Final publication of the ISTER project

Connecting historical Danube regions along ancient Roman roads

The final publication of the ISTER project summarizes the two-year work of the entire project team. In the richly illustrated report you will find information about the results of the project and the various developments aimed at the relevant target groups. It lists and documents aerial photography, field trips and excavation work, the ISTER International Best Practices Awards, and investments as specific activities during the project. The publication also summarizes the results of the project's communication, dissemination, and capitalization activities. It visualizes the results achieved and is a testament to the outstanding work of each partner in the ISTER International Consortium.

URBASOFIA Planning and Development Office

ISTER capacity building workshops

ISTER capacity building workshops are currently conducted or have been conducted by all partners.
Based on the methodology prepared by URBASOFIA, each territorial/thematic partner had to hold three local capacity building workshops focused on different topics as supporting material. More than 350 stakeholders were involved during the first two rounds of workshops. Historians, mayors, tourism and cultural associations, architects, planners, and universities together explored possible development opportunities for their regions through Roman heritage.

Among the development opportunities discussed, we were able to identify some common interests:
- Making connections to existing bike routes or creating new ones.
- Multisensory experiences and use of new technologies
- New events, attractions and business initiatives for tourists
- Collaboration with similar projects
- Connections with other local routes
- Networking and exchange

The third round of capacity building workshops is mainly focused on the transnational dimension of a cultural eco-route; the expected outcomes are a common medium-term vision and a medium-term cooperation plan. The results of all workshops will feed into the development of local recommendations, more specifically into one of the main outputs of the project: the ISTER Policy Handbook.

Alba Iulia county

Ancient reenactment for tourists in Alba Iulia

The atmosphere of the ancient times with Roman legionaries, gladiators, Dacian warriors is recreated in ancient Apulum (Alba Iulia/Romania) by the ancient reenactment troupe operating in the city and strongly present in the public.

The reenactment troupe shows take place in front of the 4th gate of the citadel of Alba Iulia, the largest fortress in Romania. The shows refer to the Thirteenth Legion (Gemina), the most important legion of the province of Dacia (Dacia), which was stationed in the ancient Roman settlement of Apulum. The fortress was built during the reign of Emperor Trajan.

Schedule of ancient reenactment shows: weekly, every Friday, starting at 19:00, until October 2022:

During the recent restoration of the fortress, extensive surfaces within the Roman fortress were excavated. Untouched areas were excavated. These offered numerous clues to the development and dynamics of military activities within the fortress.
The ancient walls served the needs of the people around the first millennium, later those of the bishops and still later those of the princes of Transylvania.

The Bulgarian Economic Forum

The Bulgarian Economic Forum presented the ISTER project during the National Conference "Cultural Heritage of Bulgaria and Europe - Present and Future".

The conference "Cultural Heritage of Bulgaria and Europe - Present and Future" was held on 21.01.22 in Vidin in hybrid format, organized by the Bulgarian News Agency in partnership with the European Parliament. Members of the European Parliament, representatives of local and central administrations, scientists and citizens participated. Vidin Regional Governor Lyuben Ivanov welcomed the participants and stressed that his priority is to create intensive communication and intellectual and cultural bridges between municipalities, districts and regions of neighboring countries with the active participation of the Bulgarian government. "The rich cultural and historical heritage is a valuable resource that forms the basis for better dialogue between all participants in this process," said Mr. Ivanov. Georgi Tabakov, Chairman of the Bulgaria Economic Forum, presented the project "ISTER: ConnectIng hiSTorical Danube rEgions Roman Routes" and actively participated in the discussions. Digitization, conservation and restoration as well as the promotion of cultural and historical heritage are the highlights around which the participants closed.

In conclusion, the director of the Bulgarian News Agency, Kiril Valchev, pointed out that we preserve our memory for ourselves, for our soul. The greatest goal of Europeans should be to constantly return to their roots, to this Christian Europe of values around which the European Union was founded, he said, expressing the hope that some of the concrete ideas made during the conference would be discussed in the European Parliament .

Transnational Development Group GmbH

Roman roads in Hungary

The Transdanubian parts of Hungary belonged to the territory of the former province of Pannonia. One of the two most important Roman roads in the country is the Amber Road, which ran from the Adriatic to the Baltic in the present-day western border region of Zala, Vas and Győr-Moson-Sopron counties and partly in Austria. The other important route served mainly military purposes and followed the Roman border protection system along the Danube. The expanding Roman Empire originally strived for natural river borders in European territories, which stabilized in the period after the death of Emperor Augustus (14 AD) From the mouth of the Rhine to the Danube Delta. Despite this natural obstacle, the border was also strengthened militarily in order to protect the borders of the Empire and secure the flow of goods.

However, in addition to the transport route of the border rivers, an internal route was also necessary. The latter, the so-called limes, established a land connection between legionary and secondary camps parallel to the river, with the task of guarding the border and the watchtowers, with the task of monitoring traffic and the enemy. The various military installations on the Danube border were built from the middle of the 1st century. The Limes road, running parallel to the construction of the fortification chain, was completed on the entire Pannonian section by the first half of the 2nd century. Even in later times, the carefully constructed Limes Road was used and its maintenance and repair were taken care of.

Veszprém county

Workshop for the preservation of our Roman heritage

As part of the international project "Ister - Connecting the Countries of the Danube Region along the Roman Roads", the Municipality of Veszprém invited representatives from archaeology, the European Capital of Culture 2023, municipalities and tourism organizations of the region, researchers from the Pannonian University to discuss the discovery and use of our ancient cultural heritage, its regulation and policy recommendations on February 9.

The second capacity building workshop of the project was organized by Hangvilla Multifunctional Community Space. One of the goals of the meeting was to learn about and discuss current policies and regulations for heritage protection, and the other was to provide participants with a framework and steps for planned small-scale investments. "The preservation and use of our archaeological and built heritage is a common concern, and the framework for this is provided by legislation. As an enforcement agency, our county-level office is responsible for ensuring that future generations understand and use this treasure in a dignified manner," said Márton Szvath, archaeological administrator of the Veszprém County Government Office's Department of Construction and Monument Protection.
"During our last meeting, the question arose about when to call in an archaeologist, what kind of investments and what kind of conditions require archaeological monitoring. Therefore, my presentation was included in the program, which will give practical information and advice to the locals authorities and other interested parties. The topic is of public interest, so we plan to produce a separate article on it," said Ádám Pátkai, archaeologist at the Dezső Laczkó Museum.

"The ISTER project aims to create a tangible legacy alongside the many valuable collaborations, technical materials and strategic plans. These are partly the Roman-inspired landmarks currently being defined along the Hungarian section of the ISTER eco-cultural road connecting the Danube region, and partly the opportunity to carry out trial excavations in the Nagyvázsony-Nagyreméz vineyard area, which is a very exciting task from an archaeological professional point of view," we learned from Brigitta Péterváry-Szanyi Péterváry, director of the Dezső Laczkó Museum, who has been accompanying the project professionally since the beginning.
The workshop series will continue in April, when all stakeholders involved in the preservation of our heritage will be invited to dialogue and cooperate, so that Veszprém and its surroundings can make the most of the opportunities discovered.

The City Museum and Galleries of Ljubljiana (Slovenia)

Recent discoveries of Roman glassware in Ljubljana are now part of the latest exhibition at the Ljubljana City Museum

The discovery

Archaeological research conducted between May and September 2021 along Dunajska cesta in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, uncovered part of the northern cemetery of Roman Emona. It once extended along the wide road leading to Celeia.

In the area 41 graves were examined, all dating from the period between the middle of the first and the end of the second century. Of these, only one was a body burial for a child. The remaining 40 were all cremations. In addition to the remains of the deceased, the graves contained personal items and eating and drinking utensils. The items had been placed either in a pit, a chest made of roof tiles, an amphora, or a masonry tomb; in two cases, a stone cinerary urn had been used. The extremely rich site also yielded the foundations of a tomb and a tombstone with the inscription Gaius Semmonius Diligens (the Diligent).

Vessel with colorful stains

One discovery during the archaeological excavations along the Dunajska cesta attracted more attention than all the others: an exquisite vessel with a foot and two tiny handles made of blue glass with white, yellow and light blue spots. It was discovered in Tomb 1038, a masonry tomb that also contained a number of other glass and ceramic vessels. The blue vessel presented a particular challenge to the City Museum's restoration team, as it was partially surrounded by a crust of earth that had to be painstakingly removed by hand.
The vessel was made using the free-blowing method and decorated in the blowing process. First, a ball of blue glass was rolled over small pieces of glass in different colors to press them into the surface. The glass was then reheated and blown again into the shape of a goblet. In the process, the small pieces of glass were stretched to form colored speckles.

Roman glassmakers did not produce this type of vessel until the second half of the 1st century AD. However, this particular vessel may have been placed in the tomb at a later date, as it must have been an important family treasure.

Immediately after its discovery, photos of this exceptionally beautiful, fully preserved vessel with its decorative colorful spots were published by a number of media outlets and also widely shared on social media. Users of the portal (Un)Discovered Archaeology of Ljubljana voted it the archaeological find of the year 2021.

The results of current archaeological research, exhibited in the Treasury of the Museum.
As part of the International Year of Glass 2022, the City Museum of Ljubljana unveils new Roman artifacts found in 2021 under the street Dunajska cesta e

The Bistra Ptuj Science and Research Center

Catalog of Roman routes and settlements

The main result of ISTER lies in a transnational framework for long-term cooperation between DR stakeholders at several levels as a prerequisite for promoting sustainable use of the Roman heritage, especially the network of Roman routes and settlements.

We will soon publish the Catalogue of Roman Routes and Settlements, produced as a result of the work of 16 partners from 8 countries in the Ister project.
The catalog records the main Roman roads (via publica) that crossed the Roman Empire and led from Rome to the Danube region. Settlements sprang up along the roads and flourished with the road network. In the catalog you will find descriptions, photographs of the exact location of the once flourishing outposts of the Roman Empire. The outposts were located today in the following countries: Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Slovenian Geodetic Institute

An extraordinary discovery near Slovenj Gradec

In Carinthia, archaeologists discovered an important find in March on the route of the third development axis between Šmartno near Slovenj Gradec and Podgorje, where archaeological research is also taking place. Namely, a milestone was found on the roadside in an archaeological test trench. This find will help archaeologists to determine the course of the Roman road that connected Celeia and Virunum.

From the preserved records on the milestone, it appears that it dates back to the reign of Emperor Severus Alexander, who ruled between 222 and 235. The milestone can be seen in the Carinthian Regional Museum. Archaeological research is carried out by the PJP company under the professional supervision of the Maribor Regional Unit of the Institute for the Protection of Slovenian Cultural Heritage.

The University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU)

Technical Workshop on ISTER T3 "Mapping and Promotion of the Roman Way and Settlement Network

On April 28, a technical workshop on ISTER T3 "Mapping and Promotion of the Roman Pathways and Settlement Network" was held with the project partners, presenting the ISTER geo-applications, namely ISTER Territorial Atlas and ISTER Interactive Tool.

The current status of the ISTER Interactive Tool as well as functionality, workflow (mainly exchange with the ISTER Territorial Atlas) and (geo)graphical representation were shown and discussed, and some "homework" was given to the participants. An outlook was also given on how local and regional routes can be created.

On May 17, a special workshop was held to digitally capture "local and regional ISTER hiking and biking routes" based on the existing road and trail network as represented in Open Street Map (OSM). Some tools to capture these routes were presented. The participants were the territorial ISTER partners and it is now up to them to develop suitable routes in their respective regions and share them for use within the ISTER project and eventually with the general public.

Nowadays, digital tools are essential for planning and implementing tours. Documenting one's own activities and sharing experiences, exchanging ideas with friends and like-minded people, is an essential part of the respective undertakings. The INTERACTIVE TOOL will contribute to this.

East Württemberg Regional Association

The former Limes border runs through five federal states in Germany: North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse, Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria. There is close cooperation between numerous thematic institutions in these federal states, including within the framework of the German Limes Commission.

An example of this cooperation is the traveling exhibition of the Limes Express Mittelfranken (Bavaria), which will take place from June 5 to July 24 near the Dalkinger Gate in the Limes Park Rainau. The exhibition provides interesting insights into various aspects of everyday life near the Limes border some 2000 years ago. At several information stations, visitors can learn about former inhabitants of the Limes border area and their culture in terms of clothing and footwear, cuisine and eating habits, craftsmanship, religious life, medicine, etc. For children there are excursions and activities, as well as do-it-yourself activities on weekends. The ambience of the glass shelter around the Limestor harmoniously complements the exhibition. - Network for city and space

ISTER Award Ceremony (Aalen, Germany).

In the context of a hybrid international conference in Germany, the ISTER Award Ceremony took place on February 23, 2022. The 2nd ISTER Capitalization Meeting in Aalen showed the importance of the idea and intention of the ISTER Awards.

The ceremony was opened by Mr. Torsten Beck ( In her welcome speech, Mrs. Heidrun Heckmann (Ostalbkreis) congratulated the participants of the award ceremony and the winners of each category. The presentation of Mr. Georgi Tabakov (Bulgaria Economic Forum) inspired the participants by describing the path that the ISTER consortium has taken from the idea to the current ceremony.

All partners were involved for several months in promoting competition among stakeholders and encouraging them to apply with their Roman heritage projects and initiatives. From October 1 to December 24, 2021, applicants had the opportunity to submit their application materials in one of three categories. During this period, the total number of applications reached 11 - from seven different countries. The international jury included 9 partners from five countries.

The jury and the organizers were delighted with the strong competition, interest and activity of the participants. The winners of each category or their representatives were on hand to receive their trophies and present the winning projects.

Here are the winners in each category:

Category 1 - Protection and preservation of the Roman heritage.
1st prize winner: National Museum of Uzice, (Serbia)
Project: Protection and preservation of historical monuments in the Lapidarium

Category 2 - Promotion and enhancement of Roman heritage
1st prize winner: National Museum of the Association in Alba Iulia, (Romania)
Project: PANTHEON 3D

Category 3 - Sustainable use and development of the Roman heritage
1st prize winner: Vidin Regional Administration (Bulgaria)
Project: Network for sustainable mobility along the Danube River

The Roman City of Carnuntum

Metropolis at the Danube Limes

Since June 30, 2022, the Museum Carnuntinum shines in new splendor. With the opening of the brand-new exhibition "Carnuntum - Weltstadt am Donaulimes" (Carnuntum - Metropolis at the Danube Limes), never-before-seen exhibits from the provincial collections of Lower Austria will be presented, among other things, providing an impressive portrait of the city's history as well as its social life.

For the first time, the results of over 150 years of scientific research have been brought together to create an interactive city map of ancient Carnuntum, which makes it possible to depict both the history of settlement and settlement structure down to the level of a city district.

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