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Europa Nostra 2016

Distinction for two Greek monuments at the Europa Nostra 2016

Two participations from Greece are among the 28 winners between 16 European countries that have received the Europa Nostra 2016 prize-the greatest European distinction in the area of the preservation of cultural heritage. These participations competed in the «Restoration» category and refer to the Byzantine church of St. Peter at the Kastania village in the Mani region of southern Greece and the traditional watermill of St.Germanus at the Prespa region. 

The church of St. Peter is the oldest of the ten Byzantine monuments in the village of Kastania. It is a cross-in-square domed structure of the late 12th century, with a portico added to the west side in the 13th century and a bell tower which was constructed in 1813.The church was in a poor condition prior to the commencement of the restoration phase, whereas the Byzantine mural decoration had suffered extensive damage.The high quality restoration of the church included the securing of the building’s structural issues and the conservation of the interior decoration, while highlighting the fresco of the temple. 

Credits: St. Mamaloukos

Credits: St. Mamaloukos

The restoration of the monument was met with enthusiasm by the local community, while it has drawn considerable tourist attention to this remote village of Mani. The main reasons and considerations on which the decision of the judges was based was the assumption that the restoration project « is a model for the preservation of cultural heritage on a broader basis in Europe», while the significance and importance of this European monument and its illustration of the Byzantine contribution to European culture is outlined. The watermill of St.Germanus (1930) is located in the upland region of the Prespa National Park and it is the only one which has been fully restored among 20 other windmills that are found in the region. It is fully functional, including three different mechanisms: one which grinds flour, another for cleaning fabrics and the third for textile finishing. The restoration involved repairing the building which was in a critical condition, reconstructing the destroyed mechanical systems, rebuilding the water supply system and installing new constructions in the surrounding area so that the mill is easily accessible to visitors. The project was actively supported by volunteers while the residents of the village expressed their warm succour from the beginning and aided the restoration of the mill. «With this Award, we commend the recovery of this early industrial mill which is highly characteristic of industrialization in Europe. […] Its social impact as well as the preservation of this fine example of industrial heritage is worthy of the highest merit», the jury noted. 

The European Heritage Awards Ceremony will take place on the evening of 24 May at the historic Zarzuela Theatre in Madrid and will be co-hosted by Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, and Maestro Plácido Domingo, President of Europa Nostra. In addition, on the morning of the same day, the winners shall have the opportunity to present their award winning projects during the Excellence Fair at the headquarters of the College of Architects of Madrid. Moreover the participants will join a series of networking events which will take place during the European Heritage Congress that will be held by the Europa Nostra. The European Heritage Awards Ceremony will take place on the evening of 24 May at the historic Zarzuela Theatre and will be co-hosted by Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, and Maestro Plácido Domingo, President of Europa Nostra.

For more information on the Europa Nostra 2016 please see here.

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