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Tell us your story


It is a fact: We are facing one of the biggest challenges of our generation. Some have lost their jobs, others are confined to their homes, unable to see and interact personally with family and friends.

In our historic cities, there are people who are still taking care of our World Heritage despite the crisis. How are they doing this? What are they doing these days to protect our heritage? How are they affected by this situation?

Are they changing their way of thinking? Are they considering a different way of preserving their heritage and cities in the future?

We would like to hear you and read your personal thoughts on the situation, from a heritage perspective. We would like to read you, your mayors and your colleagues… tell us, in a short text of 300-400 words, one specific aspect of your life and work at the moment. Use your own voice and personalize it by sharing a picture of you and another of your city in its current situation.

Share your stories by filling in this short form:

  • Tell us your story, in your own words. Max. 400 words.
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      Join a picture of you, and some of your city if you wish. Allowed file extensions: jpg, gif, png

    IMPORTANT: You want to share your story in your own social media platforms? Use the hashtag #HeritageCityStories and follow it to read the stories of your colleagues!

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    Stories from our members

    Hola. Soy Rafael Pérez de la Concha Camacho, funcionario del Ayuntamiento de Córdoba. Aunque mi formación es la de Turismo, he trabajado durante 15 años en el ámbito del Protocolo y las Relaciones Públicas, y durante los últimos 20 años también en Turismo y en Patrimonio.

    Conozco la OCPM desde 2001, año en que desde mi Ayuntamiento me asignaron la responsabilidad de dirigir la Unidad de Turismo y Patrimonio de la Humanidad y la Secretaría Regional para Europa del Sur y Mediterráneo de esta Organización de Ciudades Patrimonio Mundial, como Coordinador Regional. 35 años trabajando para hacer mejor la vida en mi ciudad, Córdoba. Todo un lujo que disfruto cada día.

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    The view from Philly

    Winston Churchill said “The pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

    Oddly it is World War II stories that have helped me to redirect the work of the Global Philadelphia Association as well as to adjust my work/life balance since the COVID-19 pandemic. A nomadic childhood included listening to tales of rationing, the blackout, the blitz and the occupation from both my French and British family elders. These stories have been helpful reminders of how, in times of hardship, we need to redirect and to work on keeping positive.

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    I greet you from home confinement, I am Joel Perea Quiroz, currently UNESCO manager of the cultural site, Zone of Historical Monuments of Querétaro and the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro cultural itinerary in its chapter of the historic center of Querétaro. Since 2003, I have worked in relation to the various topics of care and protection of cultural heritage, but from 2006 to date I have carried out concrete and priority actions for the conservation and enhancement of cultural sites.

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    A message as part of the UNESCO campaign #ShareOurHeritage

    Good afternoon, my name is Matthias Ripp. I’m the site manager for the World Heritage site Regensburg in Bavaria. And we are also affected by the Coronavirus, so at the moment our very popular World Heritage visitor center had to close down and no one can go inside and experience it. And this is a pity because around this time of the year at Easter, usually people start to travel and come to the city.

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     Jussi Telaranta, World Heritage Coordinator

    Before the COVID-19 pandemic, calendar was booked with many meetings in Rauma, in the capital and abroad. There were some doubts about telecommuting in our organization.

    Now traveling has stopped and a large amount of Rauma’s experts are working remotely. The exceptional situation forces us to question conventional practices. When many things can be handled remotely, should we reduce our business trips and work more from home?

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    11 months ago, during the OWHC Congress in Krakow, overtourism was one of the challenges of historical cities. Thousands of tourists in our city, pictures of crowded Florence, Venice and many other cities in the world illustrated this problem, and in the speech of the charismatic Mayor of Dubrovnik many mayors found their own concern about how to preserve the local landscape, important places and addresses, how to limit the gentrification of historical districts, how to build respect for both residents and tourists. Also the tourist harbor towns cooperated to create strategies to counteract the effects of tourism, symbolized by the huge cruisers. As late as March 11th this year – only two months ago! – during the last conference in Krakow “Historical Cities 3.0”, the offer for the premium tourist, desired by all tourist towns, was discussed. Would anyone then believe that a month later the streets of cities, including the historic ones, visited by millions of tourists, and the world’s most famous historic sites such as Wawel Royal Castle, Piazza di San Marco, Palazzo Uffizi, Plaza de la Constitución, Red Square will be completely deserted?

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    Reflections on Covid-19 from the World Heritage City of Bamberg

    On 17 March, the German Government decided to close the majority of shops, cultural, sports and leisure venues in an attempt to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. Bamberg with its 78.000 inhabitants came to a standstill. None of the average 7 million tourists p.a. was to be seen. We shut the doors of our newly built World Heritage Visitor Centre and cancelled all guided tours.

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    It was just mid March when I’ve started to realize how the spread of COVID-19 would dramatically disrupt our lives – our community and work style. And by “our lives” I mean lives worldwide. Still having my working routine between museum and work bureau that day, I was shooting the Gosha Gala Square (the main square of Icherisheher and Baku city, with double gates dating back to the 12th century), completely empty. Completely empty in March! March is the Novruz fest time – a time when you wouldn’t find a room to swing a cat, there’s that – seeing it so deserted felt particularly odd.

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    My name is Tino Motzalla and I’m part of the team of Potsdam Marketing & Service GmbH.

    In the past few years, we could welcome more guests from all over the world in Potsdam every year. They enjoyed the magnificent palaces, the extensive parks and the baroque city center framed by the romantic water landscape of the Potsdam Havel Lakes.

    The current crisis with its travel restrictions has not gone unnoticed in Potsdam.

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    The Government of St. Petersburg, represented by the Committee for the State Preservation of Cultural and Historical monuments, pays special attention to interaction with young people. The Government tries to develop projects that are relevant to young people and motivate them to participate in heritage conservation. So, a few years ago, the “Mission to preserve” project was created.

    It’s an interregional festival in a sphere of promotion and preservation of cultural heritage. The idea of the Festival is to make the world of art closer to the young audience and convey to them the understanding of the heritage surroundings in a city space. It is not only an educational project, but a project where the student’s ideas about popularization of heritage as well as their World Heritage Site “Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Group of Monuments” could be noticed and implemented by authorities.

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