The City of Bursa (Turkey) hosted the General Assembly of the European Historic Towns Associations, recognized as Council of Europe Cultural Route since 2009. The ancient capital of the Ottoman Empire is located on a stretch of the Silk Road and has a 1500 year historical thermal background. In this international context, two days of meetings, events and study visits took place from 19 to 21 October.
The “Café of Europe”, organized on the 19th October and attended by more than 400 people, was focused on the future of spa towns. The starting point was the “fil rouge” between routes and cultural heritage. A series of thematic events based on prestigious international debates and artistic collaborations have been proposed from 2013 and 2015 in the framework of SOURCE project of the “Cafés of Europe” that were hosted in the following cities: Bath (United Kingdom), Enghien-les-Bains, Vichy, Royat-Chamalières (France), Acqui Terme and Fiuggi (Italy), Spa (Belgium), Ourense (Spain), Baden-Baden (Germany).
In the morning of the 20th October a new Commission on Tourism and Communication was set up to discuss the concerned future EHTTA’s policies. In the afternoon the General Assembly welcomed the new 6 EHTTA members: Hellenic Association of Municipalities with Thermal Springs, the Greek cities of Loutraki Perachora and Loutra Pozar; Chaves Verin (Portugal), Chianciano Terme (Italy) and the Galicia Region. The discussion was focused on the financial statement, Statute amendments, and the European projects. The guidelines of the EHTTA Masterplan and the Scientific Committee board were presented.
At the end of the Assembly the President and the Executive Council were elected: Mr. Giuseppe Bellandi (President) – Mr Christian Corne (Honorary President), Mr Werner Hirth (1st Vice- EXECUTIVE SECRETARY E.H.T.T.A. Piazza Levi 12 15011 Acqui Terme – AL firstname.lastname@example.org President), Mr Charles Gardier (2nd Vice-President), Mrs. Paulette Avril (Treasurer), Mrs Franca Roso (Statutory Secretary), Mr Paul Simons (President the Scientific Committee), Mr Fabrizio Martini, Mrs Isabel Castelo Villanueva, Mr Michel Playe, Mrs Daniela Isetti, Mr Bernard Kajdan, Mr Ahmet Hikmet Şahin, Mr Hugo Oliveira, Mrs Havova Elena, Mr Christian Corne.
On 21st EHTTA delegates discovered local culture and tradition in the UNESCO site of Cumalikizik, located only 10 kilometres away from Bursa, a rural location that has remained rich with history through the years. Cumalikizik was founded during 1300s as an Ottoman property unit village. The village of Cumalikizik that has 700 year history has preserved its housing structure until today. EHTTA delegated were also welcomed in a village of Bursa “Saitabat” to enjoy a traditional Breakfast prepared by the village women. The village of Bursa “Saitabat , Bursa and Cumalikizik, added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2014 on cultural criteria, with their culture of commerce and continuity of rural life similar to urban, set a good example of Ottoman vision for living and offered EHTTA delegated a unique experience.
The General Assemblies in 2016 will take place in Karlovy Vary (spring) and Vittel (autumn).