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Istanbul celebrates EU awards for cultural heritage - 11/06/2010

Prize medal representing a historical monument - EU awards for cultural heritage © EU

Projects to restore Collège des Bernardins (Paris) and Neues Museum (Berlin) among winners of 2010 EU cultural heritage awards.

The awards - the "Oscars" of the heritage-protection world - are given to the best projects aimed at safeguarding and promoting Europe's monuments, landscapes and artworks.

This year, the awards ceremony was held in Istanbul's splendid Saint Irene church. Of the 140 projects entered, from 26 different countries, 29 received an award, including six that received the jury's grand prize and a cheque for €10 000.

UK entrants received awards in the categories of conservation (St Davids Bishop's Palace and St Martin-in-the-Fields) and education, training and awareness-raising (Faith in Maintenance).

The first EU awards for Cultural Heritage were given in 2002 under the European Commission's cultural diversity programme and the Europa Nostra foundation, which represents more than 400 organisations that help protect Europe's cultural heritage and landscapes.

There are 4 award categories: conservation, research, education, and exceptional contribution by an individual or group. Danish director Nils Vest, for example, received a grand prize from the jury for his documentaries on Europe's rich architectural heritage.

"All this work not only helps to make Europe a beautiful place to live, it also generates jobs, attracts tourists and contributes to sustainable development", explained commissioner for culture Androulla Vassiliou. The Roman theatre in Cartagena, Spain is one example. It has fully been incorporated into the city since its restoration, and a new museum displays objects uncovered during the excavations.

The competition for 2011 has already begun: the dealine to submit applications is 1 October 2010.

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