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The Iron Age Danube Route addresses one of the most fragile, though imposing and attractive prehistoric archaeological phenomenon, the Iron Age landscapes. Characterized by monumental structures, such as burial mound cemeteries, flat cemeteries, fortified hilltop settlements and oppida, as well as elements indicating the complex organization of space, Iron Age landscapes belong to the period between the 9th and the end of the 1st century BC.
In addition, the Iron Age is a period marked by an extraordinary corpus of movable, as well as intangible heritage, which is kept in numerous museums of the Danube region, including the most important regional and national institutions.

The first concept for the Iron Age Danube Route stemmed from the Danube Transnational Programme “Monumentalized Early Iron Age Landscapes in the Danube River Basin” INTERREG project, a RegioStars finalist for 2018. Twenty partner institution from Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia that collaborated on the project put forward the idea of joint approach to researching, managing and protecting complex prehistoric landscapes. After the Iron-Age-Danube project ended, the partnership continued with the support of the Routes4U project of the Council of Europe.

Compiling existing sources of knowledge and creating a strong interdisciplinary and international network of expert institutions from Austria, Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia in the fields of archaeology, cultural heritage protection, tourism, as well as local stakeholders, the Iron Age Danube Route Association was founded  in July 2020 with the aim of further development and management of the IADR.

Along with the efforts of the Iron Age Danube Route Association, the Iron Age Danube Route is going to be advanced through the Interreg Danube Transnational project “Virtual archaeological landscapes of the Danube region” (July 2020 - December 2022). This project centers around making archaeological landscapes of the Danube region more visible and attractive for their successful integration into sustainable cultural tourism on regional, national and international levels.  

In May 2021 the Iron Age Danube Route became certified Cultural Route of the Council of Europe, which opens many new and exciting opportunities for the Route, its members and partners, as well as a responsibility to further develop our network in order to better promote, protect and research our common Iron Age heritage.



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