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Greece Wins 2021 European Heritage Award for Plaka Bridge Restoration Project

Greece has been honored at the European Heritage Awards 2021, the EU intiative for cultural heritage organized by the European Commission and Europa Nostra, for the restoration project of the landmark Plaka Bridge in Epirus.

The Plaka Bridge is a single arched stone-bridge, the largest and most impressive of its kind in Epirus. In February 2015, during a heavy storm that caused the river to overflow, a significant part of the main arch and the east pier of the bridge collapsed.

The Plaka Bridge, Zagori, northern Greece. Photo Source: Ministry of Culture - copyright Athens Macedonia News Agency / STR

The Plaka Bridge after its collapse. Photo Source: Ministry of Culture – copyright Athens Macedonia News Agency / STR

The project has restored the bridge to its former beauty and underlined its considerable value to both the tangible and intangible values of the natural landscape in which it is found.

Two more awards for Greece

Funded by the Creative Europe program, the awards this year honored 24 exemplary achievements from 18 European countries.

The award winners were selected by independent juries composed of heritage experts from across Europe. The nominations were submitted by organisations and individuals from 30 European countries.

Greece received a total of three awards in the categories of research and conservation for the restoration of the Plaka bridge; the development of the FIBRANET project in collaboration with Denmark and the launch of the Contro Shift project along with The Netherlands.

FIBRANET – FIBRes in Ancient European Textiles

This project investigated the fibres used in textile production in Europe from prehistory to the Roman Empire and created a tool that can be used to aid European textile studies.

This innovative research has deepened knowledge in material analysis of ancient fibres and revealed information on fibres that had never been studied before.

Control Shift – European Industrial Heritage Reuse in Review

The “Control Shift” research project focuses on the practice of Industrial Heritage Reuse in Europe, with special emphasis on the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Spain and Greece, and provides a much-needed alternative framework for the conservation of industrial heritage.

The jury recognised “the quality and relevance of this research, as well as its potential for development in various European countries”.

European Heritage Awards – The Winners by category

Conservation Projects

– Gare Maritime, Brussels, Belgium
– Fredensborg Palace Garden, Denmark
– Vardzia Rock-Cut Complex, Georgia
– Haus Am Horn, Weimar, Germany
– Plaka Bridge, Epirus, Greece
– 18 Ormond Quay Upper, Dublin, Ireland
– Wooden Church of Urși Village, Vâlcea County, Romania
– Besòs Water Tower, Barcelona, Spain
– Mas de Burot, Els Ports Natural Park, Spain

Research Projects

– FIBRANET – FIBRes in ANcient European Textiles, Denmark/Greece
– Control Shift – European Industrial Heritage Reuse in Review, Greece/The Netherlands
– ART-RISK – Artificial Intelligence Applied to Preventive Conservation, Spain

Dedicated Service to Heritage by Organisations & Individuals

– Gjirokastra Foundation, Albania
– Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage, Cyrpus
– Rita Bargna, Italy
– GEFAC – Group of Ethnography and Folklore of the Academy of Coimbra, Portugal

Education, Training and Awareness-raising Projects

– Following in the Steps of Bulgarian Folklore, Bulgaria
– Heritage Hubs, Finland/Italy/Serbia/Spain
– The Invention of a Guilty Party, Trento, Italy
– Holidays! In the East and West – The School Church, Groningen, The Netherlands
– European Solidarity Centre – Permanent Exhibition, Gdańsk, Poland
– Morón Artisan Lime, Morón de la Frontera, Spain
– Archaeology at Home, United Kingdom
– Morus Londinium: London’s Heritage through Trees, United Kingdom

Heritage supporters and enthusiasts from across the world are now encouraged to discover the winners and vote online to decide who will win this year’s Public Choice Award. The Public Choice Award winner will be announced during the European Heritage Awards Ceremony, which will take place on 23 September in Venice.

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