Project will bring tourists to former shtetls in three countries

(JTA) — Researchers, historians and tourism developers have begun work on a tourist itinerary and an Internet portal to include former Jewish shtetls in Poland, Belarus and Ukraine.

Called “Shtetl Routes: Vestiges of Jewish Cultural Heritage in Transborder Tourism,” the two-year project launched in December is being supported by a $570,000 grant from the European Union’s Cross-Border Cooperation Programme Poland-Belarus-Ukraine 2007-2013. The grant was announced late last week, The Associated Press reported.

The goal is to develop tourism in the region through the promotion of Jewish cultural heritage.

The route will include three tourist trails, a guidebook to Jewish heritage in the region, the Internet portal to provide details of Jewish history and culture, and 3-D virtual models of 15 shtetls, five in each participating country. There also will be guided tours and training programs for tour guides.

Five cultural and educational institutions in the three countries are developing the project led by the Brama Grodzka (Grodzka Gate) Theatre NN Centre in Lublin, Poland, which for years has run activities focusing on Jewish heritage, culture and history.

According a description on the Brama Grodzka website, “The project area has a huge potential for the development of cultural tourism, but its tourism infrastructure is poorly developed and the knowledge about the area’s cultural heritage — particularly Jewish cultural heritage sites — is insufficient.”

 

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