The European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards has been organised by Europa Nostra and the European Commission since 2002. The awards ceremony was held in Athens under the auspices of Karolos Papoulias, president of Greece. The ceremony coincided with Europa Nostra’s 50th Anniversary Congress.
The winners of the 2013 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards were honoured on 16 June at a ceremony in the presence of Karolos Papoulias, the President of Greece, Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, and Plácido Domingo, the world-renowned tenor and President of Europa Nostra. The ceremony took place in the Odeion of Herodes Atticus, at the foot of the Acropolis, in front of an audience of up to 5 000 people. The winners of the public choice award and 'Grand Prix' were being announced for the first time.
Commissioner Vassiliou stated: "Tonight we are celebrating exceptional examples of conservation, research, dedicated service, education, training and awareness-raising. This year the choice was particularly challenging. The outstanding quality and diversity of the winning projects highlight the extraordinary skills and passion which epitomize Europe’s cultural heritage sector – a sector we must support and protect for future generations. Heritage is not about 'glorifying' our past. It is a huge asset for our present and future; it is one of the main factors that makes Europe the world's top tourist destination, contributing significantly to our economy and helping to create jobs in our cities and regions."
The public choice award winner, chosen in an online poll from among the 30 laureates for 2013 was The Propylaea Central Building in Athens. The jury for the conservation section of the awards praised the high quality of the craftsmanship employed in an "exemplary project which succeeded not only in rescuing this iconic monument of European culture but also in enhancing its inherent formal and social values".
It was a double celebration for Greece because the Committee for the Conservation of the Acropolis Monuments was among the seven Grand Prix winners selected by expert juries (the seven Grand Prix winners receive €10 000 each).
The other six are:
Tallinn Seaplane Harbour, Estonia (Cat. 1)
Roman Theatre of Medellin, Spain (Cat. 1)
Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, United Kingdom (Cat. 1)
Restoration of the Exceptional Machines of Wielemans-Ceuppens Brewery, Brussels, Belgium (Cat.2)
Association for the Promotion of Art and Culture in the Eastern Part of Germany, Berlin, Germany (Cat.3)
SOS Azulejo Project, Loures, Portugal (Cat.4)
The prize-giving ceremony was followed by an impressive artistic programme called "The Greeks and Nature, from Homer to Elitys". This ode to Greece and to the Mediterranean made the audience travel from ancient times to 21th century. The programme included renowned singers such as Mario Frangoulis and paid tribute to Greek intellectuals, from Plato to George Seferis.