Religious buildings are a very specific kind of architecture. They play a prestigious role in the overall development of settlements in Europe. They also played (in the past) significant role in cultural life and are very important in case of tangible and also of intangible heritage. Their use varied during history. They were, until relatively recently, multifunctional structures in the sense of religious and community life of the parish community. Whilst the whole community was religious and the only religion was Christianity, this meant that many activities took place in churches and chapels. They were the „living structures“ with almost permanent use. Situation in the not so far past has changed to a more monofunctional way of use of these buildings, hence many redundant church buildings are left without much use or end up being left decaying. Appropriate broadening of use of these structures in order to ensure their preservation for the upcoming generations is of uttermost importance.
The HUSKROUA/1101/056 development project titled “Three in Unity – a project of maintaining ecclesiastic cultural heritage for joint cultural and touristic development” is a project to be executed with the participation of three traditional churches of the involved project area. The Greek Catholic Apostolic Exarchate of Miskolc as a leading partner, the Transcarpathian Districtof the Reformed Church and the Roman Catholic Parish of Chlmec cooperate with the aim to create a thematic cooperation for preserving ecclesiastical common cultural and architectural heritage and to support the growth of religious and church-related cultural activities in the area. The development is implemented by ENPI contribution, the estimated project total costs are 394.034 EUR.
In general, cultural heritage conservation actions help a community not only protect economically valuable physical assets, but also preserve its practices, history, and environment, and a sense of continuity and identity. Although earlier understood only as listed monuments, registered archeological sites, and movable heritage collections, the definition of cultural heritage by today has expanded and hence includes historic urban areas, vernacular heritage, cultural landscapes and even living dimensions of heritage and all aspects of the physical and spiritual relationship between human societies and their environment. Churches, and other organizations that are guardians of cultural resources (but are not part of the state institutional systems) are more and more encouraged to seek assistance in listing and conserving heritage, if required.
The objective of the project is to bring three selected living religious buildings back to their former grace and historical condition by reconstructing those monuments, and thus by enhancing their architectural, touristic and heritage value and to assist the owners and the users of the building for establishing a wider use, with their touristic attributes enhanced. The restoration project part in Tokaj aims primarily the structural strengthening and external restoration of the sacred building of the Greek-Catholic church. As a result, the historic building becomes touristic attraction of Tokaj and worthy scene of religious life of Greek-Catholic church.Within the framework of the project take part the renovations of Mezővár Reformed church (Ukraine) and Királyhelmec Roman Catholic church (Slovakia). Project is implemented in 18 months, started January 2014 and planned end date is June 2015.
The proposed action comprises of setting up a ReligiousTourist Information Centre in Tokaj, Mezővári and Királyhelmec, which serve as regional religious touristic interactiveInformation Centre,all three of them also interconnected in nature. These centers are also aimed at serving as exhibition halls for heritage exhibitsand are planned to be venue halls for smallerreligioustourismconferences andlectures.
The main focus of the project activities are: