Preserving cultural heritage in Armenia
Europa Nostra Award
Armenia has an archaeological, architectural and artistic heritage of extraordinary richness, deserving conservation and scholarly appreciation. As a landlocked country with an outstanding cultural heritage at risk but with long lasting and close cultural links to Europe, enhanced by its early conversion to Christianity, Armenia is in serious need of expertise from outside its borders, for example from comparable European cultures. Italy has shown remarkable initiative in setting up cultural heritage preservation training in Armenia, a project which aims to promote a better environment for the safeguarding of the immovable and movable heritage through the provision of specialized conservation training and building activities.
In order to have a greater impact in promoting the idea of conservation and a change of mindset towards tangible cultural heritage, the project has targeted students, local experts, restoration technicians and public officials. Through academic and practical courses, more than 200 Armenians from their home country, Iran and Syria have had the opportunity to acquire skills in the handling of traditional materials and techniques and in best practice in restoration. Multidisciplinary and intercultural dialogue is a key element. An international conference, two study tours in Italy and several technical publications have also been organised.
What made the strongest impression on the Jury here was the effectiveness of the partnership between two nations, not immediate neighbours but sharing a philosophy in relation to their pasts. The involvement of the Politecnico di Milano ensured that the approach was rigorously scientific and objective, and Armenia could not really have coped without Italian technical know-how. The debt is acknowledged and the benefits are considerable, bringing dividends well beyond Armenia’s borders to the Armenian diaspora.
The Europa Nostra Awards are presented to outstanding achievements from European countries not taking part in the EU’s Creative Europe programme.