PARIS—The Historical and Cultural Museum-Reservation of Garni, along with the Palestinian cultural landscape of Battir are the winners of this year’s UNESCO Melina Mercouri International Prize for the Safeguarding and Management of Cultural Landscapes.
The prize will be awarded at a ceremony to be held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on May 24.
“In rewarding the management of Garni and Battir, UNESCO wishes to raise awareness of these sites’ beauty and importance, of their tangible and symbolic values, so as to help avert threats to their continued preservation,” said the Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova, endorsing the recommendation of an international jury.
The laureates will receive $15,000 each.
The Museum-Reservation of Garni covers a total area of 5.1 hectares in and around Garni Village, some 28 km East of Yerevan in the volcanic Armenia plateau of the Caucasus Mountains. It features a series of historical and architectural vestiges and buildings from the Bronze Age (Cyclopean walls), to Hellenic times (temples, bath-house), as well as early Christian elements.
The site has been recognized for measures taken to preserve its cultural vestiges, and the emphasis placed on efforts to interpret and open the site for national and international visitors. The jury also praised the integration of this work into the lives of local communities, encouraging social and economic development. Part of the site was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List as The Monastery of Geghard and the Upper Azat Valley in 2000.
Awarded every two years, the Melina Mercouri International Prize for the Safeguarding and Management of Cultural Landscapes (UNESCO-Greece) rewards outstanding examples of action to safeguard and enhance the world’s major cultural landscapes. It bears the name of the late Melina Mercouri, a precursor of integrated conservation and sustainable development, renowned actress and Minister of Culture of Greece.