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“Avenues of Nature and Culture” Programme Included in the Recovery Fund

The “Avenues of Nature and Culture” Programme has been included in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan’s eligible cultural development projects presented by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on 31 March 2021. The Programme dossier was compiled and submitted last March by the Ministry of Culture, with the DIAZOMA Association’s contribution.

More specifically, the “Avenues of Nature and Culture” programme is referenced as “CULTURAL & ENVIRONMENTAL ROUTES” in “Component 4.6: Modernization and improvement of the resilience of the country’s key economic sectors (6/10)” and has a budget of 30 million euros.

The “Avenues of Nature and Culture” Programme is an initiative of the DIAZOMA Association launched in 2018. The programme aims to upgrade the role of motorways so that in addition to their basic mission (the transport of people and goods), they become catalysts for the accessibility, promotion, and continuous care of the monuments or nature and culture surrounding them. This enhances the role of motorways so that they become avenues of culture and ideas.

Specifically, the programme is about upgrading the uniform directional signage and access to the monuments of nature and culture located along the country’s major motorways, which operate under a concession regime. Let us imagine a more comprehensive motorway concession agreement, in other words, one that includes the provision of accessibility, both tangible and intangible, to cultural and natural monuments within a reasonable distance— for example, a 30 km or thirty-minute radius around the motorways. In this manner, the motorways contribute to state institutions’ work to promote monuments of nature and culture. The motorways will contribute to the promotion of the environmental and cultural reserve of the areas they cross through the “adoption” and care of monuments and actions to link the monuments with Greece’s agri-food sector and the tourism product.

The programme’s pilot phase includes three motorways: Olympia Odos, Ionia Odos, and the Moreas Motorway. The programme will focus on access to thirty (30) monuments of nature and culture situated along these three motorways. The first year will also see the creation of a digital map of the monuments and select actions to improve monument accessibility. The programme will be combined with the design of the Ministry of Digital Governance’s “5G Corridors” programme, which concerns installing 5G mobile network infrastructure along the Greek motorways.

Finally, for the proper preparation of the project, DIAZOMA has commissioned the noted transportation expert Konstantinos Zekkos to prepare the programme development strategic planning study Master Plan, which will be sponsored by Nea Odos S.A., a Corporate Member of the DIAZOMA Association.

DIAZOMA welcomes the inclusion of the “Avenues of Nature and Culture Programme” in the Recovery Fund. It passionately believes that the programme will dynamically shape a new set of values in Greece that will place monuments at the center of everyday life and sustainable development.

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