Launched in March 2020, “Cistercian Abbeys and Sites, Vectors of Economic, Tourist and Cultural Development”, renamed “Cistercian Territories – Sense the History today“, is a transnational cooperation project funded by the LEADER programme. It is led by the GAL Pays des 4 Bras (Wallonia), project leader, in partnership with two other European GALs: the GAL Côte-des-Bar en Champagne (France) and the GAL Leader Oeste (Portugal). The three rural territories are thus associated around their ancient abbeys: the abbeys of Villers, Clairvaux and Alcobaça respectively, with the support of the European Charter of Cistercian Abbeys and Sites. This international association brings together 180 former Cistercian abbeys in eleven European countries.
Cistercian Territories aims to promote the role played by Cistercian abbeys and sites as historical drivers of local development. The partners wish to lay the foundations for an application for the recognition of Cistercian landscapes as UNESCO World Heritage.