Liepāja welcomes ICTE partners to the Baltic Coast

Created/updated 04.10.2016 17:24

During the last days of August, the Latvian city of Liepāja welcomed representatives of the transnational consortium working on the Iron Curtain Train Experience (ICTE) project.  Despite not being located on the border of two countries split by the ‘Iron Curtain’, this section of the route contains lots of reminders of the Cold War period and how Europe was once divided into East and West, as the participants in the project meeting found out.

After the Second World War, the Soviet military set up its Baltic naval base in Liepāja, the port was closed to commercial traffic and it became a closed city – even local farmers and villagers needed a special permit to enter it.  At one point a third of Liepāja was taken up by the naval base and its military staff numbered 26,000.

While there are still some physical reminders of this period left in Liepāja, the city is now very much open to the world and proud of the fact that the 10,000 km international cycle route EuroVelo 13 – Iron Curtain Trail passes right through its centre.  Some EuroVelo 13 signs are already in place within the municipality and during a workshop held in the City Hall before the project meeting meeting started, a representative of the Liepāja City Council committed to investing in more signs in the future.

The workshop was attended by local stakeholders and the Latvian media who heard MEPs Michael Cramer and Roberts Zīle talk about the importance of developing cycling infrastructure for tourists and local communities and how the Iron Curtain Trail can remind people of this important part of Europe’s history.

The project meeting was an opportunity for the partners to catch up with the development of the EuroVelo 13 – Iron Curtain Trail App (the first related to an entire EuroVelo route) and related communication and promotion activities.  Several partners have already commissioned photo shoots of their sections of the route to provide useful resources that can be used by the entire partnership.  Mock-ups of the app itself had been prepared by the developer and were warmly received by the partners.  Over the coming months the partners will need to provide the data to populate the app in time for it to be launched early next year in time for the 2017 cycling season.

After the meeting, the partners took to bicycles to try the local sections of the route and to visit some of the related attractions, including a former military prison in Karosta where visitors are given an insight into the experience of former prisoners in a reality show “Behind the bars”.

ICTE is co-financed by the EU through the COSME Programme.

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