2018 EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards

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St. Wenceslas Rotunda, Prague, CZECH REPUBLIC (Conservation)

This ambitious project restored and conserved the surviving nave of a Romanesque rotunda, which dates back to the late 11th-century and reveals the origins of the city of Prague. The remains were discovered in a newly uncovered space inside a building of Charles University (within a UNESCO World Heritage Area). The restoration work was based on the premise of minimizing any visible interventions. The project, led by a team at Charles University in Prague, was supported by EEA/Norway grants and private donors

Poul Egede's Mission House, Ilimanaq, Greenland, DENMARK (Conservation)

The Mission House (built in 1751) was built by the Danish Christian missionary Poul Egede and was  in service until 1880. It was intermittently inhabited until the mid-1980s. The Shop and Store Building (built in 1777) maintained its original use as a warehouse until 2012. The restoration of the two buildings, some of the oldest structures of their kind in Greenland, is part of a larger partnership between the government of Greenland, the National Museum of Greenland, Qaasuisup Kommunia, World of Greenland and the Danish philanthropic investor, Realdania By & Byg.

Dr. Barner’s Sanatorium, Braunlage/Harz, GERMANY (Conservation)

Dr. Barner’s Sanatorium is a unique example of the German reform movement of the early 20th century. The project to restore the Sanatorium was carried out by David Chipperfield Architects in partnership with the Monument Authority of Lower Saxony (Niedersächsisches Amt für Denkmalpflege) and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hildesheim. The project received state funding as well as a grant from the European Regional Development Fund.

The Winzerberg: Royal Vineyard at Potsdam-Sanssouci, GERMANY (Conservation)

This project revitalised a forgotten vineyard, originally designed as an Italian-style landmark within the UNESCO World Heritage Palaces and Parks of Potsdam. The Winzerberg with its characteristic pentagonal shape is entered through a triumphal gate. A Tuscan-style wine-maker’s house is located above the terraced vineyard which was used to grow and cultivate grapes, fruits and vegetables for the Royal Court of Frederick II and his successors. The project was initiated, planned, conducted and completed by Bauverein Winzerberg Potsdam, a small and independent non-profit-association. The majority of work was carried out by thousands of volunteers. The jury appreciated this aspect of the project highlighting “the involvement of local people from Potsdam in the management of the site”.

Byzantine Church of Hagia Kyriaki, Naxos, GREECE (Conservation)

Hagia Kyriaki is a Byzantine church with a unique series of wall paintings dating to the 8th or 9th century, during one of the two periods of Iconoclasm (726-787 CE; 813-843 CE). The church is located in a secluded rural area which was neglected for years. This project is an outstanding example of cooperation across state boundaries in Europe. The unique source of funding was private donations either through the Swiss initiative, the Association Hagia Kyriaki, including a contribution by J.F. Costopoulos Foundation or through the Greek organisation Elliniki Etairia, with donations from the A.G. Leventis Foundation and Athanasios and Marina Martinos.

Collaborative Conservation of the Apse Mosaic of the Transfiguration in the Basilica at St. Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai, EGYPT/GREECE/ITALY

The Greek Orthodox Monastery of Saint Catherine at Mount Sinai preserves one of the world’s richest collections of icons, manuscripts and historic documents. Its location is sacred to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The Monastery in its present form was constructed by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian and completed before 565 CE. This Basilica retains most of its 6th-century decorations, including the apse mosaic of the Transfiguration, a masterpiece of Eastern Christian art. Detailed documentation, cleaning and consolidation of the mosaics in situ, the resolution of structural problems which were causing detachments of the layers, as well as techniques to restore missing pieces were employed to restore the mosaic.

The Botanical Garden of the National Palace of Queluz, Sintra, PORTUGAL (Conservation)

The Botanical Garden of the National Palace of Queluz, built around 1770, was destroyed in 1984 by a catastrophic flood. In 2012, a research project was undertaken, anticipating the possibility of an informed reconstruction of the garden, supported by the available documentation and the identification of displaced elements of its masonry and ornamentation which were salvaged from the remains. The botanical collection was established with the support of Botanic Gardens Conservation International and involved several partners in Europe. The restoration was entirely self-financed by funds from Parques de Sintra, obtained exclusively from the income generated by visitors and entrance ticket sales.

The Pavilion of Prince Miloš at the Bukovicka Spa, Arandjelovac, SERBIA (Conservation)

Built in 1907, the Pavilion of Prince Miloš is located at the site of one of the oldest mineral water sources in Serbia and was the first bottling plant in the country. Several buildings in the Bukovicka Spa Park, in which the Pavilion is located, suffered the effects of neglect during the period of unrest in the last century. In May 2014, floods destroyed most of the Park’s buildings. The Ministry of Culture immediately placed the Pavilion on a list of important buildings that needed to be restored. The renovation of the Pavilion ultimately took just nine months and was achieved thanks to the cooperation of the Kingdom of Norway, who financed half of the project through the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The other half was financed by the mineral water company “Knjaz Miloš”, the municipality of Arandjelovac and the “Bukovicka Spa” Hospital, who managed the project.

The Bac Fortress, Bac, SERBIA (Conservation)

The Bac Fortress began construction in the 14th-century with additions made in the 15th- and 16th-centuries and is a listed national monument. The project “Centuries of Bac” was initiated in 2006 to research and increase knowledge about the area of Bac; to implement key conservation principles in its preservation; to find a sustainable use for the site; and to raise awareness of its value among the wider community. The conservation and rehabilitation of the Bac Fortress has been a central part of this project. The project was carried out by the Provincial Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments - Petrovaradin, and supported by its partners: the Fund for Preserving Cultural and Historical Heritage "Centuries of Bac", the University of Novi Sad Faculty of Technology and the Museum of Vojvodina.

Façade of San Ildefonso College, Alcalá de Henares, SPAIN (Conservation)

San Ildefonso College is the heart and soul of the University of Alcalá. It was built between 1500 and 1515. From 1541 to 1553, the architect Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón replaced its primitive facade of stone and adobe to the current design, using grey granite for the plinth and golden limestone for the upper sections. Having suffered damage due to the effects of weather and aging, this project conserved the monument to prevent its further degradation, repaired any damage and restored it to its former splendour. Patina analysis determined the composition of the original 16th-century patina and of the 20th-century glazing. This helped to inform the type of glazing to be applied in the restoration. The project was financed through the Ministry of Public Works and the University of Alcalá and was completed in 2017.

Sorolla’s Sketches for “Vision of Spain”, Valencia, SPAIN (Conservation)

An extensive collaboration between the Hispanic Society of America in New York, the Bancaja Cultural Foundation and the Generalitat Valenciana, through the Valencian Institute of Conservation, Restoration and Investigation (IVCR +i), has ensured the restoration and exhibition of 32 of Joaquín Sorolla’s life sketches of Spain. 

EPICO: European Protocol in Preventive Conservation, coordinated in Versailles, FRANCE (Research)

Five institutions based in France, Italy and Poland came together to share their resources and establish a simple and flexible method to effectively conserve the heritage of Europe’s historic houses. The Château de Versailles and its Research Centre, the Network of European Royal Residences (ARRE), the Foundation Centre of Conservation-Restoration “La Veneria Reale” in Turin and the Museum of King Jan III’s Palace at Wilanow in Warsaw joined forces to establish a new approach to the conservation and presentation to the public of European historic houses and their contents. The Jury commended this project for its “holistic approach to conservation across three relevant areas: the monument, the décor and the collection”.

Textile from Georgia, Tbilisi, GEORGIA (Research)

Textile from Georgia is an impressive and ambitious research project which aimed to investigate the long history of Georgian textiles, to resurrect forgotten craft techniques, and to transmit knowledge of these techniques to contemporary society. The Art Palace of Georgia collaborated with the George Chubinashvili National Research Centre and other state institutions for Georgian art history and heritage preservation in the research and execution of the project.

CultLab3D: Automated Scanning Technology for 3D Digitisation, Darmstadt, GERMANY (Research)

CultLab3D is the first automated 3D mass digitisation pipeline for cultural heritage artefacts in the world. The technology developed allows to significantly shorten the time of object digitisation, down from several hours using conventional 3D scanning methods to mere minutes per artefact. The research project was initiated by the Competence Center for Cultural Heritage Digitization at Fraunhofer IGD and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy with the support of internal strategic investment funds of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. 

Research and Cataloguing of the State Art Collection, Belgrade, SERBIA (Research)

Despite its fascinating contents, the State Art Collection of Serbia was never fully researched or catalogued until 2006. In that year, a project to research the collection was initiated and funded by the Ministry of Culture of Serbia. Led by Professor Jelena Todorovic with Biljana Crvenkovic, the project was carried out under the supervision of the National Museum in Belgrade.

The Wonders of Bulgaria Campaigners, BULGARIA (Dedicated Service)

In 2010, campaigners from the national media group Standart initiated the Wonders of Bulgaria. The campaign aims to preserve and promote both the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of Bulgaria by raising awareness of its quality amongst its own citizens and throughout the world. The activities include the organisation of tours, debates and other events; the production of publications and exhibitions; and the campaigning for the recognition of Bulgarian cultural heritage at international level. The campaign in favour of Bulgaria’s cultural heritage has coincided with a 20% increase in tourism to Bulgaria in the last 7 years.

Mr. Stéphane Bern, FRANCE (Dedicated Service)

Stéphane Bern has had an extremely rich career related to cultural heritage, at times working as a journalist, an author, TV presenter, radio host, producer and actor. However, it is mainly through his immensely popular television shows that Stéphane Bern is best known to the general public for his illuminating insight on cultural heritage.

Association of the International Private Committees for the Safeguarding of Venice, ITALY (Dedicated Service)

The Association of the International Private Committees for the Safeguarding of Venice coordinates the activities of the committees committed to cultural heritage in Venice, facilitates communication among the members and represents them in relations with third­ parties. Established in 1987, the Association has been able to coordinate the efforts of UNESCO, the Italian authorities and its own Members for the safeguarding and restoration of Venetian monuments, historical artefacts and archives.

The Hendrick de Keyser Association, THE NETHERLANDS (Dedicated Service)

For the past 100 years, the Hendrick de Keyser Association has been committed to the preservation of Dutch houses of historic and architectural value. A special aspect of this non-profit Association’s approach to their work is their commitment to preserving both monumental buildings as well as simple houses, having recognised the importance of both of these types of private dwellings. The 420 properties that have been acquired, preserved and restored thus provide a magnificent cross-section of Dutch architectural, decorative and social history. The Association, named after the 17th- century Dutch architect and sculptor, goes to great lengths to undertake accurate research and to perform appropriate conservation.

Mrs. Tone Sinding Steinsvik, NORWAY (Dedicated Service)

The Norwegian Museum Director and Co-Founder Tone Sinding Steinsvik - together with her late husband Kjell Rasmus Steinsvik - has saved, restored, rebuilt and successfully promoted the well known and much visited Blaafarveværket industrial complex in Buskerud, Norway. Over 50 years of intense and innovative efforts, these former cobalt mines and production works have been transformed into what is today a well-run and extremely versatile museum.

Private Water Owners of Argual and Tazacorte, Canary Islands, SPAIN (Dedicated Service)

The Heredamiento de las Haciendas of Argual and Tazacorte is a group of private water owners in the Canary Islands, whose heritage goes back to 1502. Following over 500 years of inheritance, the water and landscape are now managed by 1,540 shareholders who work on a non-profit basis. The water, mountains, land and irrigation channels of the Caldera de Taburiente belong to this community. The collection and distribution of the water and the conservation of the ecosystem have been the two pillars on which the activity of this group has been based since its establishment. This has generated a true culture around water, highlighting that it is a precious and scarce resource.

Ief Postino: Belgium and Italy Connected by Letters, BELGIUM (Education, Training and Awareness-Raising)

Ief Postino is an awareness-raising project addressing the history of migration in Europe, specifically between the Belgian province of Limburg and Italy. The project has used traditional communication methods to revive the links between the communities in both countries. Its basis in the human experience of migration is one that is as relevant today as it has been over the past 70 years. Letters were exchanged from Belgium to Italy and vice-versa, hand-delivered via a typically Italian, three-wheeled Piaggio Ape. The Ief Postino project was co-produced and co-financed by the Centre for Cultural Heritage of the Limburg Province and the Belgian public television broadcaster VRT.

Culture Leap: Educational Programme, FINLAND (Education, Training and Awareness-Raising)

The Culture Leap project aimed to increase the amount of Cultural Education Plans in Finland, a public programme for schools which ensures that all children and young people get the chance to experience their cultural heritage. The elaborate project produced an online tool that enables municipalities to independently prepare a Cultural Education Plan based on their local and regional heritage. The tool is freely available to all, and it exists in three languages (Finnish, Swedish and English).

National Institute of Cultural Heritage: Educational and Training Programme for Conservators, FRANCE (Education, Training and Awareness-Raising)

Each year, National Institute of Cultural Heritage (Institut national du patrimoine) places students of heritage conservation in field schools which offer those enrolled valuable professional and practical experience. The programme equally benefits students, the heritage sites and those in charge of the sites concerned. This pedagogical framework results in heritage sites benefiting from preliminary studies, restoration works or preventive conservation measures. It also presents the opportunity for students to collaborate with research centers, such as in the research laboratories of historical monuments. The pedagogical programme is financed by the National Institute of Cultural Heritage and its supervisory authority, the French Ministry of Culture.

The Alka of Sinj Museum, CROATIA (Education, Training and Awareness-Raising)

The Alka of Sinj Museum is dedicated to the annual knight's tournament that takes place every August in the city of Sinj, Croatia. The tradition was inscribed on the UNESCO List of Intangible Heritage in 2010 and in 2015, on the 300th anniversary of the tournament, a museum dedicated to this spectacle was opened. Thanks to the opening of the museum, visitors now have the opportunity to engage with the tradition year-round, while those already familiar with the Alka of Sinj may gain new insight into the history and meaning behind the custom. The museum was initiated and predominantly financed by the Alka Knights Society of Sinj, with additional funding coming from national and local governments.

The Rising from Destruction Campaign, coordinated in Rome, ITALY (Education, Training and Awareness-Raising)

The Rising from Destruction Campaign was conceived in 2016 by the Incontro di Civiltà Association as a call to action against the deliberate destruction of cultural heritage, which has become a core feature of modern conflicts. The project involves four awareness-raising exhibitions, an international conference, the restoration and repatriation of two damaged busts from Palmyra and a documentary was produced and broadcast by the Italian television channel Sky Arte.  Raising awareness on the importance of protecting cultural heritage is the central aim of this campaign.

Open Monuments, ITALY (Education, Training and Awareness-Raising)

Since 1997 the Imago Mundi Association, a small non-profit organisation, has coordinated Open Monuments (Monumenti Aperti), an annual event which promotes inclusivity and the rediscovery of cultural heritage. The event promotes smaller, lesser-known, heritage sites which may be in need of care, along with those larger, better known sites. Open Monuments likewise raises awareness of the value of heritage in the social and economic development of communities. The Association achieves this by including institutions, schools, associations and enterprises in their activities.

GeoCraftNL: Minecraft Heritage Project by GeoFort, THE NETHERLANDS (Education, Training and Awareness-Raising)

GeoCraftNL is a Minecraft server owned by the science centre GeoFort which allows children to build and recreate castles, windmills, churches and their own houses in a virtual 3D world. Minecraft is an online modelling platform, much like a digital LEGO, which is extremely popular with children and adolescents around the world. The whole of the Netherlands has been constructed by GeoFort in a 1:1 scale with approximately 1 trillion Minecraft blocks by using cadastral data and height maps. Each block represents 1? in the ‘real’ Netherlands. 30,500 children now play a part in the GeoCraftNL community.

Plecnik House, SLOVENIA (Education, Training and Awareness-Raising)

Jože Plecnik was the most important Slovenian architect of the 20th century and was instrumental in shaping the appearance of modern Ljubljana. The renovation and revitalisation of the architect’s former residence began in 2013 to establish a new museum and a new research centre dedicated to the architect's oeuvre. It has also put in place a regular programme of temporary exhibitions and educational activities for various focus groups, led by the Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana. Following its reopening in 2015, the Plecnik House has enjoyed a radical increase of 130% in its visitor numbers. It is now one of the top tourist sites in Ljubljana.

Zografyon Greek School, Istanbul, TURKEY (Europa Nostra Award, Conservation)

The Zografyon Greek Primary School for Girls, located in the Yeniköy District of Istanbul, was built by the Greek architect Konstantinos Dimadis in 1871. The school was closed in 1980 and soon suffered the effects of neglect. The Tures Tourism Planning and Restoration Company carried out the restoration which was funded by the Yenikoy Panayia Greek Church and School Foundation, the owner of the building. The building was reopened in 2017 and now houses a school for pupils at kindergarten and primary school age.