ISTANBUL (Hurriyet) — The winners of the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards 2015 were celebrated during a high-profile event at Oslo City Hall on June 11.
The Armenian Church of Surp Giragos in Turkey’s southeastern province of Diyarbakir received the award in the conservation category.
“It was the demonstration of local support which particularly impressed the jury in this case. The effort to restore the main church of the Armenians in Diyarbakır, after the exile of its people, is an outstanding act of reconciliation for the city and its citizens,” said jury members in a statement.
The church was originally built in 1376 and restored in 2011.The project’s restoration efforts focused on the church’s roof, bell tower and interior furnishings, thanks to archival research. The restoration was also carried out with the help of the Armenian community, which, according to the jury, “contributed immensely to peace, reconciliation and the improved social integration of its people, as well as attracting visiting Armenians from all over the world.”
The ceremony was co-hosted by Tibor Navracsics, the European commissioner for education, culture, youth and sport, and Denis de Kergorlay, the executive president of Europa Nostra, on behalf of the organization’s president, Plácido Domingo, who had to cancel his attendance due to family circumstances. He sent a special message to congratulate the 30 winners.
The entire ceremony was live streamed on the Europa Nostra’s YouTube channel.