Monument of Episkopi, Sikinos, GREECE wins

European Heritage Award / Europa Nostra Award 2022

Brussels / The Hague, 30 June 2022

The European Commission and Europa Nostra have just announced the 2022 winners of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards, funded by the EU Creative Europe programme. This year, which marks the 20th anniversary of Europe’s most prestigious Awards in the heritage field, 30 outstanding heritage achievements from 18 European countries have been awarded. Among this year’s winners is the Monument of Episkopi in Sikinos, Greece, in the category Conservation and Adaptive Reuse.

The winners will be celebrated on 26 September in Prague at the European Heritage Awards Ceremony, to be held at the recently restored State Opera and co-hosted by the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, and Europa Nostra’s Executive President, Prof. Dr. Hermann Parzinger.

Reacting to the announcement of the 2022 winners, the European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, stated: “I warmly congratulate all the winners of this year’s European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards for the exceptional quality of their work and their openness to innovation. 2022 is a special year as we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage, which has become the most prominent award for the European heritage community. Many of the awarded initiatives demonstrate the enormous interest and engagement of young people for our heritage, our history, and our cultural identity, which is particularly relevant in this European Year of Youth. A special thought goes to the two Ukrainian laureates. Creative Europe, which is co-funding the Awards, stands for promoting culture and creativity in building inclusive and cohesive societies founded on our core European values.”

Europa Nostra’s Executive President, Prof. Dr. Hermann Parzinger, said: “This year’s Award winners are powerful examples of how our heritage reconnects us with nature, helps create a sense of belonging and place, and is an integral building block in developing a circular economy that supports a sustainable and inclusive way of life. I congratulate these exceptional winners – professionals and enthusiasts alike – for their essential and commendable work”.

Monument of Episkopi, Sikinos, Greece

The monument of Episkopi on Sikinos, one of the smallest Cycladic islands, is a Roman mausoleum dating back to the 3rd century. Because of its conversion to a Byzantine church, it was continuously used and has therefore survived nearly intact. Its ancient structure, combined with interventions from several historical periods, offers an incomparable palimpsest of archaeological periods that is rarely preserved in ancient monuments.

Severely affected by destructive earthquakes and human interventions throughout the centuries, the monument was abandoned in the 20th century. The Ephorate of Antiquities of the Cyclades decided to restore the building in 2016 and reopen it to the public. The restoration study was undertaken by the scientific personnel of the Ephorate; Elliniki Etairia – Society for the Environment and Cultural Heritage and the A. & M. Martinou Foundation funded the structural and geotechnical studies. The restoration project was financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the Region of South Aegean.


The impressive ancient mausoleum that was created on the verge of Late Antiquity, has been an important landmark for the island of Sikinos throughout the centuries. The archaeological research that took place during its restoration significantly increased knowledge of funerary monuments of the Roman period in the Eastern Mediterranean Region as well as of Cycladic Byzantine churches. During the restoration work on Episkopi, archaeologists made many valuable discoveries, such as inscriptions and remnants of Roman and Byzantine wall paintings, which were preserved by implementing a microclimate monitoring system. The most important find was the hermetically sealed grave of a woman of high rank, named ‘Neiko’, which was dated to the 3rd century.

The community of Sikinos was strongly committed to the restoration of the monument of Episkopi and provided housing, transportation and even equipment. With the monument having been closed to the public for half a century, the local community now aspires to reinstate its vital bond with this cultural heritage site, first by re-establishing the annual feast in August for the celebration of the Dormition of Virgin Mary and then by launching cultural activities in this unique archaeological setting, in collaboration with the Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades.

This project combined meticulous research with cautious conservation, resulting in a high-quality restoration. The monument of Episkopi is a cultural landmark and a source of pride for this small island community. Building materials were reused as much as possible and new masonry was incorporated using locally collected stones. The combination of architectural elements of a Roman mausoleum in a Byzantine church forms a unique monument that is simply striking,” emphasised the Awards’ Jury.

2022 Winners of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards[1]


Conservation and Adaptive Reuse

Aachen Battery, Atlantikwall Raversyde, West-Flanders, BELGIUM

Villa E-1027, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, FRANCE

Monument of Episkopi, Sikinos, GREECE

Atlungstad Distillery, Ottestad, NORWAY

Convent of the Capuchos, Sintra, PORTUGAL

House of Religious Freedom, Cluj-Napoca, ROMANIA

Illa del Rei, Menorca, SPAIN

St. Andrew’s Church, Kyiv, UKRAINE


Heritage Opportunities/threats within Mega-Events in Europe (HOMEE), CYPRUS / ITALY / POLAND / UNITED KINGDOM



Safeguarding of Sicilian Puppet Theatre, ITALY

Education, Training and Skills

Masters and Apprentices, FINLAND

International Course on Wood Conservation Technology, NORWAY

TISH Jewish Food Festival, Warsaw, POLAND

Piscu School Museum and Workshop, ROMANIA

Sewn Signs, ROMANIA

Symphony, SPAIN


Citizens’ Engagement and Awareness-raising

Rivers of Sofia, BULGARIA

Return to the Sámi Homeland, FINLAND

Swapmuseum, Apulia, ITALY

Va’ Sentiero, ITALY

“Lumbardhi Public Again” Project, Prizren, KOSOVO [2]

Museum in the Village, PORTUGAL

PAX-Patios de la Axerquía, Córdoba, SPAIN

Wikipedra, SPAIN

World Vyshyvanka Day, UKRAINE


Heritage Champions

Costa Carras †, Athens, GREECE (posthumously)

La Paranza Cooperative, Naples, ITALY

Elżbieta Szumska, Złoty Stok, POLAND

In addition, a Europa Nostra Award is presented to a remarkable heritage achievement from a European country not taking part in the EU Creative Europe programme:

Kenan Yavuz Ethnography Museum, Bayburt, TURKEY (Citizens’ Engagement and Awareness-raising)

The Award winners were decided by the Jury composed of heritage experts from across Europe, upon evaluation by the independent Selection Committees of candidatures submitted by organisations and individuals from 36 European countries.

2022 European Heritage Awards Ceremony


The winners will be celebrated on 26 September at the State Opera of Prague the European Heritage Awards Ceremony, to be co-hosted by the European Commissioner for Culture and the Executive President of Europa Nostra. The Grand Prix laureates and the Public Choice Award winner, chosen from among this year’s winning projects and entitled to receive €10,000 each, will be announced during the Ceremony. Between mid-August and mid-September, heritage supporters and enthusiasts are encouraged to vote online for the Public Choice Award and mobilise support for the winner(s) from their own or another European country.

The European Heritage Awards Ceremony will be a highlight of the European Cultural Heritage Summit 2022 to be held on 25-27 September in Prague. The Summit, which has been included in the programme of the Czech Presidency of the Council of European Union, is organised by Europa Nostra with the support of the European Commission.





Audrey Hogan, Programmes Officer
[email protected],

T. +31 70 302 40 52

Joana Pinheiro, Communications Coordinator

[email protected],

M. +31 6 34 36 59 85


Sonya Gospodinova

[email protected]

+32 2 2966953


Elliniki Etairia – Society for the Environment and Cultural Heritage

Katerina Stempili, [email protected]

Τ. (+30) 210 3225245 (int. 2)

Nikos Degleris, [email protected]

T. (+30) 210 3225245 (int. 112)



Demetrios Athanasoulis, Director

[email protected]

T. (+30) 210 3310039



Press release in various languages


About each Award winner:

Information and Jury’s comments

Videos (in high resolution)

Photos & e-banners (in high resolution)

Creative Europe website

Commissioner Gabriel’s website



The European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards were launched by the European Commission in 2002 and have been run by Europa Nostra ever since. The Awards scheme has the support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. For 20 years, the Awards have highlighted and disseminated heritage excellence and best practices, encouraged the cross-border exchange of knowledge and connected heritage stakeholders in wider networks. The Awards have brought major benefits to the winners, such as greater (inter)national exposure, follow-on funding and increased visitor numbers. In addition, the Awards have fostered a greater care for our shared heritage amongst Europe’s citizens. The Awards have therefore been a key tool to promote the multiple values of cultural and natural heritage for Europe’s society, economy and environment. For additional facts and figures about the Awards, please visit

Europa Nostra is the European voice of civil society committed to safeguarding and promoting cultural and natural heritage. It is a pan-European federation of heritage NGOs, supported by a wide network of public bodies, private companies and individuals, covering more than 40 countries. Founded in 1963, it is today recognised as the largest and the most representative heritage network in Europe, maintaining close relations with the European Union, the Council of Europe, UNESCO and other international bodies.

Europa Nostra campaigns to save Europe’s endangered monuments, sites and landscapes, in particular through the 7 Most Endangered Programme. It celebrates excellence through the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards. Europa Nostra actively contributes to the definition and implementation of European strategies and policies related to heritage, through a participatory dialogue with European Institutions and the coordination of the European Heritage Alliance.

Europa Nostra is among the official partners of the New European Bauhaus initiative developed by the European Commission, and is the Regional Co-Chair of the Climate Heritage Network for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Creative Europe is the EU programme that supports the cultural and creative sectors, enabling them to increase their contribution to Europe’s society, economy and living environment.  With a budget of €2.4 billion for 2021-2027, it supports organisations in the fields of heritage, performing arts, fine arts, interdisciplinary arts, publishing, film, TV, music, and video games as well as tens of thousands of artists, cultural and audiovisual professionals.

[1] The winners are listed alphabetically by country

[2] This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

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