Marking World Heritage Day
Today we celebrate World Heritage Day. Protecting and preserving our cultural heritage needs our continuous attention.
Over a period of five years the EEA Grants provide more than €200 million in support for cultural heritage programmes in 14 beneficiary countries in Central and Eastern Europe. These programmes help protect and revitalise cultural and natural heritage, help to open it up to the general public and stimulate the exchange of knowledge about heritage care between cultural players from Iceland, Liechtenstein , Norway and those from beneficiary states and they help to raise awareness about good heritage care.
The provided support for cultural heritage projects gives buildings and collections a new lease of life. It also directly and indirectly provides job opportunities and stimulates new economic activities in communities contributing to their progress. Supported projects also have a strong social dimension as they foster understanding of European history and of our common heritage and contribute to a greater mutual understanding between communities.
Europe Nostra Awards
World Heritage Day provides an opportunity to highlight excellence in heritage care. Today we’d like to put the spotlight on the excellence of three projects funded by the EEA Grants which will be awarded the European Union Award for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards on 5 May this year. The Home for Cooperation (H4C) - a unique peace project in Cyprus, standing for cooperation and unity – receives the prize for conservation. The Linhas de Torres Vedras – a historical Route of Defense Lines of Torres Vedras – also receives a prize for conservation. This military defence ring in Portugal made up of 152 fortresses constructed by the Duke of Wellington during the Peninsular War had fallen into disrepair, €1.5 million from the EEA Grants has helped to halt the decline. The restoration of the fortress lines has led to the establishment of a new historical sightseeing route, allowing tourists and local visitors alike a chance to enjoy and learn about the era.
Miskolc is a large city in northern Hungary, with a proud history from medieval times. However more recent times have seen sharp industrial decline. The recession has had a devastating impact with large numbers of young people moving away to find jobs. Under the Atjaro (Passage) Project, supported by the EEA Grants NGO funds, an extensive cultural heritage protection programme has been introduced. It focuses on the preservation of the city’s industrial past and the revitalisation of its surviving built heritage, promoting a renewed sense of urban identity and recreating a feeling of local pride. This project receives an award for its awareness raising activities.
The award ceremony will take place on 5 May in Vienna’s Burgtheater under the patronage of Heinz Fischer,President of Austria, Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, and Plácido Domingo, the internationally-renowned opera singer and President of Europa Nostra, will jointly present the awards.
Europa Nostra summaries of each of the projects with videos and photos:
- Home for Cooperation (H4C) (Cyprus)
- Linhas de Torres Vedras (Portugal)
- Passage: From a Rusty City to a New Miskolc (Hungary)