Serbia: Conservation study of Village Gostuša receives European Heritage Award on 31/08

The Conservation Study of the Village Gostuša in Pirot District in Serbia, a Grand Prix winner of the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award 2016, Europe’s highest honour in the field, will be celebrated on 28-31 August with various events. The programme features guided tours of the village of Gostuša and the city of Pirot, lectures and workshops and an Award Ceremony. More than a hundred of heritage and cultural professionals, volunteers and supporters, and several representatives from regional, national and European institutions, will gather to celebrate this remarkable heritage achievement from Serbia.

Conservation study of the village Gostusa in Pirot, SERBIAGuided tours of Gostuša and surrounding areas will take place on 28 August. A series of workshops and lectures on key topics related to the award-winning Conservation Study will be held on 29-30 August in Gostuša with the participation of experts from the Institute for Cultural Heritage Preservation, the Institute for Natural Heritage Conservation, the Ministry of Civil Engineering, Transport and Infrastructure, the Tourism Organisation of Serbia, the Tourism Organisation of Pirot, NGOs and the University of Niš as well as local authorities and representatives from the local community.

The Award Ceremony for the Conservation Study of the Village Gostuša will take place at the Cultural Centre of Pirot on 31 August (12:00). Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary General of Europa Nostra, Europe’s leading heritage organisation, a top-level representative from  the European Union Delegation to Serbia, Elena Vasić Petrović, Director of the Institute for Cultural Heritage Preservation Niš and author of the award-winning research project, and Vladan Vasić, Mayor of Pirot, will address the audience.

Prior to the presentation of the Grand Prix, Elena Vasić Petrović and Ivana Cvetković, Associate at Institute for Cultural Heritage Preservation Niš, will talk about the award-winning project and the outcomes of the workshops held the previous days. Višnja Kisić, Secretary General of Europa Nostra Serbia, will present the key findings of the European policy Report ‘Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe’. This extensive Report – recently produced by Europa Nostra together with five partners – provides compelling evidence of the value of heritage and its positive impact on Europe’s economy, culture, and society, as well as the environment. The programme will end with the opening of the exhibition ‘Gostuša Village’ and a guided tour of the city of Pirot.

The Conservation Study of the Village Gostuša was declared a Grand Prix laureate and received €10,000 at the European Heritage Awards Ceremony held on 24 May 2016 at the Zarzuela Theatre in Madrid, Spain. This major event was co-hosted by Maestro Plácido Domingo, President of Europa Nostra, and Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport.

“The conservation study of endangered vernacular architecture in this small but unique mountain village is a testament to the accomplished work and high standard of conservation which can be achieved with firm commitment and determination in spite of a limited budget. The research for the conservation work was remarkably thorough and was conducted with vision and a clear action plan”, said the Awards Jury of this research project which was financed by the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia.

The researchers carried out an architectural survey on each building and produced detailed and comprehensive documentation regarding the architecture and construction techniques used in each individual structure. The study had a compelling educational element with a strong engagement from students in the relevant fields. The project coordinators were committed to clarifying the importance of the restoration works to the local community and were intent on involving and educating the village’s inhabitants in each aspect of the project. The completion of the study and building renovations has resulted in an enthusiasm for heritage among local people and an improvement in their rural lifestyle. The project is of international significance and is already acting as an influential example of good practice thanks to the researchers’ contribution to international conferences and their perseverance in gaining recognition for the village of Gostuša and its surrounding landscape.

“The intention of the team to re-use the former government buildings as cultural centres which could potentially encourage tourism to the area and revitalise the village is a valuable aspect of this project”, the Jury noted. The Awards Jury found “the methodology and the approach to raising awareness of this village to be extraordinarily well done”. While the protection of the vernacular architecture is apparent, the study went beyond these material factors in boosting the cultural identity of the area and providing new potential for social and economic growth in this special region. The project should be regarded as an admirable example of the influence of good research and conservation.

The ceremony in Pirot is organised by the Institute for Cultural Heritage Preservation Niš and the City of Pirot, in collaboration with European Commission and Europa Nostra and with the kind support of the Cultural Centre of Pirot, the Tourism Organisation of Pirot and the Foundation Architect Aleksandar Radović.

Press Release


Višnja Kisić
Secretary General Europa Nostra Serbia
+381 63 68 66 47

Joana Pinheiro
Communications Officer Europa Nostra
+31 70 302 40 55

Elena Vasić Petrović
Director of the Institute for Cultural Heritage Preservation
+381 62 80 22 674

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