For the first time Sofia took part in the only exhibition in the world dedicated to the promotion of sustainable tourism in favor of cities, places and sites included in the UNESCO World Heritage List On the initiative of Sofia Municipality Bulgaria was presented for the first time at the International exhibition World Tourism UNESCO. It took place in Siena, Italy from September 22 to September 24, 2017 in Santa Maria della Scala. The aim of the forum was the popularization of sites under the protection of UNESCO and to direct the public attention to cultural tourism and sustainable urban development.
Sofia Municipality called for a joint presentation of all UNESCO sites on the territory of Bulgaria. Mr. Ivo Marinov, director of Sofia Tourism Administration, said that “Bulgaria, and Sofia in particular, has unique artifacts which fit perfectly into new tourist routes. This fact, as well as the great interest in the destination, motivates us to take up this initiative”.
The participation took place under the slogan BULGARIA – SO MUCH TO SHARE. The program included a press conference in which the Bulgarian ambassador in Italy - His Excellency Ambassador Raikov, took part. Sofia Municipality had prepared a short film presenting the 17 Bulgarian sites, as well as a catalog with photos and information about them.
In Siena Sofia presented the Boyana Church and the Bistritsa Babi (the Bistritsa Grannies). The participants and guests of the exhibition were the first to see the presentation of a virtual reality 3D model of the Boyana Church - one of the cultural symbols of Bulgaria. The interactive platform gave them the unique opportunity to see the temple, take a virtual walk in it and examine the murals from 1259 while listening to the gripping story against the background of music written specifically for the occasion. Sofia had prepared special gifts that allowed visitors to visualize the 3D model of the Boyana Church anywhere and at any time.