Limestone as the common denominator of natural and cultural heritage along the karstified part of the Adriatic coast

Program: IPA ADRIATIC Cross Border Cooperation 2007-2013

Lead Beneficiary: Geološki zavod Slovenije (SLO) 

Project length: 10/2012 – 09/2015 

Project budget: € 2.162.389,89 (DUNEA budget € 136.655,42)

Project partnership:

  • DUNEA – Dubrovnik Neretva Regional Development Agency
  • University of Primorska, Science and Research Center of Koper, Institute for Mediterranean Heritage,
  • Public Agency Škocjan Caves Regional Park
  • Municipality of Dolina,
  • Department of Mathematics and Geosciences of University of Trieste
  • ZADRA - Zadar County Development Agency,
  • RERA SD for coordination and development of Split-Dalmatia County,
  • IDA– Istrian Development Agency Ltd,
  • HERAG - P.I. Development Agency of West Herzegovina County

Associate Partner:

  • Veneto Region

The “karst” people were once, unlike nowadays, in close touch with nature. Strained circumstances forced them to use practically the only free and available building material for their homes – the karst stone. This is the reason why the old karst architecture is so closely interwoven with the environment.

Platy limestone is one of the oldest building materials for the close fit of its plane slates. Thicker layers of this stone near the surface were the reason why numerous smaller excavation sites still existed in this area even in the late 1800s and mid 1900s. Thinner limestone slabs were interesting not only as roofing material but also for numerous fish and reptile fossils. Numerous foundings made the famous palaeontologist D. Gorjanović-Kramberger name these rocks “ichtyoferous (fish) shales”.

The entire Adriatic Region shares at least 200 million years of common geological history. The limestone formed on this platform was used as a primary building material throughout the whole project area and takes one of the important roles in creating common human history. The specific platy limestone as the basic construction material gives the Adriatic coastline and its hinterland the primary character. The problem of today is that stakeholders in spatial planning, urbanization and cultural and natural conservation lack firm guidelines for sustainable use of natural stone as building material, then for conservation of the stone as natural heritage and finally for conservation of sites and materials as cultural heritage.

The RoofOfRock project therefore gathered the most relevant stakeholders around one idea with the intention to establish joint platform for platy limestone sustainable use, preservation and promotion, to create the relevant guidelines and to upgrade both individual and joint capacities in preserving such common natural and cultural heritage. The overall objective of the RoofOfRock project is to demonstrate and to promote proper selection and sustainable use of building stone along the karstified part of the Adriatic coast through a joint approach and joint methodology. The project links thematically relevant organizations from Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Specific objectives of the project are:

  • To analyze the use of building stone in Adriatic karst through time and to identify examples of best and bad practice.
  • To define general natural characteristics of limestone used as building material dimension stone and to characterize precisely the natural characteristics and extent of natural appearance for the specific platy limestone.
  • To identify provenience of stone used in architecture and to analyze the spatial distribution of the specific rock types in nature.
  • To identify remaining natural resources and analyze conditions for sustainable use of this mineral commodity and to prepare grounds for common legislation in the project area.
  • To educate the stakeholders (spatial planners, conservators, and local government), craftsmen and general public in best practice use of building stone in project area and to promote the sustainable use, preservation of cultural heritage and natural heritage through the example of platy limestone.

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Through the County Development Agency over the past three and a half years a number of projects have been realized or initiated for which more than 7 million Euros have been provided by the EU

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