Two years after the Covid pandemic in Europe began here, Bergamo looks fully recovered, full of young people and active life, preparing for the Italian Capital of Culture in 2023 (together with Brescia, the other worst-hit Italian city). It was Bergamo and the beautiful valley of Astino that were chosen as the winners of the Council of Europe's Landscape Awards (2020-2021) and the host of the award ceremony for all the awarded projects.
The only other particularly excellent project was "The SALT OF LIFE" of the BULGARIAN BIODIVERSITY FOUNDATION, which was highly assessed by the organizers and hosts, as well as by the other 10 participants in the ceremony. The colorful and picturesque Atanasovsko Lake attracted everyone's attention, and the activities of the "Salt of Life" project were highly appreciated.
The event was hosted by the Fondazione della Misericordia Maggiore of Bergamo (MIA), founded in 1265, whose team made sure that all participants enjoyed the Italian hospitality. The event was in the Monastery of Astino, founded in 1107, which was restored by the Foundation and enjoys many visitors who come to visit the church of the monastery, but also the restaurants and cafes that open in summer. The Astino Valley is part of the Bergamo Hills Regional Park. Delicious dishes, guided walks, Italian coffee and wines accompanied the two-day program, and the presentations of the participants were under the recently restored "Last Supper", which added to the magic of the event. Guests were the mayor of Bergamo, representatives of the Ministry of Culture, the rector of the University of Bergamo and others.
The Forum of National Selections of the 7th Session of the Landscape Award of the Council of Europe was held on 28 and 29 April 2022. The Landscape Convention was established in 1949, is headquartered in Strasbourg and currently includes 46 member states, including Bulgaria. The Salt of Life project of the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation was nominated by the Ministry of Environment and Water, selected among several other nominations at the national level. For comparison only, Italy has 127 nominations, among which the Ministry of Culture chooses Bergamo and the Valley of Astino.
A team from the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation and a representative of the Ministry of Environment and Water participated in the forum. We take this opportunity to thank Mrs. Veradina Nacheva, who was the Bulgarian responsible for the Landscape Convention at the MoEW, whose active position motivates us to prepare a nomination and present it to the MoEW.
The Landscape Award aims to raise civil society awareness of the value of landscapes, their role and changes in them. Its aim is to recognize practical initiatives in line with the implementation of the Landscape Convention. The prize is awarded every two years at a meeting of the Deputy Ministers of the Environment of each State Party.
The Salt of Life project was implemented in the Natura 2000 area of Atanasovsko Lake, which is one of the key hotspots of biodiversity in the Black Sea biogeographical region. Atanasovsko Lake is largely the result of the symbiosis between man and nature - significantly modified for the purposes of malting, which has made the place so rich and significant for European nature. Nowadays, when the coast is heavily affected by urbanization, the lagoon is of strategic importance for the conservation of biodiversity along the Black Sea coast.
For everything achieved within the "Salt of Life" see http://saltoflife.biodiversity.bg/ and for all the news about Atanasovsko Lake follow our Facebook Lagoon of Life or the website https://lagoon.biodiversity.bg/