The Balkan Rendezvous will take place in one of the most geographically, culturally and ethnically diverse regions of the world.
It was around 600 AD/CE when the entire region was last united in political and diplomatic cooperation under the Byzantine Empire.
President Josip Broz Tito is generally respected for having unified a large part of the peninsula into what was known as Yugoslavia before the entire region disintegrated into wars and 7 independent nations resulted.
Then, from around 1989 to mid 1992, factional wars broke out in the region, the aftermath of which remain painfully evident today.
Here endeth the lesson.
But that brief history explains why our event is designed to include all the countries in what is historically referred to as The Balkans.
Clearly, if the Balkan Rendezvous can contribute in a small way to uniting the political processes in cooperation, the people will be the major beneficiaries.
With a total population in the region of about 48 million people, our task is monumental and even if only achieve 50% of what we intend to do, its long term benefits will be felt by the entire region and particularly, by the huge proportion of displaced and otherwise disadvantaged people spread throughout all 11 countries.
The Balkan Rendezvous begins in Trieste Italy, the most western region of of the Balkans, then incorporates all of Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia (sometimes referred to as “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)”, Kosovo, Bulgaria and finishes 30 days later in Athens Greece.
Historians and geographers could disagree with our definition of “the Balkans” but that’s ours and we’re sticking to our own interpretation, backed considerably by Wikipedia.
The Balkan Rendezvous Cycling event follows a pre-defined route entering and exiting those countries mentioned and in that order.
Similarly, the Balkan Burning road skating event takes place in each capital city; the Balkan Sale lasts for the entire 30 days; concerts and carnivals are held in selected capital cities, and other activities take place all over the region.
So whatever is your interest, we have something for you. The tourism industries of most of the countries are undeveloped and for those visiting for the first time, fascination awaits around every corner.
The countries abound with ethnic diversity and history and even the geography and scenery for such a relatively small area, is more diverse than most larger regions.
Arts and crafts, music and dance, costumes, culture and tradition, devotion, history and landscapes offer quite probably, the greatest diversity in Europe.
The individual countries are not so influenced by conventional modern western culture which is the perfect scenario for our aggressive attempts to encourage the rejuvenation of cultural traditions.
As an Australian, I have to say that my many travels through the region remain vivid in my memory and I can’t wait for the time when I move there permanently to supervise the entire event.
Next step – begin planning your 2014 holidays around the Month of August and come visit us.
See you there