Europe’s cultural heritage was honoured in Brussels last week with the announcement of this year’s winners of the European prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Award. The 29 recipients from 18 countries were recognised for achievements in conservation, research, dedicated service, and education, training and awareness-raising. The winners, who were chosen out of more than 200 applications submitted by organisations and individuals from 39 countries, will receive their €10,000 prize at a ceremony to be held in the historic city of Turku in Finland on May 15. The winner of the public choice award, who will be voted for by an online poll, will also be announced at the ceremony.
Among the winning applicants was a project undertaken by the Greek Ministry of Culture to conserve and partially restore the ruins of the ancient city of Karthaia on the island of Kea off the coast of Greece. An interpretive centre located at the site was praised by the jury for the quality of the visitor experience it provides. “The extensive research carried out at the site has enriched our understanding of the civilization which was settled there and has made accessible what was, before the intervention, largely remote,” the jury said.
Another award in the conservation category went to the restoration of the White Pyramid in Rome, the last remaining example Egyptian-inspired architecture from the 1st century B.C in Rome. The project required the development of innovative techniques to restore the marble-coated structure after two millennia of physical, chemical and biological decay. “This careful restoration is of the highest quality and has revitalised this important monument in the centre of Rome. The investigative intervention used detailed research, innovative materials, and techniques to successfully achieve their aims”, stated the jury.
Other winners included projects as diverse as the Norwegian Lighthouse Society for its dedication to preserving Norway’s maritime history, to a Jewish cultural heritage educational programme in Warsaw. Congratulating the winners, opera singer and President of Europa Nostra. Placido Domingo, said “All our winners demonstrate that heritage is a key tool for sustainable economic development, social cohesion and a more inclusive Europe. EU leaders should seize the historic opportunity of the European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018 to recognise the multiple benefits of heritage and its fundamental value in bringing countries, communities and cultures together in Europe and beyond.”