HISTORY & TRAVELS

The Cultural Route by the name “Historic Cafes Route”

The International Cultural Organisation by the name “Historic Cafes Route” is a transformation of the European Historic Cafes Association (EHICA).

Specifically, the European Historic Cafes Association due to its close cooperation with the Institute of Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe transformed, October 1rst 2020, into an International Cultural Organization by the name “Historic Cafes Route”. EHICA was already in the process of bringing together all emblematic Historic Cafes worldwide into a Cultural Route that will promote the importance of Cafes as keepers of tradition that –during the years- spread culture.

This was a difficult, demanding, but at the same time interesting journey, which led the entire team of EHICA, the Cafes – Members and all of the Association’s companions and friends to this wonderful result. “Historic Cafes Route” now spans around the globe, creating an alternative chain of places where the importance of the Cafes and coffee is widely promoted. Therefore we would like to thank all the authorities, the Institute of the Council of Europe, the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, the Hellenic Ministry of Education, the Hellenic Ministry of Tourism, the Greek Tourism Organization, the Region of Crete, the Municipality of Chania, the Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Chania and all of those who helped us make this journey possible!

“Coffee is the drink of the civilized world,” said Thomas Jefferson. As Founder and President of the “Historic Cafes Route” I would like to add that both coffee and Cafes are the living heritage of the world that produce culture over time. The enormous History of the Cafes, their architecture, the great personalities who chose to be Historic Cafes regulars, always give an inexhaustible source of research, knowledge and inspiration.

Henceforth from October 1rst 2020, “Historic Cafes Route” to be certified by the Council of Europe changes logo, website, social media and contact details.

Founding the European Historic Cafes Association (EHICA)

In October 2012, Mr. Vassilis Stathakis was informed by the Historic Archive of Crete and the Chania Chamber of Commerce and Industry, that the historic Café “Kipos”, of which he has the honor of being the host, is the only historical café in Greece.
This fact was the spark that gave birth to his vision of creating a European Historic Cafés Association, with a view to building communication and networking among its members, presenting their history, culture and products, enhancing tourist interest and attracting gastronomy and coffee lovers from all over the world to visit the cities where historic cafés are located.
To make his vision come true, a visit to famous historic cafés was necessary, in order to communicate his idea to people- Cafés owners or representatives- all over Europe. During his visit to these historic places, he had the chance to discuss and exchange ideas with his colleagues all over Europe about the actions that such an Association could develop.
His travel began on April 28, 2013 in Brussels and its famous historic Cafés, enjoying –among other things – the unique atmosphere and the famous Belgian waffles.

His next stop was in Vienna, where he visited original Viennese historic Cafés. In the interesting discussions he had with the owners, his idea was warmly accepted, as well as its prospects for development for the places , where historic Cafés are located, and for their people.

The famous “Strudelshow” and the delicious local apple-pie accompanied the conversations and enriched the experience of his visit to the city.

On April 29, 2013, Vassilis Stathakis arrived in Venice. Filled with feelings of impatience and kind “curiosity” about how the Italian Cafés owners would embrace his idea, he started his visit from the famous Cafés in Saint Marc’s Square.

There, he had the unique opportunity to enjoy his espresso in places with extraordinary and original Venetian interior design, accompanied by the sound of violins, while doves were flying above this unique environment. He was delighted to find out that his colleagues were really interested in the cultural activities he proposed and embraced his idea about the creation of the Association with enthusiasm.

On Friday, he departed to Rome and on Saturday morning he visited some of the most famous cafés close to Piazza di Spagna.

He was impressed not only by the magnificence of the places, the smell of the espresso and the taste of the tiramisu, but also by the willingness of the Café owners/representatives he discussed with to take into serious consideration the prospects created by the foundation of such an Association. An instance of the enthusiasm his idea generated was the fact that one of his meeting with a Café owner exceeded their scheduled 30-minute talk, lasting at least four hours!

Needless to say how excited and satisfied he was by his visit to those particular historic places and by the positive reactions to his idea about the creation of the Association.

The warm reception of his idea strengthened his faith and persuaded him into the effort towards the achievement of his inspired vision.

Before landing in Chania, in the island of Crete, he had already planned his next trip to Paris.

The Cafes in Paris

Vassilis Stathakis, decided to visit Paris, even before the end of his previous trips, so on June the 25th, he arrived in the French capital, Paris, filled with excitement.
His first stop was in the famous cafés in St. Germain des Pres, in Champs-Élysées, in the Place de L’Opera and the Place de la Republique and Montparnasse. Once more, he felt enchanted by the interesting conversations and the exchange of ideas with the representatives of the particularly atmospheric historic cafés.

More meetings and tours to some of the oldest European historic Cafés in the region were to follow, where the exchange of proposals and ideas enhanced the vision about the creation of the Association.

Departing from Paris, he had concluded the second part of his journey towards the realization of his vision. He felt that the great mission of communicating his idea had already set off in Europe and in his country, Greece.

His colleagues’ consent and encouragement, together with the collaboration of local and state organizations involved in the process, foreshadowed the next focal point of this journey.

His next meeting with his colleagues – representatives of European Historic Cafés, was scheduled to take place in the historic Café “Kipos” in Chania, on April 8, 2014, for the foundation of the European Historic Cafés Association.”

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