Greece: “The Hermes Digitisation Project is an example to be followed in many cities”

The Ceremony for the digitisation project HERMES: Hermoupolis Digital Heritage Management, winner of an EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award 2015, was held at the 19th century Apollo Theatre in Hermoupolis on the island of Syros on 18 September 2015. It was a memorable evening for all 250 participants, including the 52 members, from 30 countries, of ICOMOS’ International Committee on Historic Towns and Villages, who gathered to honour this outstanding heritage accomplishment for Greece. Costa Carras, Vice-President of Europa Nostra, presented the award to Dr. Pavlos Chatzigrigoriou, project developer, and stated that “HERMES is an example to be followed in many national and international cities”.

2015 Local Award Ceremony for HERMES, Syros, Greece
“The rich neoclassical heritage of Hermoupolis, after a century especially difficult for Syros in particular and for Greece in general, is endangered, while the means for its conservation and valorisation are insufficient,” noted Costa Carras in his speech.

“However, there are infinite sources of inspiration and strength within the Hellenic tradition. These are the sources that have inspired Pavlos Chatzigrigoriou, who has passionately, meticulously and with remarkable belief, creativity and self-discipline, documented and digitised over 1,000 buildings that compose the neoclassical miracle of Hermoupolis. He has developed not just a mere database, but a complex system that actually monitors the progress of these buildings so that they can be methodically observed and saved from obsolescence and collapse. HERMES is an example to be applied in Hermoupolis and to be followed in many other cities both in Greece and internationally”, advocated the Vice-President of Europa Nostra.

In his acceptance speech, Dr. Chatzigrigoriou stressed the difficulties that both new and experienced researchers are facing in Greece, especially after the economic crisis. He mentioned the lack of meritocracy, the nepotism and the meager resources of the Greek Institutions. “This is why I thank the European Union and Europa Nostra most sincerely for recognising the importance and the real value of this research without knowing anything about the people behind it”, he stated.

The Mayor of Syros-Hermoupolis Georgios Maragos thanked Europa Nostra and the European Union for this prestigious award honouring the City of Hermoupolis and congratulated Pavlos Chatzigrigoriou on his sterling work.

Europa Nostra’s Vice-President Costa Carras gave a copy of the Award certificate to Professor Joseph Stefanou, President of the Syros Institute, the scientific organisation that helped in the development of HERMES. Professor Stefanou recounted when and how this innovative research started and highlighted the brilliant idea of Dr. Chatzigrigoriou, who is now the Manager Director of the Syros Institute.

The photographer Kandy Roussou, who also received a copy of the Award certificate, spoke about the challenge of photographing the HERMES project.

The ceremony ended with a wonderful performance by the Cyclades Orchestra conducted by the renowned Greek Maestro Nikos Kypourgos. The Orchestra played well-known songs of Chatzidakis and dedicated the last one, entitled ‘Eros is a Child’, to Pavlos Chatzigrigoriou.

A festive reception for all the attendees at the City Hall of Hermoupolis, designed by the Bavarian architect Ernest Ziller, followed the ceremony.

The event was streamed online and watched live by more than 400 people. It also received significant media coverage in the main national and regional media outlets.

Speech

Costa Carras

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