Velehrad - Thessaloniki, Routes of Exproration and Learning

Characteristics - Spinal Trail C:

  • route as an Instrument to cennect the nations of Central and Eastern Europe
  • pilgrim destination: Velehrad (Czech Republic) - Thessaloniki (Greece)
  • scope of Stage I: Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia - FYROM, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary
  • key pilgrimage route in the north - south - east connection in the direction to Greece, but in future also to Romainia and other countries
  • the route will play an important role in both the symbolism of Cyril and Methodius and as a challenge to explore and learn more about

         a) the cultures of Central Europe (fro the perspective of eastern countries)

         b) eastern countries from the perspective of other European nations

  • in total, it involves more than 3,600 kilometres of route

The route starts in Istanbul (Turkey) and follows two possible directions most likely used by the two brothers to travel to Great Moravia. The first option follows the ancient Roman road Via Egnatia from Istanbul via Thessaloniki (Greece) and then through the Candaviae mountains, and around Lake Ohrid (Macedonia – FYROM) to Durrës (modern-day Albania) on the Adriatic coast. Then by boat to Aquileia (Italy) or Venice (Italy) where the brothers probably continued their journey on the Amber Road to Moravia. The second option (inland) uses mainly the ancient Roman road Via Militaris connecting Istanbul via Sofia (Bulgaria) and Belgrade (Serbia) with the Adriatic Sea. After reaching Belgrade and Sirmium, modern-day Sremska Metrovica in Serbia (Methodius was an archbishop serving in Sirmium), there are two optional directions of the route. The first option connects Sirmium to the eastern Hungarian branch in the direction to Budapest, and the second goes towards Blatengrad (modern-day Zalavár in Hungary) where Cyril and in particular Methodius resided for some time.

Thessaloniki, the birthplace of Constantine (Cyril) and Methodius. The Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius, featuring a creative building concept, commemorates the tradition. The open book represents a symbolic gateway on the way to the church, i.e., the service of God can be entered into through the Bible – the basic concept of Cyril and Methodius.