DIYARBAKIR, Turkey—The Armenian Church of St. Giragos in Dikranagerd (Turkish: Diyarbakir) has won a grand prize of the European Union’s Prize for Cultural Heritage, more commonly known as the Europa Nostra Awards.
In a ceremony in Oslo, Norway, the winners of the Europa Nostra Awards were celebrated and the winners of the Grand Prix and Public Choice Award were announced for the first time.
The Public Choice Award was chosen by an open online poll and the Grand Prix winners were selected by specialist juries. Grand Prix laureates receive a 10,000 euro prize.
Seven projects received the Grand Prix for outstanding efforts in the protection of cultural heritage:
Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary
Salt Valley of Añana, Basque Country, Spain
Armenian Church of St. Giragos in Diyarbakir, Turkey
Wonders of Venice: Virtual Online Treasures in St. Mark’s Area, Italy
The Rundling Association, Jameln, Germany
Churches Conservation Trust, London, United Kingdom
Programme for Owners of Rural Buildings in Estonia, Tallinn, Estonia
The European Heritage Awards Ceremony was hosted by Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport and opened by Fabian Stang, Mayor of Oslo.
The Armenian Church of St. Giragos in Diyarbakir may have been of 17th century origin, although some contend that it was completely rebuilt in the 1880s. The building suffered from appalling deterioration late in the 20th century following the annihilation of the local population of Armenians after the Armenian Genocide. The roof collapsed and the structure became derelict.
Its restoration, which has involved a good deal of totally new building, began a few years ago, thanks to the efforts of the St. Giragos Church Foundation, non-governmental groups and concerned individuals.
The European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage, or the Europa Nostra Awards, highlight some of Europe’s best achievements in heritage care, and showcase remarkable efforts made in raising awareness about Europe’s cultural heritage.