(Institut für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung, Vienna, Austria)

Outline: Exploring the possibilities and challenges to establish a new cultural route along the Danube in 8 countries.

The Roman Empire used the river Danube as a frontier line and later on as a main line of communication and transport. Due to the Roman presence a dense network of military installations, roads, infrastructure and civil settlements were built up along the Danube; quite a lot of those structures have survived into modern days from Eining in Bavaria to the Danube delta. The last decades have seen a virtual explosion of interest in the dynamics of tourism along the Danube. Part of the multinational World Heritage project “Frontiers of the Roman Empire, Danube Limes” is the intention to raise greater public awareness with the possibility of creating a cultural route along the frontiers of the Roman Empire. This project might also contribute to the development of cultural soft tourism, which encourages the use of environment friendly transportation (bicycles, boats, walking), and is considered to be the best, and most authentic way to rediscover historical culture, and to arouse public interest in the cultural and natural environment of the various regions. This too needs critical and constructive frameworks for investigating the touristic potential and contributions how the past is best represented. Interpretations of the past now have the daunting potential to rapidly impact not only discussions internal to nation states but international politics and global markets.

Keywords: Roman Limes – World Heritage – Danube Countries