The International National Trusts Organisation (INTO)

And the Award goes to…

AnnouncementsBlogsINTO Projects May 30, 2024

Europa Nostra/ European Heritage Awards 2024

Citizens’ Rehabilitation of the Tsiskarauli Tower, Georgia

We are delighted to announce that a European Heritage Award / Europa Nostra Award has been given to our project restoring a medieval watch-tower in the Greater Caucasus mountain region of Khevsureti in Georgia!

This work has been a collaboration between INTO and a number of our members, the National Trust of GeorgiaREMPART in France, the National Trust and Chudow Castle Foundation in Poland. And it was generously funded by the Swiss foundation, ALIPH.

Congratulations to all 26 winners across 18 countries, including two other INTO members: The National Trust for its conservation of the Gideon Tapestries, Hardwick Hall and Boulouki – Travelling Workshop on Traditional Building, Greece. They all exemplify dynamism, diversity and innovation in efforts to safeguard and promote our rich heritage.

Our international team brought together people of different backgrounds, generations and cultures with one shared vision: To protect and honour the Tsiskarauli Tower. Citizens’ Rehabilitation of the Tsiskarauli Tower, Akhieli, Georgia is a truly European project, transcending borders and differences. It brings to life the values of INTO and the power of collaboration and partnership.

A catalyst for international cultural relations and trust building

We have not only safeguarded the physical structure of a medieval tower, however but also the stories, traditions and memories that breathe life into it. And the way that we have done it, in a spirit of solidarity, with volunteer muscle and community engagement, reminds us that heritage is not something that can be neatly parcelled into discrete national packages. The protection of our built, cultural and natural heritage depends on global co-operation.

As well as learning new skills in stonemasonry and path building, participants experienced one another’s cultural heritage as expressed in song, dance and food. This further cemented a sense of unity through shared endeavour. The restoration work has also raised the profile of volunteering in Georgia and provided sought-after opportunities for young people to engage with their heritage, building local pride and identity.

We are very proud to have supported the Tsiskarauli stabilization project in the high, remote mountains of Georgia. This initiative, led by INTO together with the National Trust of Georgia and Rempart, showcases how a common project can result in a sum greater than its parts. The energy of the European and Georgian volunteers working alongside Georgian and international heritage professionals on the stabilization of the tower is truly remarkable. This project is an inspiring model for community-led initiatives and the inclusion of young people to preserve heritage at risk.
- ALIPH Foundation

How to vote

1. Visit the Europa Nostra website
2. Choose your top 3 favourite projects in order of preference (the first receives 3 points, the second 2 points, and the third 1 point)
3. Confirm the vote in your email (without this confirmation, the vote will not be counted)

Vote here
The power of heritage-led collaboration

Alongside the tower’s stabilisation, a large focus of this project was knowledge sharing and capacity building within the National Trust of Georgia. Over two secondments in France and the UK, the staff of the National Trust of Georgia learnt from English and French models of volunteerism, and about the stewardship of remote heritage sites.

Tsiskarauli now welcomes tourists who seek to understand this region’s multi-layered history via a new walking route. They can read about the tower’s history on interpretative panels, see the remains of the Russian missile, learn of its restoration, and explore the surrounding villages.

More than just bricks and mortar

The project faced many challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a major landslide. But we’ve shown that when we work together, we can overcome any obstacle and create lasting positive change.

We are deeply grateful to everyone involved in the work, but particularly the volunteers and community members. And we are thankful for the Award as it enables Tsiskarauli continue to shine as a beacon of hope for a better, more peaceful world.

You can read more in our press release here.

The Citizens’ Rehabilitation of the Tsiskarauli Tower embodies excellence in heritage conservation through a holistic approach, integrating the restoration of built heritage, community engagement, international collaboration, and capacity-building, following the severe damage to the monument caused by a Russian missile fired during the Second Chechen war. Engaging in a broader network and consortium, the project provided a platform for the exchange of knowledge and culture.
- Awards Jury

More information and how to vote!