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CHIST 2014

LeonardoCHIST stands for Cultural Heritage Interpretation and Sustainable Tourism and seeks to give those who work in the field of Scottish Heritage Interpretation and Tourism an idea of what is being done abroad in their field, and the inspiration to apply new methods at home.  CHIST is funded by the ‘Leonardo da Vinci’ programme of the European Union, which is concerned first and foremost with vocational training. In Leonardo’s words, the exchanges aim to provide ‘opportunities for those involved in the design, delivery or implementation of training or careers guidance to undertake visits to partner organisations to exchange experience and best practice.’  CHIST wants to send those working in the Scottish Heritage Interpretation and Tourism sectors abroad to learn from, and share ideas with their European partners.

In 2014 there will be programmes to Cyprus, Iceland, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Estonia.

Cyprus 19th – 26th April    FULL

Iceland 18th – 25th May    FULL

Bulgaria  22 – 29 June 2014    FULL

Slovakia – 18th – 25th May    FULL

Estonia 24th – 31st August   FULL

Previous participants reports are available in CHIST 2013

To register interest please write to or complete an application form

Cyprus 19th – 26th April

Saturday 19th April
Arrival at Paphos, transfer to Pano Lefkara, unload cases and go to the church of the Holy (true) Cross. Firecrackers, bonfires and at midnight a small child walking through the silent crowd in the darkened church to light the candle and announce ‘Christos Aneste! (“Χριστός ἀνέστη!” in Greek)…Christ is Risen!” then the feasting begins with eggs, chicken soup then all sorts of roast meat (Orthodox Greek Cypriots fast in the period of ‘lent’).

Sunday 20th April

Celebrating Easter

A family day – we continue with the feasting – from a wood-fired oven – which we light – prepare the food and invite Greek Cypriot friends to join us.

21st Day Two:30 minute off-road drive over the mountain to the village of Kato Drys (named from ancient Greek for ‘oak trees’). We can search for the abandoned and legendary ‘Pano Drys’ and drive through vineyards and along hedgerows rich with new greenery. We visit Agios Minas monastery and see beautiful mozaics. In Kato Drys we see a ‘Green Village’ initiative to install a series of mozaics for tourists and locals to enjoy. In the evening we attend a traditional Easter Monday feast and bonfire in Kato Drys.

22nd Day Three:We visit the ‘Rural and Bee-Keeping Museum’ in Kato Drys to learn about the lace-making tradition and how new found wealth (from selling lace across the world) changed the people’s outlook and the face of the village. In the afternoon we climb the ‘vouni’ (small artificial hill) behind the village and gaze over the ‘doma’ (terraces). With local lady, Panayiota Demetriou, we reflect on the way this (still beautiful) landscape looked 50 years ago.

23rd Day Four:Below Kato Lefkara are olive trees planted by Franks in the medieval period. We sit under the ancient canopies and talk about this agricultural system and the pollarding that allows trees to become so long-lived. We discuss the touristic value of such cultural trees. We have a cultural break to visit the ancient (9th century) chapel of Archangel Michael before a lunch from a traditional wood-fired oven. In the afternoon we visit churches in Pano Lefkara and meet the Mayor for his views on the touristic future of his village. Visit local silversmiths to see them beating and casting silver. Pano Lefkara once had more than 20 silversmiths but now just 3 eke out a living with no apprentices and long term future. ‘Green Village’ tried to introduce new designs that have more ‘sense of place’ and were more appealing to tourists. We leave for Nicosia, cross the UN-controlled ‘Green Line’ and experience some Turkish Cypriot culture; we visit a mosque and the colourful markets, having a meal in the old camel inn ‘Buyuk Han’. We meet with some Turkish Cypriots and learn about their contribution to Cypriot culture.

24th Day Five:
We return to Kato Drys for a breakfast of traditional jams, marmalades, and preserves. Then we meet the Muhktari and hear plans for craft and training centres in the village. We visit the village museum and hear about an initiative to put ‘Lefkara Lace into Fashion’ – there could be a photo shoot in progress. We also hear about St. Neophytus – imprisoned by the Crusaders for criticising their indiscriminate slaughtering of Muslims.
25th Day Six:
We visit Kourion – founded in the Hellenistic people, enjoying a Roman heyday and still important after the fall of the empire for its Byzantine churches. We see startling mosaics, the famous theatre and agora. Later in Limassol, we visit the ‘Mozaic Collective’ to see how the ancient craft has a contemporary application.
26th Day Seven:
We have a chance to visit the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Paphos – the Tombs of the Kings and the famous mozaics. We will picnic by the sea. Also (for something different) we can visit the ‘Lemba Wall’ – a celebration of abstract art created by Stass Paraskos – Cyprus’s most famous modern artist –
Depart to the airport to return home



Iceland–Turf–Church and Stone


May 18th – 25th

Cultural Heritage Interpretation and Sustainable Tourism

The Icelandic CHIST 3 programme will be based in northern Iceland, in a region called Skagafjörður. The focus is on the preservation of traditional building methods and it starts with a two day hands on course in turf building. The region is rich in old historic buildings; turf houses, turf churches and stone and timber buildings, many of them belonging to the Historic Buildings Collections.

Sunday May 18th Day of arrival

Estimated time of arrival is 19:40. From Keflavík airport we drive straight up north to Skagafjörður, approximately 4 hour drive.
Our accommodation while in Skagafjörður will be in a little village called Varmahlíð about 20 minutes’ drive from Sauðárkrókur, the region´s main town. We´ll be staying in little cottages equipped with a small kitchen and a hot tub on the patio.

Monday May 19th Turf course in Tyrfingsstaðir

Monday and Tuesday will be spent at Tyrfingsstaðir learning how to cut turf and mending old turf houses.

Tuesday May 20th

Monday and Tuesday will be spent in Tyrfingsstaðir learning how to cut turf and mending old turf houses.

Wednesday May 21st Turf course in Tyrfingsstaðir

We start in Sauðárkrókur with lectures on Cultural Heritage Management in Iceland, turf, traditional Icelandic building methods and archaeology in the Skagafjörður area. After lunch we go to the Tannery Visitor Centre the only tannery in Europe that makes fish leather ( Afterwards there is some free time to look around Sauðárkrókur. For dinner we will taste the Icelandic traditional Hangikjöt (Icelandic smoked lamb).

Thursday May 22nd An excursion around Skagafjörður (the east side)

We start at Hegranesþing the ancient local assembly site. An archaeologist will tell us about the history of the place and show us around the ruins. From there we go to Hólar in Hjaltadalur one of Iceland’s most important historical and ecclesiastical sites) After the visit we stop for lunch and after lunch we keep on exploring local historical sites. Our first stop will be the church at Gröf or Grafarkirkja, a small turf chapel that originates from the 17th century. Next stop is Grafarós, the ruins of a 19th century trading place. The last stop will be Hofsós, a small village on the east coast of Skagafjörður, formerly the main trading place in the region. After a walk around town the idea is to go and soak for a while in the local swimming pool and enjoy the view over Drangey and the fjord.

Friday May 23rd Second day of excursions

Today we stay more inland starting at Reynistaður to look at the remains of an old entrance hall. A building that is one of the few existing examples of a type of stave construction from the 18th century. From there we go to Glaumbær, a large turf house, a part of the Skagafjörður Heritage Museum since 1952. ( After a guided tour we stop at café Áshús for lunch. After lunch we go to Víðimýrarkirkja. The present church at Víðimýri, was built in 1834 by builder/parliamentarian Jón Samsonarson. From Víðimýri we go to the old battle site at Haugsnes.

Saturday May 24th the drive to Reykjavík

Starting off in Skagafjörður early in the morning, we drive towards Reykjavík with a few stops on the way. Our first stop is by Deildartunguhver the biggest hot spring in Europe. From there we drive to the beautiful waterfalls Hraunfossar and Barnafoss. And on we go; our next stop is the National Park at Þingvellir. From there we go to Reykjavík.
Deildardunguhver and Hraunfossar

Sunday May 25th day of departure

Our first stop today is The Icelandic Settlement Exhibition The exhibition is right in the middle of town and after the visit you have some free time to explore the city centre. At 17:00 we drive from Reykjavík to Keflavík Airport. ETD is at 19:55.


Bulgaria’s Tangible and Intangible Cultural Heritage

22 – 29 June 2014 (8 days/7 nights)

Day 1: Sunday – 22 June, 2014
Flight to Sofia, Bulgaria; Transfer from the Airport to Hotel in Sofia – shared twin rooms. Late dinner .
Day 2: Monday – 23 June, 2013
Breakfast in the hotel. In the morning – a walk around the Roman remains in the centre of Sofia, visit to Archaeological museum. Lunch in the city.
In the afternoon – drive to Plovdiv /2 hours/ and walk in the old town – architectural reserve. Visit to Roman Theatre and Forum. Late drive to Hissarya and accommodation for 2 nights in hotel.,_Bulgaria
Day 3: Tuesday – 24 June, 2013
Breakfast in the hotel. In the morning – celebrating St. Enyo`s /patron of herbalists/ day in the village. Visit to Archaeological museum and meeting the director and curators. Discussion about their work. Walk around the Roman walls and Baths of the ancient Roman town of Dioclecianopolis – modern Hissarya. Lunch in the town. In the afternoon – visit to Starosel Thracian complex.
The key temple within the Thracian cult complex of Starosel was excavated in the so-called Chetinyova Mound in 2000. The excavations were carried out by the team of the prominent Bulgarian archaeologist Dr Georgi Kitov (1943 – 2008) who made some of Bulgaria’s most remarkable discoveries – the ‘King Teres’ golden mask is the most sensational of them. The enormous temple, called by the archaeologists the Temple of the Immortal Thracian Kings, is the largest underground temple found in the Balkans so far.
The wall of the temple is built of over 6,000 huge stone blocks weighing up to 500 kilograms each.
Free time, swimming in mineral pool, dinner and overnight in Hissarya..
Day 4: Wednesday – 25 June, 2013
Breakfast in the hotel. Travel to Kazanlak in the Valley of Roses and Thracian Kings – visit to the picturesque Thracian Tomb (replica), UNESCO World Heritage site and to Iskra History Museum – discussions on protection and adaptation of Thracian monuments and local celebrations/ meeting Plamen from the group in 2011/ Lunch in the town.
In the afternoon – Visit to Golyama Kosmatka Thracian tomb
The temple inside the “Golyama Kosmatka” Mound was built during the second half of the 5th century BC. The preserved colour ornaments on the wings of the marble gate of the chamber symbolize the cardinal directions of the world and the rotation of time according to the Thracian beliefs. The magnificent golden wreath of the ruler, an exquisite wine goblet, knee-pieces and a helmet with plastic ornamentation, appliques for riding and other valuable artifacts have been found in the tomb.
In 2004 in the “Golyama Kosmatka” a mound with monumental temple was discovered, with an entrance from the south, built during the second half of the 5th century BC.
Photo stop at Rozhdestvo Hristovo (Birth of Christ) Memorial Church with golden domes. Travel to Gabrovo via Shipka Pass. On the way – stop on the peak of St. Nikola – visit to the Monument of Liberty – part of Shipka – Buzludzha National Park Museum. – place of battle in the Russo-Turkish War 1877-1878. Night in Sabotovtsi village – in guest house of Eli /from the group in 2011/ – for 2 nights.
Day 5: Thursday – 26 June, 2013
Breakfast in the house. Drive to Etara and visit the crafts center and exhibitions, meeting Rosi Bineva /curator, was in the group in 2011/; later a trip to Tryavna – visits to museums of woodcarving and icons. Night in the guesthouse with local meals.

Day 6: Friday – 27 June, 2013

Breakfast in the house. Drive to Troyan via Sevlievo – walk to a medieval fortress and town /recently adapted for tourists/. Picnic lunch or on the road. In the afternoon – visit to ECO-ART guest house /Villi and Encho/ and some crafts work – pottery. A forest walk for mushrooming if the weather allows.

Day 7: Saturday – 28 June, 2013

In the morning – drive to Troyan – and celebration of the Herb and tourism festival in the mountains near Troyan. In the afternoon – Crafts museum in Troyan and talk to curators /Desi / . Night in the guesthouse with homemade meals.

Day 8: Sunday – 29 June, 2013

Breakfast, travel from Troyan to Sofia and some visits on the road – to Roman Castle Sostra, and to Lovech /museum, historic places/. In the afternoon – Transfer to Sofia Airport and a flight back to Scotland


Slovakia – 18th – 25th May

Eastern Slovakia

Castles – Crafts – Costumes – Cuisine and Tourism

18th – 25th May 2014

A week long exchange hosted by Krajina, a small company specialising in cultural tourism in eastern Slovakia lead by Miro Knezo. An opportunity to discover this amazing country’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage and the history, skills and traditions that are still very much a part of this regions daily life. This rich and varied programme incorporates visits to UNESCO world heritage sites and ethnographic museums to see how traditional buildings and war memorials are preserved and interpreted and offers participants the opportunity to take part in a Traditional Folk Festival at Svidnik Ethnographic Open Air Museum celebrating Ruthenian and Slovakian, culture, local crafts, traditions and way of life. Participants will prepare local food in a traditional Slovakian home

Sunday 18th                                                                                                                                     Flights from Edinburgh to Krakow then a beautiful drive drive through Poland – Slovakia and the High Tatras to Stropkov

Monday 19th
Visit to Spis Castle and Levoca. These are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.  There are a huge range of interpretative techniques employed in these sites from first person interpretation, guided tours, leaflets, self guided walks, multi language listening posts, panels and pamphlets.  We will have a self guided visit to Spis castle and then travel to Levoca where we will meet and have a chance to speak with the curators from the city museum.
Lunch will be in a traditional Slovakian Restaurant.

Tuesday 20th

Visit to Presov University for seminar with staff  on tourism in Slovakia. Participants can make short presentations about the work they are involved with in Scotland. Opportunity to discuss   solutions for sustainable tourism in Slovakia and Scotland                                                           

Visit to local sheep farm to watch the traditional hand milking of the sheep and preparation of the sheep’s cheese. Opportunity to taste “bryndza” – Slovak cheese listed in UNESCO World Heritage

Wednesday 21st

Andy Warhol Museum in Medzilborce.                                                                                               A visit to the Andy Warhol Museum. Andy Warhol was born in Pittsburgh in 1928 to Czechoslovakian parents who were from a nearby village Miková a short drive from Stropkov. The museum was launched by Andy’s brother John Warhola who visited the area in 1987 shortly after Andy’s death and the museum opened in 1991

Today the museum stands as a shrine to an urbane world light-years removed from Medzilaborce’s backward and rustic milieu. Serial portraits of Marilyn Monroe greet the visitor in the museum foyer while aluminium foil awnings deck the ceiling of the museum café, which gives a nod to Andy’s Chelsea Factory. In the main hall, Warhol’s snakeskin jacket, Brooks Bros. ties, sunglasses, Walkman and ubiquitous camera are enshrined in vitrines, like relics of some saint. Photos of Eddie Sedgewick, Ultra Violet and other Factory personages grace the walls. A lot of this must go over the head of the average visitor. The upstairs mobile consisting of polystyrene dollar bills and the nearby silk-screen icon of four dollar signs strike a chord of empathy.”

Short hiking trip in the local countryside followed by a discussion of Slovak customs

Thursday 22nd

Participants will have the opportunity to practise a Traditional Slovakian Craft, for example making corn dollies

Traditional Cooking Day.  Working with Margita from Brunisca (Brousnyitsa which means Cranberry) in her own kitchen she will teach you to make traditional Slovakian meals using local produce

Friday 23rd

Bardejov Health Spa and visits to Muzeum Ludovej Architektury an outdoor museum of 24 vernacular buildings dating from the 19th – 20th century including two wooden stave churches. Mikulasova [Mecoulahshovah] church was built in 1730. It was enlarged in 1837, disassembled in 2003 and rebuilt and renovated with help from Archnetwork and Grampus Heritage and re-consecrated in 2005 and is now in regular use.

Visit to Bardejov designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will have free time to walk around the town and to visit the museum of Icons, St.Aegidius Church and the Town Hall.                               The main square in Bardejov is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site because it is a ‘small but exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a fortified medieval town’ Bardejov has retained its medieval character and the cobblestone central square Radnicné námestie is the most significant part of the town. The square is flanked on three sides by narrow burgher houses many of which are fine examples of Gothic and Renaissance architecture. On the fourth side of the square is the Gothic church of St. Egidius, which dates from the 14th Century

The Icon museum is the only specialised exhibition of icons in Slovakia and on display are icons painted on wood and canvas dating from the 16th-19th centuries. Also on display are religious vestments . We will have a guided visit to the Museum of Icons; the curator will explain the development of the symbolism in Icon painting.

Museum of clothes displaying examples of traditional Slovakian costume throughout the centuries.

Saturday 24th

Drive to Death Valley,

This is a haunting place, it was the site of one of the largest battles of the 2nd World War between Russian and German troops and some of machinery of war has been left in situ. It is definitely a topic for discussion for interpreters.

Over a period of three days the clash of Soviet T-34 tanks and German Panzer Pz IVs, along with supporting infantry resulted in more than 30,000 deaths between 24th – 26th October 1944 during which time the streams were running red. Altogether 90,000 soldiers and civilians died in the conflict.

Traditional Folk Festival  at The Ethnographic Museum of the Ukrainian and Ruthenian Culture in Svidnik.

The Ruthenians came to the area in the 15th century from the south and they used mountainous parts because they were shepherds. They are Slavs and use a language, which is something between Slovak and Ukrainian language. The festival will be a celebration of the Ruthenian culture and traditions, songs, dances, crafts and cuisine. Svidnik Open Air Museum is where you can see fabulous examples of reconstructed wooden buildings including a church, school farm houses and saw mill.

Sunday 25th

Early departure for flight home

Please note this programme may be subject to changes, amendments and additions.

Previous participants reports for this programme can be found on the Arch website at



Estonia 24th – 31st August

 Saaremaa Island’s Culture and Traditions

The Estonian programme will be hosted by Maarika Toomel the director of Heritage Tours Ltd which is a  member of the Estonian Eco Tourism Society and Eco Tourism Cluster. Heritage Tours  have a concept to ‘unite cultural and natural heritage in an innovative way making it attractive to modern visitors’
The study tour begins with a tour of Tallinn and a visit to the Ethnographic Open Air Museum to familiarise participants with the culture and history of Estonia before departing to Saaremaa Island to experience the initiatives being taken to preserve, promote and enhance the Island’s cultural traditions in a modern sustainable way. Finally returning to Tallinn to learn about Estonia’s ‘Brotherhood of Blackheads’ a medieval guild of young single merchants and to join in the celebrations of Estonia’s seafaring history at the Festival of Ancient Lights, a traditional Viking festival where bonfires are lit along the coast and people join together in song. On the final day participants will visit the spectacular Seaplane
24th August

Arrival to Tallinn

Meet in the airport, drive to hotel

Some sightseeing in Old Tallinn depending on the arrival time


Hotel Dzingel

 26th August

Breakfast in the hotel

Visit to Open Air Museum

The Estonian Open Air Museum is akin to a village, with 12 farms, as well as its own church, tavern and schoolhouse. There are a number of mills, a fire station, fishing net sheds as well as a dancing area and a village swing.”

Lunch in Kolu tavern, Open Air Museum

Museum of Occupations

Afternoon drive to Saaremaa (2 hour to harbour, 30 min by ferry)

Drive to Loona Manor, Center of Vilsandi National Park


Good sleep, twin rooms


 27th August

Visit to historical Leedri village, meet the mayor of the parish, see renovated windmill.

Visit to Juniper Syrup Farm Factory in Leedri village.


Renovation of traditional Saaremaa windmill – workshop


Visit to Karala village (one of the westernmost villages if Saaremaa)- the village was voted in Facebook to be the most beautiful of Estonia J. See the gardens and houses, meet the head of village.

Cooking together



28th August


Drive to Papissaare harbour

Vilsandi island – unique corner of the world

Picnic lunch

Handicraft in Kihelkonna village house – finger knitting.

A wall carpet will be made to take home. 3-4 hours

Visit Maali creation farm, Saaremaa sauna experience.

Traditional dinner – cooking together


29th August

Community shop and Saaremaa Marketing Association

Kuressaare – the kapital of Saaremaa


Lunch, dinner


 30th August

Drive to Tallinn

Suburbs of Tallinn by car


The House of Blackheads

Night of Ancient Lights

Hotel Dzingel

 31th August

Seaplane Harbour Museum