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    Bella Dvina/ Bella Dvina 2

    July 2008 – July 2010; January 2012 – May 2014

    Interakcia Foundation coordinated the projects in Belarus.

    Project budgets:

    Bella Dvina 2 – € 1 789 387, EU’s contribution  € 1 610 448 (90%);

    Bella Dvina – € 562 372, EU’s contribution – € 486 892 (90%).

    The projects were funded by the European Union under the Latvia-Lithuania-Belarus Cross-Border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013 (Bella Dvina 2) and Baltic Sea Region INTERREG IIIB – Neighbourhood Programme INTERREG IIIA – Priority South (Bella Dvina).

    Location: Vitebsk region (northern Belarus), Latgale (Latvia), and Aukštaitija (Lithuania).


    A land with a poetic name Bella Dvina is where the marvellous Dvina–Daugava river flows. This river has been known since ancient times owing to the legendary trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks. It begins in Russia, flows through the Vitebsk region in Belarus, and, changing its address and name in Latvia, runs through the Latgale region into the Baltic Sea.

    During the Bella Dvina project we, together our Belarusian and Latvian partners, offered tourists a chance to explore new routes around the amazing natural, historical and architectural sites of this area.

    And two years later, during the Bella Dvina 2 project, we were joined by our colleagues from Lithuania to continue improving tourist infrastructure and promoting tourist services not only of the Bella Dvina region, but also of the adjoining Country of Lakes. This tourist destination is located on the territory of the Latgale region in Latvia and Aukštaitija region in Lithuania.

    Projects under the common brand ‘Bella’ are still being implemented in the border regions of Belarus and Latvia.

    Partners from three countries joined forces for the Bella Dvina projects:
    In Belarus: local authorities of the Braslav, Beshenkovichi, Vitebsk, Miory, Verkhnedvinsk, Rossony, Gorodok, Sharkovschina districts in the Vitebsk region; Vitebsk Centre for Regional Research and Development.
    In Latvia: Latgale Region Development Agency.
    In Lithuania: municipality administration and tourism information centres of the Anyksciai, Utena and Zarasai districts.

    What is the Bella Dvina region interesting for?


    Major cities in the region – Vitebsk, Polotsk, Daugavpils – host places of historical and architectural significance, coming from the early times; museums carefully preserve material evidences of the foregone centuries. Festival goers can meet celebrities and get autographs at the international festival “Slavic Bazaar” or get back to basics on the festival of rural tourism “Zaborsky Fest.” Traditional crafts enthusiasts will get occupied by the world famous Latgale ceramics, and those on pilgrimage mission can cast care aside while visiting holy places, of which there are many in the region.


    When cities pass by, deep forests and clear lakes are ready to embrace a traveller. Bicycle riders choose their own pace here, on the roads that have nothing to do with cars. Kayakers wander around the labyrinths of picturesque lakes, go down the stream on kayaks, catamarans and rafts and stop at islands, where ancient castle ruins dream their eerie dreams.


    Would you like to know more about the Bella Dvina region? Go to belladvina.com!

    How did Bella Dvina and Bella Dvina 2 projects help to develop tourism in the border regions of Belarus, Latvia and Lithuania?
    Project experts created 17 cross-border tourist routes around Belarus, Latvia and Lithuania, website belladvina.com and a whole series of marketing materials to promote the Bella Dvina region and Baltic Country of Lakes at international tourist exhibitions.
    Bella Dvina region as a common tourist brand was presented at 10 international exhibitions in Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, and Germany.
    Marketing campaign was supported by advertisements on local and national TV and radio channels, as well as promo tours for tourist operators and mass media – first of all, from Russia.
    The city of Polotsk now has its very own Tourist Information Center, and districts of the Vitebsk region opened tourist information points. Staff of the tourism information centers will tell you everything about things to do in the Bella Dvina region. They will help you to plan your trip, book a hotel and tourist equipment, and will offer you a selection of tourist information materials.
    One of the cross-border routes, a six-day kayak trip along the Western Dvina/Daugava from Polotsk in Belarus to Daugavpils in Latvia, was tested by a group of Belarusian and Latvian project partners in 2010. Local kayak enthusiasts enjoyed the experience so much that they founded a local tourism club “Polotsk Kayakers”. Every summer (and sometimes in other seasons as well) the club helps groups of tourists to organize kayak trips around the Bella Dvina region.
    A series of festivals were organized in different locations to promote the Bella Dvina region for tourists. The list of events included the Festival of Active Tourism in Livani (Latvia), Daugava Festival in Kraslava (Latvia), the Festival of Medieval Culture ‘Rubon’ in Polotsk (Belarus), Festival of Cultural Tourism in Anyksciai and Festival of Lakes in Zarasai (Lithuania). One of the festivals, VIVA BRASLAV, which took place for the first time as part of the Bella Dvina 2 project, later became an annual event and one of the largest and most popular music festivals in Belarus!
    To improve tourist infrastructure, 14 public recreation areas in three countries were renovated, including several lake and river beaches in the Vitebsk region. Also, several hundreds of information signs were installed in the Latgale and Vitebsk region to help tourists find the most interesting sites of the area.
    Thanks to the projects, several dozens of local tourist service providers underwent training in e-commerce, communication ethics, tourism planning and management. The projects also helped to develop tourism development strategies and concepts for the whole region and for individual tourist objects of the partner areas.