritage through thematic and alternative tourist routes and cultural projects.
By 2021, altogether 45 Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe were approved with a very divergent topical focus to showcase European memory, history and heritage and contribute to an interpretation of the diversity of present-day Europe.
The Cyril and Methodius Route was added in 2021. The Cyril and Methodius Route is the first route recognized by the Council of Europe with a focus on Slavic cultural heritage. The European Cultural Route of Cyril and Methodius is a comprehensive cultural and tourist route in Central, Southern and Eastern Europe. It is currently being built in the Czech Republic, Slovak Republic and Bulgaria. It is aimed at supporting cultural tourism and pilgrim tourism. It is focused on the unique cultural and historical legacy of St. Cyril and Methodius as the co-patrons of Europe, uniting Eastern and Western nations.
On May 17, 2022, a ceremonial event was held in Zlín. The association European Cultural Route of St. Cyril and Methodius, with Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra as its valid member, was awarded the prestigious Cultural Tour of the Council of Europe certificate by Mr. Stefan Dominioni, Director of the European Institute of Cultural Routes in Luxembourg. The ceremonial act took place during the international conference “Cyril and Methodius Route – Cultural Route of the Council of Europe” where prof. PhDr. Peter Ivanič, Ph.D. presented a paper co-authored with Dr. Vida Vukoja from the Old Slavonic Institute in Zagreb on the “European values in relation to the Cyril and Methodius heritage”. The importance of linking the cultural routes to European values, such as democracy, the human rights enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights, and intercultural dialogue, is very relevant in today’s world. Stefano Dominioni also emphasized these values in his speech. Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra was also represented at the event by RNDr. Hilda Kramárekova, PhD. and assoc. prof. RNDr. Alfred Krogmann, PhD. who contributed significantly to the certification of the cultural route. Its development is also addressed within the international Horizon 2020 project entitled Social and Innovative Platform on Cultural Tourism and its Potential Towards Deepening Europeanization (SPOT). The conference also served as a platform to establish deeper contacts with other partners and the European Route Via Francigena association, represented by its chairman Massimo Tedeschi. In addition to the representatives of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, the Zlín Region and members and partners of the European Cultural Route of St. Cyril and Methodius, the event was also attended by Václav Kolaja, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the Vatican, and Vassil Petkov, Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria to Slovakia.

Text: Peter Ivanič, Hilda Kramáreková, Alfred Krogmann
Photo: Peter Ivanič, Hilda Kramáreková, Jiří Balát, Peter Sýkora