Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Walled cities come together

The Mayor of Londonderry, Helen Quigley, said she was delighted that the city hosted a seminar on conserving and promoting heritage within an historic walled city.

Last Wednesday's public seminar, organised by Derry City Council's economic development committee, focused on the restoration of the historic Croatian city of Dubrovnik.

Dubrovnik is a walled city and dates back to 300BC. It is also a UNESCO world heritage site.

The seminar was presented by two leading officials from Dubrovnik, Vjekoslav Vierda (Director of the Institute for the Restoration of Dubrovnik) and Professor Kate Bagogi (Friends of Dubrovnik Antiquities).

During the early 1990s, Dubrovnik was affected by the war in Croatia and suffered damage to many of its key buildings both within and on the outside of the historic walled fortification.

The city has now come out of conflict and undergone an impressive conservation-led reconstruction phase resulting in it becoming a major tourist attraction and destination.

Councillor Quigley said: "Derry has established links with the city of Dubrovnik, given similarities in that they are both walled cities, have come out of a conflict situation and are striving to develop their respective tourism products.

"In September, a delegation led by Derry City Council attended an international conference in Dubrovnik focusing on the development of walled cities.

"During this event, the Derry delegation met with officials from Dubrovnik's Government to discuss potential collaboration in future projects. I am delighted that this seminar took place in Derry to strengthen and develop that relationship."

Chairwoman of the council's development committee, Maeve McLaughlin, welcomed the public seminar.

She added: "Derry and Dubrovnik have significant common areas of interest and it is hoped that the seminar can give people the opportunity to learn from the experiences of the guest speakers.

"I also hope that we can further our relationship with Dubrovnik, as Derry progresses with its efforts to gain international recognition for its historic walls."

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