Greece: Ceremony for the Restoration of Latishi Plateau’s Windmills with perforated sails’s held

The Local Award Ceremony for the research project for the Restoration of Lasithi Plateau’s Windmills with Perforated Sails in Crete, Greece, winner of a EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award 2015, took place on 3 October 2015. Europa Nostra’s Vice-President Costa Carras presented the award to the project’s leader George Chatzakis, in front of an audience of 150 people.

The Prefect of Crete Stavros Arnaoutakis, the Deputy Prefect Virginia Manasaki, the Mayor of Lasithi Plateau Yannis Stephanakis, the Mayor of Chersonissos Yannis Mastorakis, Regional and Municipal Councilors, representatives from heritage organisations and citizens of the Plateau region participated in the festive event.

Restoration of Lasithi Plateau’s Windmills with Perforated Sails, Crete, GREECE
The beginning of the award ceremony was particularly touching with journalist George Tsichlakis stating that “every place has characteristic symbols, can you imagine Paris without the Eiffel Tower, London without the Big Ben, Athens without the Acropolis or the Lasithi Plateau without its windmills?” The coordinator of the ceremony added it is therefore imperative to ensure their restoration.

This is what the mechanical engineer George Chatzakis has worked on so hard for years and has been rewarded for by receiving Europe’s most prestigious heritage award. “The challenge for us all is now to ensure the implementation of the programme to rehabilitate the entire wind farm on a larger scale,” stated George Chatzakis.
In his address, the Prefect of Crete congratulated George Chatzakis on the award and stressed the commitment of the Region to proceed together with the municipality in the restoration-reconstruction of the first ancient wind farm which will help “promoting traditional culture, tourism, local development and economy, while providing incentives to the young generation to stay”. The statement of the Mayor of Lasithi Plateau conveyed a similar message.

Europa Nostra’s Vice-President Costa Carras described how “today, like in all award ceremonies, two different narratives blend into one: the first recounts the gradual recognition by the European institutions of the need to promote cultural heritage and sustainability as central elements of European identity while the second is composed of equally moving stories of how diverse cultural and environmental challenges were successful overcome. Surely we are talking about such a situation in today’s ceremony”.

The event ended on a positive note leaving feelings of optimism and hope for the implementation of George Chatzakis’ proposal concerning the restoration of the oldest wind farm in the world. Following the speeches, the public was invited to a buffet offering rich local dishes and room for dialogue and discussion.

This was followed by a visit to the site where the pilot project of perforated sails was implemented in 20 restored windmills, and concluded by a visit to the local folklore Museum of the Lassithi Plateau region.

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