Greentourism at the 4th Landscape Forum 2015

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From 21st to 25th of April 2015 Bucharest hosted the Landscape Forum organized  by  the LE:NOTRE Institute Austria together with Romanian partners:Ion Mincu University for Architecture and Urbanism, University of Agronomical Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, ASOP Romanian Association of Landscape Architecture, APUR Professional Association of Romanian Urban Planners as hosts and Greentourism Ecological Association as knowledge partner.

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As knowledge partners, we helped in organizing the Pre-forum Promenade: Carpathian Spirit – Exploring Rural Romania, a journey to the Carpathian landscape with a focus on greentourism (19th -21th of April).

We contribute our expertise in order to bring the Forum participants from nine countries to unique places in the Carpathian landscape and present approaches to green tourism in an extraordinary natural and cultural environment.

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In their way to the Carpathians the participants visited the Royal court in Valahia’s former capital city, Targoviste where Vlad Tepes known as Cont Dracula, the hero of Bram Stoker novel was prince of Valachia.

In the Royal court the participants went up in Chindia Tower where they had the chance to see the urban and peri-urban landscape of the Ialomita river and Chindia lake from the top. After that, a spiritual and cultural encounter at Dealu monastery followed, also enjoing the surrondings of Targoviste and Ialomita river.
The accommodation was provided at Runcu Stone guesthouse surrounded by 60 ha woods and grasslands with an astonishing view. The slow food vegetarian dinner meals were prepared with a lot of patience, enthusiasm and love and the camp fire warmed the atmosphere under the stars. Runcu village is located 50 km from Târgoviste to the north. Runcu is one of the highest hills in the Leaota foothils (Giurcu peak, 840m) from Bucegi mountains.
Next day, after a slow food breakfast the participants were hiking in the surroundings of Runcu Stone to enjoy the natural landscape, then they were searching for the hidden treasures of the rural landscape, meeting local farmers and families and see the way they lived and worked during a spontaneous visit in Riul alb (White river) village.
At Plaiu Domnesc (Royal Fields) Pension they have been welcomed with traditional bread and salt, tuica and had a tasty traditional lunch.
After that, they visited the local folk museum, had a trip to the top of the hill, where a shepard festival is organized every year and descovered more aspects of the slow and green natural life in Runcu village. During an excursion to the Leaota mountains the participants found a hidden peaceful place deep into the forest, “Adormirea Maicii Domnului” monastery where they had the chance to rest and sense the spirit of the place.
The day ended with a traditional dinner and chating in front of the fire place at Plaiu Domnesc (Royal Fields) Pension.
In the last day, going down to Bucharest – back to the urban landscape, the participants visited Buftea dam, the place which feeds Colentina lakes and talked with people from the near village, making the transition to the main subject of the Forum.

You can see bellow some of the most relevant pictures from the promenade

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The focal area of the forum was the chain of lakes along the river Colentina, which has huge potential for the sustainable development of Bucharest.
The Colentina landscape represents high relevance for the forum’s four focal themes:
– Urban growth and peri-urban sprawl: the urban periphery
– Sustainable tourism and recreation: visions for landscape regeneration
through tourism development
– Heritage and identities: permanence, patrimony, specificity and dynamics of
landscape identities
– Rural fringe and productive landscapes: multifunctional rural landscapes and the economic dimension
The four themes were explored by workshops, excursions, keynote lectures and roundtable discussions during the four main forum days.

During the Sustainable Tourism & Recreation Workshop, Mr. Constantin Serban had a thematic input about green tourism in Romania in general and about the Progressive Green Labeling System in particular, as a useful tool to be implemented for a sustainable development of tourism in Colentina area.

Greentourism input

He also stresssed the importance of nature and landscape protection in Colentina area, by taking speciffic measures to limit the antropic pressure (for example limit the use of motor boats on the lakes and implementing a waste managemnt plan).

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To connect the center of Bucharest with Colentina area in week-ends, Mr. Serban proposed the establishing of some green tourism lines (bike routes and electric buses) and the development of different facilities and activities for green tourists.

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Organizing a DMO (Destination Management Organization) or a Local Action Group would ensure the tourism sustainability, would build a strong brand identity and would atract funds, among many other benefits.

A first step to be done next is to formulate a sustainable tourism strategy for Colentina region based on the findings of this forum, in order to set the framework of a coherent and green development of the area.

Our association also added a green cultural touch to the Landscape Forum by organizing two green arts exhibitions: “Landscape treasures”, Oshibana artworks made by Adela Talpes and “Cernica Forest Spirits”, natural materials masks made by Constantin Serban. More details and pictures can be found here.

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