EGU General Assembly 2020
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the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

COST Action Underground4value: Living Labs for the Underground Built Heritage valorisation

Giuseppe Pace
Giuseppe Pace
  • National Research Council of Italy, Institute of Studies on the Mediterranean, Italy (

Underground4value (COST Action CA18110) is a four years’ project (2019-2023) establishing an expert network from twenty-nine countries, with the objective of promoting balanced and sustainable approaches for the conservation and promotion of underground built heritage (UBH). Every year, four underground sites and their local communities become places for experimenting studies, new policies, and participatory approaches. During the first year (April 2019 - March 2020), the sites of Naples (Italy), La Union (Murcia, Spain), Postojna (Slovenia) and Göreme (Cappadocia, Turkey) have been selected. The originality of the approach is that it is geared towards assisting local communities’ decision-making with cultural, scientific and technical knowledge of the underground built heritage, from many different perspectives: archaeology, geo-technics, history, urban planning, cultural anthropology, economics, architecture, cultural tourism, ecology.

The Living Lab approach is used to organise fieldwork, spending time on each site with a mix of participants (international scientists and local practitioners). The idea is to identify and explore social innovations models for empowering local communities and making them part of the UBH promotion process. Collected information is then the basis for developing new research and training, which remain open and accessible. Knowledge transfer is secured by several dedicated tasks, including a Training School, held in last February in Naples, where the trainees have morning learning sessions and afternoon research activities on specific topics occurred in the living labs’ activities.

How to cite: Pace, G.: COST Action Underground4value: Living Labs for the Underground Built Heritage valorisation , EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-10408,, 2020

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  • CC1: religious places, Maria Bostenaru Dan, 02 May 2020

    Very interesting presentation and above all COST action. A pity it is already full (I am sure Romania is in).

    It reminds me of the stone church in Budapest, and years ago I've seen at the EGU presentations on how carst hazards in Budapest are addressed.

    • AC1: Reply to CC1, Giuseppe Pace, 06 May 2020

      Dear Maria, our network is open, our working groups are very proactive and we select four case-studies every year. Romania is already in, but at the moment they never presented a case-study. it would be great to have one. Giuseppe 

      • CC2: underground churches in Romania, Maria Bostenaru Dan, 06 May 2020

        Dear Giuseppe,

        thank you for your answer.

        Yes, of course, there are stone churches also in Romania. Unfortunately I haven't visited any of them so far (I did so for the stone church in Helsinki, the one in Budapest in the Gellért mountain as wrote, and I also saw one in Bulgaria, which was also in our Danurb project about hidden gems at the Danube). But I know of one such church in Romania which has been recently restored close to the place my father comes from. If there weren't the pandemics, I could have went there to document. But I have colleagues living there close, and it has been also discussed in the ICOMOS committee (the mural restoration I mean). I am member in the ICOMOS committee. It is the Corbii de Piatra church. Looking now for it, I found out that there is a page on wikipedia on a number of such churches in Romania

        including also at the wine site Murfatlar, this would be also interesting to see, or the church of Saint Andrei, who christianised Romania. Both these are located in Dobrudja and I have a colleague who had a project investigating the heritage of Dobrudja so I can ask.

        What shall we do?

        thank you very much


        • AC2: Reply to CC2, Giuseppe Pace, 06 May 2020

          Dear Maria,

          Thanks for the message! All these sites are interesting and unique. Our goal is engaging local communities to maintain their undreground heritage and supporting them with expertise in developing plans and activities related to the site valorisation. If you're interested, please check the website: I'm open to any collaboration and partnership. 


        • CC3: Reply to CC2, Maria Bostenaru Dan, 06 May 2020

          Dear Giuseppe,

          I have just checked, and in the archive I worked with after being employed, there are some archive images of some of these churches, for example here

          Also, few years ago at my university there was a landscape seminar on the landscape convention approaching the Corbii de Piatra monastery.

          I fact, in the county of my father there are 4 such monasteries.

          I hope this helps.

  • CC4: mining, Maria Bostenaru Dan, 07 May 2020

    Another great site in Romania are the gold mines at Rosia Montana. I think they are unique. And they were also discussed in the Romanian ICOMOS committee. I see that they can be visited in the mineralogy museum.

    But a Romanian underground site which I really visited is the Turda salt mine. It has been transformed to be really a tourist hostspot, it looks like an OZN. For that I already have photos and can easily write something.

    It is a pity I did not remember mining yesterday, especially since I attended the geoheritage session and talked there about mining with somebody. I also visited the mineralogy museum in Baia Mare.

    • AC3: Reply to CC4, Giuseppe Pace, 07 May 2020

      Maria, we can check together, because before starting any case study, it is primary to find a local community which could be empowered for the site valorisation.

      • CC6: Reply to AC3, Maria Bostenaru Dan, 07 May 2020

        Thank you, Giuseppe!

        Of course, these are all success stories, this is why I've heard of them. The are restored, there are groups caring of them. A quick google search gave that Turda salt mine & local community received a prize for their successful approach in South Korea.

        I would like to draw you attention to an approach rather struggling for European funding (HURO in this case)

        These are the wine cellars in a village on Valea Ierului. Valea Ierului (Ier valley) is the one I am talking about at my own presentation about the Érmellék earthquake (Ér is Ier, just in Hungarian) tomorrow at 16:15 at NH9.4 at the EGU. They are partially above ground, though. It is a terraced landscape. I've applied for funding to continue my project (not the one in this publication) - a small funding of half an year which can cover for example travel costs - and expect the answer in the second half of this week (i.e. soon).

  • CC5: water works, Maria Bostenaru Dan, 07 May 2020

    Also a nice Romanian case study are water works: 2012 (when I also visited the Turda salt mine) I was invited in Suceava for the launch of a cultural centre in the former Austro-Hungarian water works, which are underground. I know hence the people who run the centre, and of course have photos. The project enjoys support from the Architect's chamber.

    All these are mostly positive examples.

    Romania has I am reading 12000 carst areas.