European Heritage Days

Journées européennes du patrimoine
Estonia to Highlight the Value of Heritage Communities through Storytelling and Education

With over 20,000 monuments under state protection and 12 heritage conservation areas, Estonia represents a unique destination for heritage exploration. Unsurprisingly, European Heritage Days event organisers are able to offer a rich cultural programme every year and provide new ways for visitors to rediscover the rich history and traditional culture of the country. This year, the festival will take place in September, when all 15 counties in Estonia will celebrate the theme of "Heritage Communities" with a number of free thematic events.

Organised by the National Heritage Board, this year’s European Heritage Days will focus on storytelling and education to highlight the ways community groups can help protect and promote their local heritage. “The point what we want to get across is that each community itself creates and gives value to its heritage,” says Margit Pulk of the National Heritage Board. She notes that the Board’s representatives are working in all of the 15 counties in Estonia with the goal to have at least one well organised guided tour in each county.

Using storytelling, the event organisers will aim to show one place or trail that is most valuable to local people. They will focus on quality instead of quantity of the events to present Estonia's remarkable historic and cultural heritage sites in an engaging way. There will also be an opening seminar held on the 10th of September at the Art Academy as the open doors of the heritage protection and conservation department. The opening speech will be held by Madle Lippus, a former student and now a leading community organizer/activist. The aim of the seminar and the open day is to highlight the importance of heritage education and promote the subject of heritage conservation as a perspective field of study.

“As the philosophy of Goethe goes – one can only understand the things one knows – we want to bring the educational part of heritage because we can only expect people to understand the value of heritage, if they have been told and educated about it,” notes Pulk.

The exact timetable of the guided tours will be fixed quite last minute in the end of August. For additional information about the events, follow the official Facebook page of the National Heritage Board.

Photo credits: Wikipedia