Implementation period: 2010 ÷ 2012 years. Value of the implemented project activities – EUR 48 794. Funded by the Sozopol Foundation through donations from individuals and legal entities. Founded in 2010 within the European Consortium of Human Rights and Disability Foundations, the main objective of the League of Historical and Affordable Cities is to find new ways of reconciling cultural heritage protection and accessibility, which is one of the major challenges in Europe related to accessibility and an important area to engage the foundation sector.
In March 2013, on the grounds of projects accomplished by Sozopol Foundation, the town of Sozopol and the Ancient Town of Apollonia Archaeological Reserve joined to the League of Historical and Accessible Cities.
The common goals under the project are being implemented simultaneously by nine foundations, in five different countries across Europe, each of which works in co-operation with the local authorities of a particular historical city – Avila (Spain), Turin (Italy), Lucca (Italy), Milhouse (France), Viborg (Denmark), Sozopol (Bulgaria).
The project aims at provision of a tourist itinerary with around 1 km lenght, which goes through the centre of every member city. Each itinerary will include interesting buildings, museums, parks, restaurants, shops, and tourist information centres.
Sozopol is one of the oldest cities on the Bulgarian coast of the Black Sea and was populated as early as the Bronze Age. In the beginning, the town was established as a trade and sea centre, which is evident from its symbol – the anchor. The old icons and marvellous wood-carved iconostases are an outstanding achievement of the craftsmanship of the subsequent centuries. The architecture of the houses in the old part of the town, from the Revival Period, makes it a unique place to visit. Nowadays Sozopol is one of the most significant sea resorts in the country, also known for its art and film Festival of Arts Apollonia.
Sozopol Foundation has considerable experience in projects that provide people with disabilities with access to the cultural heritage and natural landmarks through the use of funding by the European Union and its own funds. Since 2003, the Foundation has realized several projects for accessibility, including the restoration of fragments of the fortress wall and of towers, as well as the construction of an associated accessible complex, which includes a museum collection, a tourist centre, a panoramic passage, and a quay. Today the total length of the accessible itinerary is 1553 m.
The Foundation is currently working on new projects connected with the provision of access to people with disabilities, in particular the installation of tactile marking and ramps, as well as the preparation of Braille guide for the major sites in the Ancient Town of Apollonia Archaeological Reserve.