The Final Conference of SUSTCULT Project (Achieving sustainability through an integrated approach of the cutlrual heritage) funded by the European Union, South East Program, was held in Ljubljana in 8th April and was was a great occasion to give further insights into the results of the project, analyze funding opportunities and jointly look at future potential project ideas. The event brought together international organizations, European networks, government officials, other European cultural projects and cultural organizations in order to share best practices and solutions to heritage site protection and promotion issues.

The participant sites were : Berat( Albania), Bacau ( Rumania), Vipava Valley ( Slovenia) , Corfu (Greece), Venice ( Italy), Ohrid ( FYROM), Hurezi (Rumania).

During the Conference were presented the results of the 2007-2013 SEE Programme, and the representatives from the UNESCO Office in Venice and ICCROM, introduced the main challenges of cultural heritage management in the SEE region focused on the capacity building and cultural heritage management. The Conference dealt with the approach and results of the SUSTCULT project; presentations on SUSCTULT project activities, results and integrated approach to cultural heritage planning and management. The morning session was then concluded by a very fruitful round table organized around the issue “Management of heritage sites: achievements, opportunities and challenges”.

There were open discussions on a number of key topics: how to finance Cultural Heritage protection and promotion in the 2014-2020 Programming period; the Danube Programme, Adriatic-Ionian Programme and Balkan-Mediterranean Programme; and, the Central Europe Programme and Alpine Space Programme. Session 4 then finally set the tone for the workshop “From SUSTCULT onward: development of Cultural Heritage management project ideas in the 2014-2020 programming period”. The workshop activities was aimed at identifying common fields of reflection and interest based on SUSTCULT findings and challenges. Participants were actively engaged in a collaborative work which help to share priorities and themes for future joint initiatives in Cultural Heritage Management.

The city of Berat, located in South-Central Albania, 120 km south of Tirana has a population of around 64.000 people. Berat was declared a Museum City in 1961 by the Government of Albania and the old town was inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2008 (together with Gjirokastra) as rare example of an architectural character typical of the Ottoman period.

The town is known for its cultural heritage, historic architecture and natural beauty and it is known as the “Town of a Thousand Windows”, due to the many large windows of the old houses overlooking the town. Berat bears witness to the coexistence of various religious and cultural communities down the centuries with outstanding buildings of high architectural and historical interest. The old historic part consists of three quarters divided by the Osum River: Castle (Kala), Gorica and Mangalem. The town also has the Medieval Centre which consists of old religious monuments of Bektashi sect and a 15th century mosque .The Castle is one the most marvelous sight of the city.