EEA-EFTA funded project wins prize for outstanding heritage achievement
The Spanish project "Vía de la Plata -Extremadura" wins the prestigious 2005 European Heritage Award in the category Conservation of Cultural Landscapes.
The awards are given to exemplary initiatives and best practices that contribute to the protection and enhancement of cultural heritage in Europe. "Vía de la Plata" received the award for its remarkable achievement in restoring the portion of the ancient Roman road "Vía de la Plata" that runs through the Extremadura region in South west Spain. The "Vía de la Plata" project is one of 15 projects funded in Spain by the Financial Mechanisms 1994-1998.
The project included the restoration of thirty-two representative monuments to provide various tourism or recreational facilities. Behind the initiative is a goal to raise appreciation for heritage and stimulating economic development. The close to 20 million euro invested by the EEA-EFTA states and the regional government of Extremadura has established "Via de la Plata" as the cultural and tourist axis of the region, and the entire area as a grand-scale outdoor museum.
Parallel to the project's investment in historic and cultural heritage, the rehabilitation activities have generated job opportunities for 900 people. Since its launch in 1997 the project has applied a development strategy of human resources based on the principles of solidarity and equality, and thereby created opportunities for those in a highly vulnerable labour market position.
The Europa Nostra Award is one of the most prestigious restoration prizes in Europe. The European Heritage Awards Scheme was launched in 2002 by the European Commission, and is run by Europa Nostra, the pan-European federation for cultural heritage. The aims of the awards scheme are to promote high standards of conservation practice, to stimulate the exchange of knowledge and experience throughout Europe and to encourage further efforts through the power of example.
The award will be presented at the Palacio del Pardo in Madrid June 27th, under the presidency of Her Majesty The Queen of Spain and Europa Nostras' president The Prince Consort of Denmark.