Press Releases


The Cathedral, protected by the World Monuments Fund

10/10/06 This Fund has donated 100,000 dollars and is going to contribute to the project’s dissemination activities.

Vitoria-Gasteiz, 6 October 2006. Once again, the Santa Maria Cathedral restoration project has garnered international recognition. The World Monuments Fund, a North American organisation long considered the largest private patron organisation in the world dedicated to the preservation of cultural heritage, has donated $100,000 in honour of its “exceptional value”. The donation will go towards restoring the polychrome on the church´s portico.

The World Monuments Fund´s involvement with the Catedral Vieja (Old Catedral) project came about as the result of the Encuentros Internacionales sobre Rehabilitación (International Meetings on Restoration) organised by the Municipal Agency for Urban Restoration in Vitoria-Gasteiz one year ago. Pablo Longoria, consultant for the World Monuments Fund Spain, attended these meetings and was fascinated not only by the restoration´s scientific rigour, but also by the project´s unique willingness to share this process with the public by offering guided tours.

The main criterion used to select the funding recipients is artistic or architectural excellence of the place undergoing restoration. Second, the possibility of a long-term cooperative relationship with a matching institution or sponsor is considered. Likewise, projects with an emphasis on innovation that could serve as problem-solving models for cultural heritage preservation are considered to be of special interest as well.

World Monuments Fund
Founded in 1965, the World Monuments Fund is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation located in New York (United States). It works with both the public and private sectors to protect and preserve cultural heritage locations throughout the entire world that are home to important artistic and architectural works.

One of these locations is Caral, the oldest city in the Americas, whose splendour is on par with that of the Egyptian pyramids, the Valley of the Kings near Thebes (Egypt), the ruins of Petra (Jordan), the Roman ruins of Pompeii (Italy), Shackleton´s wooden hut in Antarctica or an adobe mosque in Ghana (Africa).

The “Robert W. Wilson Challenge to Conserve Our Heritage” programme, which encompasses the Santa Maria Cathedral restoration, began in 1997. It became official in 2001 in order to obtain increased funding for field projects.

Among those present at the recognition ceremony, held in the Reception Hall of the Vitoria-Gasteiz Town Hall, were: Mayor Alfonso Alonso; Gonzalo Arroita, manager of the Santa Maria Cathedral Foundation; and Norma Barbacci, World Monuments Fund project director for Spain, Portugal and South America. After the ceremony, the attendees visited the Santa Maria Cathedral restoration site, paying special attention to the portico and the 11th century medieval wall, whose guided tour will open next Monday, 16 October.