Europa Nostra is now calling on owners and managers of heritage sites all over Europe to join this symbolic initiative and ring the bells at the same time – from the World Heritage Site of Hattusa, the capital of the Hittite Empire (in present-day Turkey), where the oldest known peace treaty in the world was written in c. 1259 B.C, to the Peace Palace in The Hague (The Netherlands), an iconic place that was recognised with a European Heritage Label for being an embodiment of the values of peace and justice in Europe since 1913.
You can follow the livestream of the "Ringing the Bells for Peace & Heritage" on 21 September (11:50-12:15 CEST) from the Campanile of the San Marco Basilica and other heritage sites in Venice and across Europe via live.europanostra.org.
Future for Religious Heritage (FRH), the European network for historic places of worship and an active member of the European Heritage Alliance, has enthusiastically joined the "Ringing the Bells for Peace & Heritage" initiative. This initiative also received the support of the ecclesiastical authorities of Venice.
Having witnessed the deplorable and often intentional destruction of cultural heritage in areas of armed conflict, such as in the Balkans or in the Caucasus, this initiative aims to stress the pivotal role of peacekeeping in the safeguarding of cultural heritage and vice-versa, the vital role of heritage for promoting peace and understanding between people and their communities, and to raise awareness of the crucial need for mobilisation to pass our shared heritage on to future generations.
40 years ago, the International Day of Peace was established by the General Assembly of the United Nations. 20 years ago, 21 September was officially established as an annual day of non-violence and cease-fire. Therefore, we feel that this year it is our special duty to send a message across Europe that celebrating peace and protecting cultural and natural heritage is part of our shared values and humanity.
"In recent years, we have realised just how fragile our 'peace' with our natural and built environment is. Without immediate action, our cultural and natural heritage suffers and will continue to suffer from the negative effects of climate change. That is why on 21 September we will also ring the bells as a wake-up-call to find a sustainable future for Venice and its Lagoon, and for other endangered heritage sites in Europe and beyond. The 2021 theme of the International Day of Peace "Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world" will be echoed in the entire programme of the European Cultural Heritage Summit 2021 in Venice," stated Prof. Dr. Hermann Parzinger, Executive President of Europa Nostra.
The Ringing of the Bells annual initiative was first launched during the European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018.
"The planet does not need more successful people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of every kind," as has been wisely written by environmentalist David W. Orr in his book "Ecological Literacy: Educating our Children for a Sustainable World" (2005).
Let us join forces, across borders, and become the peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of our cultural and natural heritage!
Let us Ring the Bells for Peace and Heritage on 21 September!
Source: Europa Nostra newsletter