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Report from the seminar of OF UIA WORKING PROGRAMME "SPIRITUAL PLACES" which took place in France in the days 5-7 September 2003

Second International Seminar organized by our Program according to the plan of activities prepared after XXI UIA Congress in Berlin in July 2002 took place in the days 5-7 September 2003 in France. Architectural aspects of religious tourism were the main theme of the Seminar.
The meeting started in Paris and was continued in Paray-le-Monial in Burgundy - famous as a catholic pilgrimage place. On the way back to Paris on September 7th we stopped in Beaune, also in Burgundy. Organization of the Seminar was coordinated by Program Director arch. Ewa Kurylowicz. Coll. Zygmunt Knyszewski - French delegate to the Program and his associate Patricia Blanc - were the organizers of the event in France. The expenses were basically covered individually by the participants of the Seminar. Some financial help was given by C.I.A.F. France and Association of Polish Architects SARP and this money were used for train fares in France for Program permanent members who participated in the Seminar (7 persons).
During the Seminar the resolutions about the International Conference, on the problems of spatial aspects of religious tourism which is to be organized by the Program in 2004, were made.

9 permanent and associated members of the Program from 4 countries: Poland, France, Hungary and Ukraine took part in the event:

  1. Arch. Ewa Kury這wicz, Director of the Program, permanent member, Poland
  2. Art. fot. Patricia Blanc, assoc. member, France
  3. Arch. Gabor Csanady, permanent member, Hungary
  4. Arch. Zygmunt Knyszewski, permanent member, France
  5. Arch. Jurij Kryvoruchko, permanent member, Ukraine
  6. Arch. Konrad Kucza-Kuczy雟ki, permanent member, Poland
  7. Arch. Stefan Kury這wicz, assoc. member, Poland
  8. Arch. Michel Leger, permanent member, France
  9. Arch. Jerzy U軼inowicz, permanent member, Poland.

5 September 2003

The Seminar started according to the plan at C.I.A.F. office (Conseil International des Architectes Francaise - International Council of French Architects) in Paris, at rue Borromee 9, where participants were welcomed by C.I.A.F. authorities. At 10:00 UIA Secretary General arch. Jean-Claude Riguet came and Director of the Program arch. Ewa Kury這wicz started the first part of the sessions during which the organizational problems concerning the Program works in the period 2002-2005 were discussed, i.e until XXII UIA Congress in Istambul, Turkey.
We will try so that our works within the UIA structures can be coordinated with the works of Programs from the group Facilities: Tourism of Region II (Dir. Vladimir Krogius, Secretariat in Russia), Tourism from Region I (Dir. Paolo Corsi, secr. In Italy) and with the Program Architectural Heritage from the group Cultural Identity which is directed by Maristella Casciato (Italy). Cooperation with UNESCO, ICOMOS and Council of Europe is also being considered. Director Ewa Kury這wicz stated officially that the Program is planning on organizing an international conference devoted for the problems of spatial aspects of religious tourism. The conference will take place in the first half of 2004. The place of the venue will be Warsaw, Poland. Conference will be opened for all specialists and will be accompanied by excursions to selected pilgrimage sanctuaries of different religions in Poland.
Secretary General Jean-Claude Riguet expressed his satisfaction about the plans of developing the cooperation between horizontal UIA structures as well as his interest in following the further works connected with the conference subject. He also promised to be able to be a guest of a summit of Program "Spiritual places" in 2004 and to come to Warsaw. He also wished all the best to Seminar participants - good journey around France and fruitful sessions.
After finishing the talks we went to train station Gare de Lyon from which we departed by TGV train to Paray-le Monial in Burgundy. There, at 17:00 the meeting with the town Mayor Mr Jean - Marc Nesmes started at the Town Hall - historical Hotel de Ville building in the center of the town. The meeting lasted 90 minutes and was for us an extraordinary source of information concerning the way of managing the pilgrimage place as Paray le Monial is, its specificity, problems and strong points.
J-M Nesmes has been a Mayor of the town for 14 years. During this time he has introduced many changes aimed at keeping the holy character of the place while still upgrading the quality of life of its inhabitants. The main principles of town authorities policy rely upon realizing the policy of keeping the historical zone as the pedestrian one and as having the "atmosphere of silence". All ordinary facilities necessary for town functioning are being localized outside this zone. The spatial development of the town is based upon the Local Plan prepared 25 years ago which is being updated every five years. These updates are being done in the way of competitions. Spatial dispositions are controlled by the Specialists on Preservation and by the Office for Architectural Heritage which is uniquely French, as it seems. Mayor Nesmes quoted selected preservation regulations helpful in keeping the desired character of historical towns, for example the regulation on keeping the 500 meters distance from the qualified historical monuments. In Paray le Monial the qualified historical monuments are the Sacred Heart Basilica, Town Hall and Tour of Saint Nicolas. He also talked about the principles and ways of financing the different investments in the town naming the main sources i.e.: European Union, French Government, Council of Burgundy.
The day ended with the walk around the town and with the dinner taken together.

September 6, 2003
Second part of meeting with Mayor Jean Marc Nesmes started the day at 9:00 a.m. The meeting lasted 1 hour.
Jean Marc Nesmes was answering our questions concerning the ways of keeping religious tourists in the town, providing them accommodation without creating unnecessary burden to the holy historical zone. 35% of the town revenue comes from tourism. The town in inhabited by 10 thousand people. Mayor was also talking about the events organized in Paray le Monial in order to attract tourists: exhibitions, concerts, knights' fights. Mutual cooperation of different religious organizations working in town and collaborating with town authorities is very helpful for good town management. The meeting ended with presentation of a new project of a town enlightement system prepared as a result of recently ended competition.

Meeting with the Mayor of well managed, well taken care of pilgrimage place was very interesting for all Seminar participants. It was a source of many valuable informations, impossible to obtain without being in this particular place and without direct conversation with a competent person as Jean Marc Nesmes. Jean Marc Nesmes, who offered us his time, experience and knowledge accepted the preliminary invitation for our conference in 2004 and we hope he will be able to come to Warsaw.

After the talks with Mayor ended we started our working session in the beautiful hall made accessible for us especially for this occasion. We discussed the problems connected with our conference in 2004 and specifically: time, place, aim of the conference and its title. As the result of hot discussion in which everybody took part, we came to the following conclusions:

Conference will be a one-day venue organized on Saturday, April 24 2003. Friday before - and Sunday after - the conference will be devoted for the excursions to pilgrimage places in Poland. The place will most probably be the building of the Faculty of Architecture, Warsaw University of Technology or Association of Polish Architects SARP palace, both in Warsaw.
It has been decided that the title of the conference will be as following:
"SPIRITUAL ITINERARIES - SHAPING THE PILGIRIMAGE PLACES" with the subtitle: "Architectural and urban problems connected with the phenomenon of contemporary religious tourism ".
The basic aims of the conference were agreed as:
Identification and description of contemporary pilgrimage places as the aim of religious tourism, seen as part of cultural tourism, involving different, specified by the sociologists groups of people, realizing different individual goals. The places chosen for presentation should include sanctuaries holy for different religions in different countries with the special accent upon characteristic features of various beliefs, customs and traditions.
Searching for different ways of reaching sacral character of pilgrimage places which should be the main feature of the space of these sanctuaries among cultural, sociological and other determinants.
Formulating the conclusions resulting from description of the present state of analyzed pilgrimage places and from forecasts about their development formulated by the specialists, aimed at achieving the desired spiritual character of sanctuaries which should be a priority. The conclusions will concern the places interpreted as a part of the route travelled by the tourists - pilgrims understood as a chain of places both metaphorically and pragmatically. The route is: home - sanctuary - home.
It has been agreed that we will try to invite representatives of local governments, architects and urban planners, sociologists, specialists in religious tourism and experts in lithurgy of different religions parallel to getting involved expoerts from UIA structures, respective UNESCO agencies, ICOMOS and Council of Europe.

The day ended with visiting the historical buildings of Paray le Monial, seeing exhibition of religious paintings and dinner taken together.

In the morning at 10:30 we took a train to Beaune in Burugundy. In the town famous for its wine, after lunch we have been visiting beautiful Hotel Dieu - medieval hospital working as a public health place until 1975 and various Beaune churches. At 17:49 we took a TGV train to Paris. Seminar ended at the train station Gare de Lyon around 8 p.m.

Arch. Ewa Kury這wicz, Programme Director

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