Old town renewal in Slovenia
The Slovene town Jesenice has applied a €1.2 million grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to renovate its old town square and turn it into a local social venue.
The renovation of the Old Sava square in Jesenice forms part of the larger €1,4 million "Lively Old Town" project, aimed at revitalising the old town centres of five cities in the Gorenjska region. Historical buildings in the cities Radovljica, Škofja Loka, Kranj, and Trič will also undergo face lifts in order to preserve important Slovene cultural heritage and provide local inhabitants with new public venues. Hedmark County in Norway is actively involved in the project.
Reopening the Old Sava
At the opening event for the renovated town square in Jesenice in April 2008, more than a hundred locals showed up to celebrate their new meeting place. Representatives from Hedmark County were also present at the opening ceremony, and Norwegian partner Frode Bakken expressed hope that the renovation of the square would only signal the beginning for the Slovene town.
At the opening event, the local community gave the delegation from Norway and rest of the audience a taste of their rich cultural traditions. Vice Mayor of Jesenice Boris Bregant emphasised that the newly renovated square is set to become a centre point in the city. "Cultural heritage is not only to be found in buildings, but in traditions. The square is a meeting point for the past, present and the future," Bregant said, adding: "Last year Jesenice had 26 events, more will take place this year. The city has become lively".
The comprehensive cultural heritage project is the result of close collaboration between the Gorenjska Region's Regional Development Agency BSC, the Association of Historical Cities of Slovenia, the municipalities of Radovljica, Škofja Loka, Kranj, Jesenice and Trič, and their Norwegian partner, Hedmark County. The exchange of experiences on regional, urban and spatial planning has been crucial for the success of the project, and the partners have focused on developing environmentally friendly and attractive city centres to stimulate local business development and reverse negative population trends.