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Belarus, Poland seek to include Augustow Canal into UNESCO list

Society 15.10.2019 | 13:40
Archive photo
Archive photo

GRODNO, 15 October (BelTA) – Belarus and Poland will promote the Augustow Canal as a natural and cultural complex to include this unique hydro-technical structure into the UNESCO World Heritage List, Vice Governor of the Grodno Oblast Executive Committee Viktor Liskovich told the media following the working meeting with Polish colleagues in Grodno, BelTA has learned.

During the working meeting the parties discussed arranging an international conference on this topic on 5-6 November. It will be co-hosted by Grodno and Augustow. The conference will be another step towards inclusion of the Augustow Canal and the surrounding areas as a single natural and cultural complex into the UNESCO World Heritage List. “This is painstaking work. The nomination file should be thoroughly prepared,” said Viktor Liskovich. He stressed that the object is planned to be promoted as a single Belarusian-Polish brand.

“Many canals have been included in this list. They are interesting in terms of technical solutions. For its part, the Augustow Canal has organically fit into the nature and culture of the region over its 180-year-old history. It still attracts tourists," Mayor of Augustow Miroslaw Karolczuk said. He noted that assigning the canal the status of a UNESCO World Heritage site would make it more attractive to tourists from all over the world.

One of the topics of the meeting was the joint use of the canal for tourism purposes and development of the relevant infrastructure. This topic will be discussed during the upcoming conference as well. Suggestions have been made to set up the Augustow Canal museum on the water, to develop common platforms and mobile applications that would help tourists to get all the necessary information about the travel on the Belarusian and Polish parts of the canal and the surroundings.

“On our part, we have been doing a lot on this front. We have set up a website for visa-free tourists, launched mobile applications about bike routes along the canal, nearby attractions and interesting places. A similar project is being implemented to help tourists navigate by the main routes of the region,” Viktor Liskovich said.

He stressed that the region is popular with foreigners. For example Grodno is gearing up to celebrate this year's 100,000 visa-free tourist in the coming days. For the time being the visa-free program applies to Grodno and Grodno District only but will be extended to cover the whole Grodno Oblast as of 10 November.

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