A Cooperation Agreement was signed on June 22nd, 2021 between the Cultural Route “Historic Cafes Route” and the Cultural Route “Phoenician’s Route” with the aim of promoting and defending the tangible and intangible cultural heritage associated with products, places, traditions, communities that have created European values.
Historic Cafes and Archaeology apparently seem to be two distant worlds, but they are extremely connected to each other. In the Mediterranean and, in particular in the Eastern Mediterranean (Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Turkey) coffee as a beverage had an important social and cultural role, as early as the late 1600s. Thus Cafes became true centers of socialization and culture. In many cases Cafes became a kind of literary club or political/cultural gathering, as well as ideal meeting places for business deals and decisions. In fact many Cafes were “born” in the Markets, where traders met for their negotiations. Certainly, the Historic Cafes were the usual meeting places for European historians and archaeologists who went to the Near East for archaeological research. Until today, Cafes are important meeting places throughout the Mediterranean, frequented by all social classes, cradles of the cultural, political and civil society life.
On the occasion of signing the Cooperation Agreement, Antonio Barone, Director of “Phoenicians’ Route” stated: “The signing of this agreement with the Historic Cafés Route underlines the commitment of the Phoenicians’ Route to collaborate not only with Cultural Routes certified by the Council of Europe, but also with those in the certification phase. In fact, the collaboration between Routes that share the same values, such as human rights and intercultural dialogue, is fundamental to promote and disseminate knowledge of European and Mediterranean culture, strengthen cooperation between countries and organizations and promote cultural, sustainable and responsible tourism activities through, among other things, the enhancement of identity and creativity”.
Vassilis Stathakis, President of the International Cultural Organization “Historic Cafes Route” stated : “It is our pleasure that a Cultural Route with years of tradition – Phoenicians’ Route is one of the first certified Routes by the Council of Europe – honors us with its cooperation. The Phoenicians’ Route crosses the Mediterranean and of course passes through Historic Cafes, which hosted personalities of the Arts, Letters and Politics, but also ambitious visionary merchants who shaped the European identity. The principles of democracy, cultural exchanges, human rights, dialogue and the empowerment of local communities, principles which the Council of Europe has consistently defended, are fully reflected in this cooperation. “
Both Cultural Routes “Phoenician’s Route” and “Historic Cafes Route”, which cross a large Euro-Mediterranean territory passing through many countries, with this Agreement aim at the development of international cooperation in the field of cultural, sustainable, creative tourism, following the principles of local development, support for tourism companies and small and medium-sized enterprises.