A SUCHO is a “large network of international volunteers, mobilized by a group of heritage professionals, [que] reacted to threats to heritage as a result of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine and began its work in the first days of the war, using existing digital tools”, explains the organization Europa Nostra in a note.
“These volunteers helped ensure that a huge amount of Ukrainian heritage assets could be safeguarded. They also made significant efforts to digitize collections at risk”, adds the organization, supporting the award.
The Europa Nostra Grand Prix, in each of the five categories, has a monetary value of 10,000 euros.
The Grand Prize in the area of Conservation and Adaptive Reuse was awarded ex-aequo to the recovery of the Royal Gardens, in Venice, in northeastern Italy, and that of Ponte Deba, in Gipuzkoa, in the Spanish autonomous region of the Basque Country.
In the same document, the European heritage organization warns that “the city of Venice, a World Heritage Site, faces many challenges and threats” and the careful recovery and restoration of these gardens from the Napoleonic era (19th century) stand out as “a brilliant example of how care for the city’s heritage in a way that accurately responds to its most pressing needs.”
“Special considerations regarding the current climate crisis were integrated into the design of the interventions, making this initiative an inspiring example for any city suffering the effects of climate change”, highlights Europa Nostra.
Regarding the Deba Bridge, Europa Nostra refers to “the complex rehabilitation of this 19th century stone bridge [que] presented a very difficult technical challenge”, with “the conservation team carrying out careful research to preserve the integrity of the bridge, demonstrating a remarkable sense of responsibility in maintaining the authenticity of the construction”.
“The intervention revealed new knowledge to complete the project and established a standard for future similar projects”, highlights the organization.
The structure for professional integration and qualification of unemployed people “Acta Vista”, in Marseille, in the south of France, won the Grand Prize in the Education, Vocational Training and Training category.
“Acta Vista”, says Europa Nostra, is “a compelling example of how cultural heritage can empower people who have been excluded from employment in an impactful way and demonstrates that heritage restoration can serve as a path to radical inclusion and that heritage has a regenerative capacity”.
In the area of Citizen Involvement and Awareness, the big winner was the Museum of Irish Literature (MoLI), in Dublin, for its “remarkable success in reaching literature lovers and non-traditional audiences and in raising awareness of the rich literary heritage of Ireland, through an exceptional program of events”.
“MoLI attracted and maintained a diverse and multigenerational audience, also thanks to the potential offered by digital transformation”, continues Europa Nostra.
The People’s Choice Award, also worth 10,000 euros, went to the Transylvanian Way, in Romania, “a remarkable project that established the longest pedestrian route in Romania, covering more than 1,400 kilometers and connecting 12 World Heritage sites, by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)”, explains the organization.
This initiative was presented in the Citizen Involvement and Awareness category and obtained “the largest number” of choices, “through an online vote with the participation of around 27,000 citizens from across Europe”.
These projects, awarded the Europa Nostra Grand Prize, come from a group of 30 out of 21 countries, this year already distinguished by the non-governmental organization with the Europa Nostra European Cultural Heritage Awards, announced in June, and which tonight received the respective award in Venice.
This initial list of winners included the Mudéjar ceilings of Funchal Cathedral, the safeguarding of the artisanal fishing technique “Arte-Xávega” and the Almada Project, as well as the journey of archaeologist Cláudio Torres.
The European Heritage Awards ceremony took place today at the Cinema Palace, in Venice, with the presence of mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli, who succeeded tenor Plácido Domingo as president of Europa Nostra.
The President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, congratulated the winners via a video message.
The ceremony took place in parallel with the European Cultural Heritage Summit, which takes place in the Italian city until Saturday.
“What a joy it is to be in Venice on this night celebrating the winners of the European Heritage Awards/Europa Nostra Awards. Every year, our winners bring hope and inspiration to us all. The variety in terms of content and geographical scope of the projects, their scope and individual nature perfectly reflect the richness and diversity of our culture. The people who dedicate themselves wholeheartedly and energetically to these projects are compelling ambassadors of how to safeguard, restore and enhance Europe’s cultural heritage,” said Cecília Bartoli who congratulated the winners.
Europa Nostra celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, having been created in 1963, and is a pan-European federation of non-governmental organizations linked to heritage, supported by a network of public bodies, private companies and individuals, covering more from 40 countries. It maintains close relations with the European Union, the Council of Europe, UNESCO and other international organizations.
Europa Nostra campaigns to save Europe’s threatened monuments, sites and landscapes, in particular through the “Seven Most Threatened Sites” Programme.
Since May 1st, Europa Nostra has led the European consortium selected by the European Commission to execute the European Heritage Center pilot project, and is also an official partner of the “New European Bauhaus” initiative, developed by the European Commission, and is regional co-chair for Europe of the Climate Heritage Network.
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