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EHTTA General Assembly held in Greece for the first time PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 18 October 2017 17:27

Loutraki 1

The Municipality of Loutraki-Perachora Ag.Thedori was the host of the Autumn meeting of the Cultural Route of Europe

Up to 4 new members from Spain, Russia, Georgia and Turkey joined the international network


Between October 2-5 representatives from EHTTA member towns and territories attended the General Assembly held in Loutraki-Perachora, a spa seaside town in the Corinthian Gulf, in Greece. The last assembly of 2017 came just after the Cultural Advisory Forum of Cultural Routes held in Lucca, where this association, responsible for the Cultural Route of European Thermal Heritage, joined the celebrations of the 30th Anniversary of the Cultural Routes Programme of the Council of Europe.


The participation of this international network within the Programe was one of the main topics discussed in the meeting, the second for 2017. Under the framework of the Council of Europe, EHTTA keeps welcoming new members,understanding that the knowledge and dissemination of a common heritage, European thermalism, is a powerful tool to foster dialogue and cooperation between countries. About this, EHTTA President, Giuseppe Bellandi, said “In a time in which Europe’s suffering, searching for its own identity, the Programme represents a serious answer for the future of Europe itself, placing in the middle intercultural dialogue".


EHTTA General Assembly approved the entrance as new of the cities of Mondariz-Balneario (Spain), Pamukkale (Turkey), Kislovosdsk(Russia) and the Imereti Region, in Georgia, all towns and territories across famous for their hot mineral waters and historic spa stablishments, most of them dating back from 18th. As a result, this international networks gathers today 41 members in 16 different countries, a colourful mosaic of cultures and traditions sharing a common treasure, the use of hot springs water for health and wellness.


The Assembly also voted for the new Executive Council that will manage this international association for the next 2 years, as well as the presidential seats. EHTTA’s current president and Mayor of Montecatini Terme, Giuseppe Bellandi, was re elected, while the 3 vice-presidencies went to the towns of Baden-Baden (Germany), Vichy (France) and the Province of Ourense (Spain). Other topics discussed were the certifications procedure for the 3-years evaluation of the Cultural Route, or the participation in the open EU Call of Proposals Creative Europe for the development of the Thermal Atlas.


Thermal Visions for the Cafè of Europe

EHHTA representatives also participated on the Café of Europe organized by the Municipality of Loutraki-Perachora on the occasion of the Assembly. Entitled “Thermal Visions: Investing in Social Innovation and the Circular Economy for Sustainable Thermalism”, the Café discussed how thermalism, a practice which

is based in the management of a precious limited resource, can contribute to the sustainable development of territories.


The Mayor of Loutraki-Perachora, Mr. Georgios Gkionois, introduced the social programme Loutraki Plus, which the city has been developed for the last year, and was followed by the President of the Hellenic Association of Thermal Springs, Mr. Ionannis Karagiannis, who gave a presentation about the state-of-art of thermalism in Greece. Other speakers participating were the President of the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece, Mayor of Amaroussion, Mr. Georgios Patoulis, and the Director of Loutraki Institue of Social Economy,  Mr. Ionanis Nasioulas, with his conference  ̎ HORIZON 2020 & EFSI: Municipalities and NGOs in the forefront of socialinvestments".


At the craddle of European Thermalism

The town of Loutraki has been a famous place for its healing mineral waters since Ancient times, formerly called Thermae Artemida, acknowledging the presence of thermal springs and the deity Ancient greeks believed to protect them. Its magnesium-rich waters, whom Ancient Greek historian Xenophon of Athens already referred on the early 4th century, can be enjoyed today at its luxurious modern spa complex.

As usual, EHTTA representatives had the opportunity to visit the spa facilites of the host towns and learn about its therapies and thermal cures, as well as to explore the ancient history of this coastal town by the Aegean sea. The archaeological site of Heraion and the temple of Hera, the monastery of Saint Patapios or the Isthmia archaeological site (and its museum) were some of study visit organized within the assembly programme.


EHTTA's next General Assembly will take place in Galaalti, Azerbaiyan, on May 2018.


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