Conference Announcement

Kaštelir: Prehistoric Hill Forts and Ethnobotany for Sustainable Tourism

 10–12 September 2020, Izola and Štanjel, Slovenia

The conference is part of the Interreg Slovenia-Croatia project KAŠTELIR: Prehistoric Hill Forts and Ethnobotany for Sustainable Tourism and the Development of the Countryside – from the Karst (over Brkini, Čičarija and Istria) to Kvarner.

Istria, the Karst, Čičarija or Ćićarija, Brkini and parts of the Kvarner Gulf share both natural features and history. Already since prehistoric times, all five regions constitute a densely inhabited territory as is attested by the surprising concentration of a few hundred Bronze and Iron Age hill forts in the area, also known as kaštelirji, kasteljeri, castellieri or zidine. Today, the hill forts are a neigh forgotten cultural heritage of a territory, which was united in prehistory, and therefore cannot be preserved and revived without cross-border cooperation.

The project aims to restore the ancient connection of people to plants and introduce this connection to modern times in a way, which will be useful to sustainable cross-border tourism, the development of the countryside and a natural treatment of the environment. At the juncture of these endeavours are the remnants of hill forts or kaštelirji, which had developed in the area in the Bronze Age and had their heyday in the Iron Age. Today, they are overgrown by shrubbery and forest. Along with the overgrowing, emigration, loss of tradition and links to the past, the knowledge of the plants and their use in the region is being lost as well. Therefore, we wish to revive this knowledge, introduce it to the broader public and arouse interest in it in both tourists and local inhabitants. Local inhabitants could then use new tourist products to create traditional products, made by ancient and natural methods and recipes. Furthermore, the tourists and locals will be brought closer to the kaštelirji with stories, music and the re-enactment of life in hill forts.

The main objective of the project is the active conservation of the hill forts between the Karst and the Kvarner Gulf by developing an innovative and sustainable cross-border tourist destination: The Land of Hill Forts. By reviving four selected hill forts (Štanjel and Korte in Slovenia and Rašpor and Ozida in Croatia), the destination will be centred on three new cross-border sustainable tourist products: an archaeological, a botanical and a festival itinerary.

The conference panels will be predicated on the itineraries of The Land of Hill Forts:

Stories from the land of hill forts: contributions from the fields of archaeology, history and anthropology.

Plants of the land of hill forts: contributions from the fields of ethnobotany and archaeobotany.

Sustainable tourism in the land of hill forts: contributions from the fields of tourism and the development of the countryside.




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