The Episkopi Monument, a Roman mausoleum converted into a Byzantine church on the Greek island of Sikinos, was among the award winners European Heritage Awards 2022 announced on Thursday by the European Commission and Europa Nostra.
Roman mausoleum EPISCOPI in the Middle Ages it was converted into a Byzantine church and remained almost intact. Careful research combined with careful conservation resulted in a high quality restoration project.
The awards are presented to 30 winners from 18 countries in 5 categories and they will be honored at the European Heritage Awards in Prague on 26 September. The Sikinos monument was awarded in the Conservation and Adaptive Reuse category.
The Episkopi monument was built in the 3rd century AD and later converted into a Byzantine church and has been in continuous use. The ancient monument was supplemented in the Middle Ages and in modern times, while all the additions remained almost untouched. The restoration project “combined meticulous research with careful conservation, resulting in a high-quality restoration project,” the award cited as saying.
After surviving devastating earthquakes and interventions, the monument was abandoned in the 20th century. The Ephorate of Antiquities of the Cyclades decided to restore it in 2016 and return it to public use. Private and regional foundations EU provided support, and during the restoration, valuable inscriptions and frescoes from the Roman and Byzantine eras were discovered. A hermetically sealed and intact grave of a higher-status woman named “Neiko” was also found.
The community of Sikinos supported the project and plans to celebrate the Assumption of the Virgin on August 15th.
“This project combined meticulous research with careful conservation resulting in a high quality restoration. The Episkopi Monument is a cultural landmark and pride of this small island community. Building materials were reused as much as possible, and new masonry was built from local stone. The combination of the architectural elements of the Roman mausoleum with the Byzantine church forms a unique monument that is simply amazing,” the jury said.