Historic Echo of The Past in Modern Audio Tours of Eastern European Cities

The Tourist Association of Ivano-Frankivsk Region completed a project on the development of 13 unique self-guided audio city tours of cultural destinations in Western Ukraine and Eastern Poland.

The need of enhancing the development of tourism in our native Ivano-Frankivsk impelled the Tourist Association to start creating new tourism products – self-guided audio walking tours for individual tourists. Such tours would help visitors to get to know the historic parts of cities and help the cities to detain visitors in their most interesting places, to invite them to cafes, restaurants, shops, thus encouraging them to spend more but at the same time to get the most positive impressions and memories. This idea interested other cities in Western Ukraine (Lviv and Kolomyia) and Eastern Poland (Lublin, Zamość, Przeworsk).

The most interesting part was to follow. In every city they started research, including the choice of the most favourable concept of every tour for the communities, the development of the itinerary, the study and verification of information about every sight and, finally, professional development of the tour texts. In every city, the so called work groups were organized, involving the representatives of tourism business, public leaders, historians and experts in country studies. On the whole, there were 6 such meetings in every city participating in the project, with active discussions on every product created within the project framework.

Every tour was assisted by a system of visual information and specially developed maps, so it was important to promptly determine the itineraries and describe the sights encountered on the way. Interestingly, the style of signs and information plates developed for the audio tours in Ivano-Frankivsk and Kolomyia determined the style of all subsequent visualization elements set up in the city: public transport information, signs or pointers for new tourist attractions, etc.

In every city, audio tours are original and interesting tourism products for thousands of tourists from various countries. In Kolomyia, Zamość and Przeworsk they created general get-to-know tours lasting for no more than two hours and familiarizing tourists with the history of old streets and the local cultural heritage. The audio tour of Lviv – “Lviv – a City of Mysteries and Secrets” – guides tourists along 16 streets. The second tour – “A Few Steps in the Austrian Lviv” – shows the streets from the Austro-Hungarian era, with about 100 sights. The project team decided to take the third tour beyond the main tourist itineraries of Lviv and named it “Around the High Castle or a Walk in Comfortable Shoes”. It starts in Pidzamche and goes all the way up to the High Castle.

5 audio tours of Lublin are 5 different itineraries in the Old City. Every tour has its own historic aspect, for example, the anarchist, Jewish, typographic, criminal Lublin or “Lublin for Beginners”.

We take particular pride in the audio tours of Ivano-Frankivsk. These are two comprehensive excursions with a total duration of over 4 hours. The first tour – “Mysterious Ivano-Frankivsk” – presents each sight on the way as a riddle that a visitor has to guess. The other one – “Ivano-Frankivsk for Lovers” – is a bouquet of romantic semilegendary stories that show a guest around the most attractive places in the city, including exquisite restaurants, cafes, cinemas, parks and nice alleys. All the hospitality places and shops included in the tour are socially responsible companies that make their contribution to their native city’s development.

“We dreamt of it and we’ve made self-guided audio tours of six magnificent cities in Eastern Europe. We wanted them to have reminiscences of epochs, we wanted the stories to be filled with sounds: of street music, of market squares, with historic echoes. Now we’ve made it. Our tours are available as mobile apps, they can be downloaded from global Web portals for travellers, which means that they can be used by thousands of visitors to our cities, who will come here, having been already intrigued. It’s more than we expected”, – Oksana Fedorovych, Head of the Tourist Association of Ivano-Frankivsk Region.

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