Greece is one of the 28 award winners of the 2016 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards. The country scored two awards in the category of “Conservation” for the Byzantine Church of St. Peter in Kastania, Mani, and the Traditional Watermill in Agios Germanos, Prespes.
The winners of the award, considered Europe’s highest honour in the heritage field, were revealed on Thursday by the European Commission and Europa Nostra.
The 28 laureates from 16 countries have been recognised for their exemplary achievements in conservation, research, dedicated service, and education, training and awareness-raising. Independent expert juries assessed a total of 187 applications, submitted by organisations and individuals from 36 countries across Europe, and selected the winners.
With its two wins, Greece automatically has two entries in the Europa Nostra’s Public Choice vote for the 28 winners.
Citizens from around the world can now vote online for the Public Choice Award and mobilise support for the award-winning project(s) from their own or another European country.
2016 EU Prizes for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards for Greece
Award for Conservation
Byzantine Church of St. Peter in Kastania, Mani
The church of St. Peter is the oldest of the ten Byzantine monuments in the village of Kastania. The high quality restoration of the church included the securing of the building’s structural issues and the conservation of the interior decoration. “The high-quality of the work both inside and outside is commendable and highlights many important aspects of Byzantine art and architecture in this period, particularly notable is the cloisonné masonry technique which the team has beautifully preserved… The collaboration of private and public bodies to make the renovation possible and the commitment to complete the work to the best possible standard is a wonderful example of what can be achieved in the many similar churches throughout the region… It is a model for the preservation of cultural heritage on a broader basis in Europe”, the jury said.
Award for Conservation
Traditional Watermill in Agios Germanos, Prespes
Of the 20 watermills in Prespes’ region, the watermill in the village of Agios Germanos is the only one which has been fully restored. The mill, located in the mountainous region of the National Park of Prespa, was originally constructed in 1930. The mill is in full working order and has three different mechanisms: one which grinds flour, another for cleaning fabrics and the third for textile finishing. “With this Award, we commend the recovery of this early industrial mill which is highly characteristic of industrialisation in Europe. The complexity of the mill and the water supply system is beautiful and has been restored with a high level of expertise… This project sets a wonderful example for other similar sites in this beautiful region. Its social impact as well as the preservation of this fine example of industrial heritage is worthy of the highest merit”, the jury noted.
According to Europa Nostra, the projects chosen by the juries are excellent examples of creativity, innovation, sustainable development and social participation in the heritage field throughout Europe.
“All these award-winning achievements prove that heritage matters to Europe and its citizens”, said Plácido Domingo, the renowned opera singer and President of Europa Nostra. “Cultural heritage is a driver for sustainable economic development and a cohesive force for our multicultural societies, as has been widely acknowledged by EU Institutions”, he added.
European Heritage Awards Ceremony
The winners of the European Heritage Awards 2016 will be celebrated during a high-profile event co-hosted by EU Commissioner Navracsics and Maestro Plácido Domingo on the evening of May 24 at the historic Zarzuela Theatre in Madrid.
The European Heritage Awards Ceremony will assemble up to 1,000 people, including heritage professionals, volunteers and supporters from all over Europe as well as top-level representatives from EU institutions, the host country and other Member States.
During the ceremony, the seven Grand Prix laureates, each of whom will receive 10,000 euros, and the Public Choice Award winner, chosen from among this year’s winning projects, will be announced.
The winners will also present their remarkable heritage accomplishments during the Excellence Fair on the morning of May 24 at the headquarters of the College of Architects of Madrid and participate in various networking events to be held during the European Heritage Congress in Madrid (May 22-27) organised by Europa Nostra in the framework of its network project ‘Mainstreaming Heritage’, which has the support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.