Newsletter July 2023


FORTE CULTURA Annual Congress 2023 Šibenik (HR)

Around 60 members and guests from 13 countries attended the FORTE CULTURA Annual Congress 2023 in Šibenik at the end of March. Exciting contributions on the topic of sustainable tourism, inclusion as well as on the touristic valorisation of fortresses in the Šibenik-Knin area and Montenegro were on the agenda, cross-border fortress clusters, e.g. Upper Rhine and Bohemia, presented themselves as European best practices. Ms Remeshylo-Rybchynska from Lviv also provided information on the situation of the cultural heritage of fortresses in Ukraine and how attempts are being made to preserve it from war damage.



Sightseeing in Šibenik, an excursion with a workshop at Knin Fortress and the opening of the European Fortress Summer 2023 (EFS) rounded off the event.



At the FORTE CULTURA general meeting with elections, the participants unanimously confirmed the previous FORTE CULTURA board, the scientific advisory board and the auditor in their positions. In addition, Tomas Jirouch from Josefov (CZ) was newly elected to the extended board.


We would like to thank Fortress of Culture Šibenik for their hospitality and for their great support in organising and running the annual event. The conference was co-financed by the Croatian Ministry of Culture and Media.

Ferrol (ES): Conference „Apuntando Ao Mar“

The Provincial Council of A Coruña (Diputación de A Coruña) in Galicia, Spain, has invited experts and best practices from all over Europe to Ferrol to promote the development of the important cultural heritage of the fortified monuments of the municipalities of Ares, Ferrol and Valdoviño. As an important naval base and shipyard location, the natural harbour of Ferrol was already heavily fortified during the times of the Spanish Armada. In the 20th century, numerous batteries with impressive armament followed. In addition to Dirk Röder, who presented FORTE CULTURA as a cultural route with numerous tools and instruments for fortification sites, Natasa Urosevic (Pula, HR) and Fiorenzo Menghelli (Verona, IT), among others, also spoke. Further information

Ingolstadt (DE): FORTE CULTURA regional workshop

The meeting room in the tower of the Ingolstadt Army Museum dating back to 1420 provided the perfect setting to discuss the future of the Bavarian fortress in the context of FORTE CULTURA. The workshop with tour guides and representatives of the city of Ingolstadt as well as guests from Germersheim, Ulm and Kronach is a first step towards integrating Ingolstadt Fortress into the FORTE CULTURA cultural route and at the same time a good start for regional fortress cooperation in southern Germany and along the Danube.

Donation campaign Ukraine-Help

FORTE CULTURA, together with EFFORTS, launched a European initiative in April 2022 in Terezín (CZ) to support fortress sites in Ukraine. Medzhybizh Fortress was declared a member and station of the European Cultural Route and other Ukrainian fortress sites were networked with fortresses from the rest of Europe to provide concrete support. In addition, in online workshops with participants from a total of 12 countries, assistance measures were discussed and concrete cooperations were concluded.


Fundraising Campaign "Protecting Cultural Heritage in Ukraine from the Impact of War"

To protect cultural assets from the consequences of war, we support our member fortress Medzhybizh with urgently needed donations in kind. For this purpose, we have started a fundraising campaign at Please support us with your donation.


During the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine since February 2022, the historic Medzhybizh fortress once again became a shelter and refuge for many refugees, especially women and children. The staff of the fortress support families fleeing war zones, collect donations, offer children's day programmes and accommodation, sew camouflage nets and support their country as best they can. At the same time, attempts are made to maintain a largely "normal museum operation" in order to offer the people and guests of the fortress some diversion and comfort. In addition, archaeology workshops are offered as therapeutic measures to mitigate war traumas.


Furthermore, since 2023, art, cultural assets and exhibits from surrounding museums and cultural institutions have begun to be stored in the fortress to protect them from the possible consequences of war. The fundraising campaign is intended to help purchase necessary equipment so that the people and cultural assets in Medzhybizh Fortress can survive the war, e.g. PV generators, vacuum chambers, drying cabinets, power banks, security technology and much more. Please support us.



As a European Cultural Route, FORTE CULTURA helps to preserve the important cultural heritage of fortress monuments and make it accessible to all people. Together with Aktion Mensch, FORTE CULTURA regularly initiates projects to make the fortress landscape in Germany more inclusive and barrier-free, e.g. with the help of the Aktion Mensch programme "#1 Barrier Less".


Koblenz (DE): Aktion Mensch inclusion project in the Feste Kaiser Franz completed

With the help of the Aktion Mensch Lottery, FORTE CULTURA and the fortress city of Koblenz (the city of Koblenz's own company for green spaces and funeral services) have developed and implemented a tour in easy-to-understand language in the "Kaiser Franz Fortress Park". A flyer in easy language as well as audio files in easy language were developed in order to convey the special history of the fortress city of Koblenz to as many people as possible. The project was funded by Aktion Mensch with €5,000 and the city of Koblenz contributed an additional €1,000.

Germersheim (DE): Aktion Mensch inclusion project completed

As part of the funding programme "#1 Barrier Less" of the Aktion Mensch Lottery, FORTE CULTURA and the fortress city of Germersheim have already developed a circular route for blind and visually impaired people in 2021, which provides information about the fortress city of Germersheim at 4 stations on Braille signs as well as in audio files. As part of a second project, 2 more stations have now been added to the circular route and a flyer has been produced in Braille to explain the route. The Tourist Information Germersheim in the Weissenburg Gate of the fortress town will be happy to provide

Fort Gorgast (DE): Aktion Mensch project approved

The Aktion Mensch Lottery in Germany approves another project grant to FORTE CULTURA e.V. to remove barriers, this time in Fort Gorgast (DE). Approved was € 4,674.50 to set up a circular path with information for mentally disabled people in easy-to-understand language. Signs and audio guides in German and Polish will explain the functioning and history of the fort. The project will be realised together with the Fort Gorgast e.V. association until the end of October.

Seelow (DE): Cross-border tourism network "Remembrance connects" launched

In the German-Polish border region east of Berlin, the new tourism brand "Remembrance connects" Oder-Warthe has been developed over the last 4 years. The project, funded under the EU's Interreg V-A Brandenburg-Lubuskie funding programme, laid the foundations for the establishment of a multi-perspective remembrance landscape along the Oder and Warta rivers, among other things. 180 sites represent fascinating regional history from three eras, including Fort Gorgast, Fortress Küstrin (Kostrzyn nad Odrą), the Museum Oder-Warthe Fortress Arch (MRU), Kulturbunker Strausberg and other Cold War bunkers. The cross-border tourism brand was developed by ECCOFORT on behalf of the city of Seelow. As European Cultural Routes, FORTE CULTURA and the Liberation Route Europe are part of the new regional network for educational and remembrance tourism, youth encounters and international understanding.


European Fortress Summer 2023 (EFS)

The European Fortress Summer 2023 is in full swing, with numerous events promoted since the opening at the FORTE CULTURA Annual Congress in Sibenik at the end of March. EFS2023 will end at the beginning of October at the EFFORTS Annual Congress in Maastricht.

FORTE CULTURA Tourism catalogue and travel sales platform

Due to the high editorial effort, the launch of the two new marketing tools will be postponed until the end of the year. In the catalogue, all member stations are shown in detail on 1-2 pages, grouped by region. The catalogue comprises more than 100 pages and will initially be published in German and English. The contents are to be entered online by the FORTE CULTURA member stations themselves and updated regularly. The network office will shortly be sending out information to all members with a request to enter/correct catalogue data.


The travel sales platform will in future offer all member stations the opportunity to present their travel and tour offers to a broad target group online. Both individual offers (e.g. guided tours) and multi-day trips can be posted in several languages. Travellers can thus put together their own individual trip on the platform from different components and book it as a "package". An online introductory workshop is planned for November.

New FORTE CULTURA Regional Flyer Bohemia

In cooperation with the cluster of imperial fortresses in Bohemia (CZ) -Terezín, Josefov, Prague Vysehrad, Hradec Kralove- a FORTE CULTURA regional flyer was published and produced in three languages.

FORTE CULTURA Actionbound App

In cooperation with Actionbound GmbH, FORTE CULTURA has been offering all member stations the opportunity to create and offer digital-real scavenger hunts, fortress rallies, puzzle games and much more with the Actionbound app since spring 2023. Further information will be provided by the network office shortly, but interested stations are welcome to contact us now.

EuroSchein-Souvenir in der „FORTE CULTURA Edition“

In cooperation with EuroSchein-Souvenir GmbH, FORTE CULTURA offers the possibility to create and sell individual souvenir banknotes (0€). For example, the Fortress Town Germersheim has been successfully offering souvenir notes for sale at the Tourist Info for €3 each since the end of 2021. Money printing has never been so easy. FORTE CULTURA members receive a 5% discount on the purchase price. For further information, please contact the network office.


Certification programme for tourist guides

FORTE CULTURA guides offer very special insights into the fascinating fortress worlds of our cultural route. Whether in historical costume, on underground paths or with exclusive content, the tours with certified guides are always an experience. You too can qualify as a FORTE CULTURA-certified tour guide.


FORTE CULTURA is constantly working on the expansion of the cultural route. As of July 2023, FORTE CULTURA comprises 55 stations in 11 countries. We have welcomed the following new stations in 2023 so far.

Culture Fortress Šibenik (HR)

The fortresses Barone, St. John and St. Michael, managed by "Fortress of Culture Šibenik", have been extensively renovated in the last 10 years and equipped with a wide range of leisure and educational functions. With many innovations and far-sighted investments, they are among the European best practices in the field of sustainable development of historic fortress buildings, as also seen during the FORTE CULTURA Annual Congress 2023 in Šibenik. Fortress of Culture Šibenik is now our youngest FORTE CULTURA member, we are looking forward to intensive exchange and close cooperation.

Fort Gorgast (DE)

Fort Gorgast was built at the end of the 19th century and is an outer fort of the former Küstrin Fortress (Kostrzyn nad Odrą, PL). The Prussian Biehlerfort is the only one of the 4 outer forts of the Küstrin fortress on the western side of the Odra and is also the only one that is well preserved. Today, the Fort Gorgast e.V. association looks after the site with guided tours and events. The association's board of directors around Michael Heinsohn would like to strengthen cooperation with other fortress sites. Fort Gorgast was already involved in the development of the Baltic Fort Rote from 2004-2006. (Photo: D. Röder)

San Marino (SMR)

San Marino is one of the oldest republics in the world. The small state in the southwest of the Italian province of Emilia-Romagna also has a distinctive fortress heritage, some of which is a part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. The fortresses of Guaita, Cesta and Montale on the crest of Monte Titano also adorn the coat of arms of the proud republic. The new cooperation with FORTE CULTURA is being developed together with the San Marinese Ministries of Economy and Culture to strengthen fortress tourism in the region.

Rasnov (RO)

The fortress Rasnov (Rosenau) is picturesquely situated on a mountain above the town of the same name in Romanian Transylvania. The "peasant's castle" is a refuge from the 14th century and offered shelter to the surrounding population in times of war, sometimes for decades. Today, the Rasnov fortress is a popular tourist attraction. Much renovation has been done in recent years, and new festivals are enlivening the area. Mayor Liviu Butnaru expects the new cooperation to bring more international reach and network contacts, as well as the expansion of fortress tourism offers in the region.

Bavarian state fortress Ingolstadt (DE)

The Bavarian state fortress of Ingolstadt was developed in five epochs into today's major fortress system. On both sides of the Danube there are fortifications, some of them very well preserved, from five centuries, representing the Renaissance fortress, the expansion after the Thirty Years' War, the neo-classical fortress (rebuilt after being razed by Napoleon) as well as an antebellum belt and an outer fortification belt. By joining, Ingolstadt aims to attract more international attention in cultural tourism. Furthermore, fortress cooperations in Bavaria, in the border region between Germany and Austria and along the Danube are to be developed and expanded. Maximilian Schuster, the chairman of the Förderverein Bayerische Landesfestung Ingolstadt e.V., has also become a member. We look forward to working together.

Water Castle Windischleuba (DE)

Windischleuba moated castle was built as early as 925 as a border fortress to protect the neighbouring town of Altenburg and was later converted into a fortified castle. For a long time it was owned by the Counts of Meissen and Münchhausen. The formerly trapezoidal complex has a perimeter wall with four defence towers at the corners and the inner courtyard is surrounded on two sides by a moat. The mighty main gate is on the north side. Today the moated castle is a popular youth hostel with a wide range of adventure and leisure activities. FORTE CULTURA member is the Deutsche Jugendherbergswerk e.V., Landesverband Thüringen.



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  • 20 July 2023: International Conference Kostrzyn nad Odra (PL)
  • 2-5 October 2023: EFFORTS Annual Congress Maastricht (NL), registration open
  • 7 October 2023: Annual Conference Bund der Deutschen Baumeister und Architekten Landesfachverband Brandenburg, Fort Gorgast (DE)
  • November 2023: FORTE CULTURA online workshop tourism catalogue and travel sales platform
  • April 2024: FORTMED Conference, Tirana (AL)


More news and previous FORTE CULTURA newsletters..


Since July 2020, regular FORTE CULTURA members are automatically associate members in EFFORTS and vice versa. To enable EFFORTS members to enjoy all the benefits of the cultural route in the future, FORTE CULTURA offers EFFORTS members a 20% discount on the annual membership fee. For further information, please contact the network office.


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