Press Releases


The Cathedral receives the european prize for cultural heritage

09/05/2003 The European Commission highlights the quality of the restoration with a special recognition.

09/05/2003 This morning, the restoration of Saint Mary´s Cathedral received the Europa Nostra Award, the most important European award for the conservation and improvement of Cultural Heritage. This distinction is sponsored by the European Union and it has been awarded from more than 300 proposals from 19 countries.

The Old Cathedral project has received one of the six medals with prize money of 10,000 Euros. This recognition, the greatest one granted by the European Union, goes to the best proposal in the six categories established. The renovation of Saint Mary´s has been distinguished in the study section for the quality of its Master Plan and the adaptation of the temple for new uses.

The jury of the Europa Nostra Awards justifies its decision because "the restoration of the Cathedral is conceived as a living process and the cultural, tourist, educational, urban, social and economic driving power of Vitoria-Gasteiz. In addition, it has become a revitalising instrument with multiple benefits for the city, and as a result of this, it is now a reference in the restoration of Cultural Heritage".

The general member for Alava, Ramón Rabanera, and the president of the Saint Mary´s Cathedral Foundation and provincial member for Public Works and Town Planning, Antonio Aguilar, received the award from Prince Lorenzo of Belgium in a ceremony held in Brussels.

The category of the Europa Nostra Awards is backed by the promoter of the awards, the European Union, and by the quality of the buildings and projects that have been given the award since 1978. At an international level we have the National Theatre of Prague, Windsor Castle, the Durham Cathedral in England, the Royal Opera House in London or the Belem Tower in Lisbon, among others.

The Europa Nostra awards are divided into three categories: diploma, medal and medal with special recognition. Since the first edition, Spanish Cultural Heritage has received 17 medals and 79 diplomas. However, Spanish projects had never been granted the maximum award, medal with special recognition, which the restoration project of Saint Mary´s Cathedral has now received.

The last two projects in Spain awarded with a medal are the Roman Circus of Tarragona in 1995 and the restoration of the Great Liceo Theatre in Barcelona in 2000, however the following also figure with identical recognition: the Alcalá de Henares University, the State Tourist Hotels or the Great Saint Mary´s Monastery in Palencia, among others. In 1982 Vitoria-Gasteiz received a diploma for the renovation of the Historic City Centre.