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Looking for culture? Welcome to Europe - 22/08/2013

The Colosseum, Rome © EU

You don’t need to go far in Europe to see outstanding historical or cultural artefacts. Whether you are heading for foreign shores this summer or indulging in armchair travel, fit some into your itinerary.

From the medieval town of Rhodes to the Forum in Rome and Poland’s wooden churches, Europeans are spoilt for choice when it comes to cultural and historical tourism.

Star restoration projects

Keeping buildings and art in good condition takes work. The efforts of volunteers and professionals to preserve key sites were recognised in June, when the European Commission and Europa Nostra announced the winners of the 2013 prizes for outstanding conservation projects.

This year’s public vote went to Propylaea Central Building in Athens. Recent conservation efforts were praised for high quality craftsmanship, and for rescuing an iconic monument of European culture.

Other winners were:

  • Tallinn seaplane harbour, Estonia;
  • Roman Theatre of Medellin, Spain;
  • Strawberry Hill, UK;
  • Restoration of machines at the Wielemans-Ceuppens brewery, Belgium;
  • Association for the promotion of art and culture in the eastern part of Germany;
  • A project to raise awareness of Azulejo tiles in Portugal.

EU support

The EU is helping to maintain many of these sites – from restoration of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece, to laser cleaning of old frescoes in Siena, Italy. It is also funding research to help preserve Europe’s cultural treasures. The Firesense project, for example, developed an early warning system to monitor the risk of fire and extreme weather in areas of cultural interest.

Armchair travel

Culture vultures will also enjoy Europeana – Europe’s digital library, museum and archive. Whether your interest is art nouveau or musical instruments, Irish traditional music or botanical gardens, there is something for everyone.

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