Via Hanseatica is a tourist route between the Riga, Tartu and St. Petersburg. It is inspired by the hostorical trade route what belongs into the Pan-European transport network and is referred to as the transport corridor 1A. The entire transport corridor route is: Lübeck–Gdańsk–Kaliningrad–Šiauliai–Jelgava–Riga–Valka/Valga–Tartu–Narva–St. Petersburg.
Beginning of creating relevant tourism product
On 15 June, 2001, the county governors of Valga, Tartu, Jõgeva and Ida-Viru signed a cooperation agreement of developing Via Hanseatica. That led us to drawing up the development strategy and creating of relevant tourism product of Via Hanseatica. It also gave us kick-start to start the international cooperation.
From 2004 until 2007, Via Hansetica was developed as part of the Interreg VHB Zone international project “Development of Baltic Tourist Network in Via Hanseatica Development Zone”. From 2009 until 2011 we implemented various activities via the Interreg IVB Via Hanseatica follow-up project. The lead partner of the projects was the Foundation South-Estonian Tourism. Numerous development organisations and entrepreneurs also participated as partners.
Official tourism route was created
In 2012, Russian partners joined. From 2012 until 2014 we carried out activities together via the Estonia-Latvia-Russia cross-border cooperation programme. Via Hanseatica officially became the tourism network that connects us: Estonians, Latvians and Russians. We created Via Hanseatica website and a travel planner as well as a book called “Unforgettable Adventures on the Via Hanseatica”. Book is available for free download as an e-book to this day! After that, several cooperation projects and activities had led to the development of a route.
Further development of the route
May 2017 until April 2020, activities that concentrate on food heritage and culture was carried out by Estonian and Latvian partners through the Estonaian-Latvian cross-border cooperation programme Interreg. We created the food route Taste Hanseatica and connected altogether 80 local heritage food producers and providers. In addition our businesses of the route overlap some part with the ones on the culinary route “Flavours of Livonia“.
After that we started a two-year-long project Via Hanseatica Plus in April 2019 what was financed by the Estonia-Russia programme. In addition of developing the current route, we concentrate on expanding the route towards Rakvere and Viljandi in Estonia as well as towards Vyborg and Pskov in Russia. Above all we will strengthen cooperation with businesses at local as well as international level.
After Russia attacked Ukraine in 2022 the cooperation with Russian partners has been suspended. Latvian and Estonian partners will continue the cooperation.