The European Commission and Europa Nostra have announced the winners of the 2023 European Heritage Awards/Europa Nostra Awards.

The annual EU prize for cultural heritage rewards 28 best initiatives and personalities from 20 European countries representing the latest developments and priorities related to heritage policy and practice in Europe.

The Armenian-French joint project ‘Scientific-Archaeological Studies for the Preservation of Ererouyk’ is among the winners of the ‘Research’ category. Ererouyk is an early Christian and medieval complex, located in Shirak province of Armenia. It consists of remains of a 6th-century basilica, ancient mausoleum and cemetery, ancient village and dam. The researchers succeeded in dating the basilica and conducting a detailed analysis of its carved decoration. Through comparative research, the project also highlighted the particularities of Armenian Christianity and funerary customs.

This research project was carried out between 2009 and 2021 by the Laboratory of Medieval and Modern Archaeology in the Mediterranean of Aix-en-Provence (LA3M), France, the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Armenian Academy of Sciences, and the Shirak Regional Museum in Gyumri, Armenia, alongside several experts of different nationalities.

The Awards, funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, are granted in five categories:
Conservation & Adaptive Reuse;
Education, Training & Skills;
Citizens’ Engagement & Awareness-raising; and
Heritage Champions.

Armenian-French Scientific-Archaeological Studies for the Preservation of Ererouyk won the award in the Research category.

This year’s impressive collection of award winners ranges from the true renaissance of the Royal Gardens of Venice (Italy), a most treasured green space in the heart of this unique heritage city, to the fascinating research project Safeguarding of the Artisanal Fishing Technique “Arte-Xávega” (Portugal), which helps secure the future of one the last examples of artisanal and sustainable fishing in Europe; from ACTA VISTA (France), an innovative heritage skills training programme which helps individuals marginalised from employment return to work, to the annual festival Budapest 100 (Hungary), which celebrates the built heritage of this World Heritage City; and the transfrontier network of volunteers of SUCHO: Saving Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online (Ukraine/International Project), which web archived over 50TB of data from Ukrainian cultural institutions in the first months of the war in Ukraine.

The Award winners were selected by the Jury, composed of heritage experts from across Europe, upon evaluation by the Selection Committees that are responsible for examining award applications, which this year were submitted by organisations and individuals from 35 European countries.

Reacting to the announcement of the 2023 winners, Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, who is currently in charge of Culture, stated: “Each winning achievement of this year’s European Heritage Awards/Europa Nostra Awards is the result of extraordinary skills and commitment, collective and individual, spanning heritage places and traditions across Europe. By honouring these achievements, we also reiterate our firm commitment to protecting our shared cultural heritage, because it is vital for our sense of togetherness as citizens and communities of Europe.”

 Cecilia Bartoli, the world-renowned mezzo-soprano and President of Europa Nostra, stated: “I warmly congratulate this year’s winners of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards on their well-deserved recognition. They are inspiring examples which truly contribute to building a more beautiful, sustainable and inclusive Europe. Their success stories demonstrate how adversity can be overcome through pooling expertise, dedication, creativity and innovation. I look forward to meeting them in person and celebrating all the winners at the European Heritage Awards Ceremony in our beloved World Heritage City of Venice.”

 The winners will be celebrated at the European Heritage Awards Ceremony on 28 September in the Palazzo del Cinema in Venice. This prestigious event will be honoured with the participation of Cecilia Bartoli, President of Europa Nostra. Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission, is also expected to attend this high-level event.During the ceremony, the Grand Prix laureates and the Public Choice Award winner, chosen from among this year’s winners and entitled to receive €10,000 each, will be announced. The ceremony will be a highlight of the European Cultural Heritage Summit 2023, organised by Europa Nostra with the support of the European Commission, on 27-30 September in the World Heritage City of Venice.

Heritage supporters and enthusiasts are now encouraged to discover the winners and vote online to decide who will win the Public Choice Award 2023, entitled to receive a monetary award of €10,000.

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