NATIONAL TRUST OF GEORGIA wins a prestigious Europa Nostra Award



Restoration of a medieval tower in mountainous Georgia, damaged by a
Russian missile, gets the European Heritage Award/ Europa Nostra Award


31 May, 2024 - The National Trust of Georgia, with The International National Trusts Organisation (INTO, UK), the lead partner, REMPART (France) and Association ‘Ducal Tower in Siedlecin’ (Poland), is proud to announce that the project ‘Citizens’ Rehabilitation of the Tsiskarauli Tower, Akhieli, Georgia’ was selected for Europe’s most prestigious award for heritage, the European Heritage Award / Europa Nostra Award 2024, co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. The project was commended by the European Commission and Europa Nostra on 30 May as one of 26 outstanding winners from 18 countries.

The medieval tower in Khevsureti was severely damaged by a Russian missile in 2001, during the Second Chechen war. In 2021-2023, the National Trust of Georgia set up a collaborative European project to restore the tower in a remote high-mountain region of Georgia. The complex project was successfully implemented thanks to the high commitment and excellent collaboration of British, French, Polish and Georgian partners, an experienced team of professionals, technical experts, local villagers, traditional craftspeople, and the tireless effort of 46 young Georgian and European volunteers.

Rehabilitation of the Tsiskarauli Tower was supported by a grant from ALIPH - the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas. Georgia benefitted with an amount of US$ 157,290, of which about US$ 34,000 went directly to the local community, actively involved in the project activities.

“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”, the Awards’ Jury commented, concluding: “The project has served as a catalyst for international cultural relations, peace, and trust building, demonstrating the power of heritage-led collaboration in overcoming conflict and rehabilitating local communities.”

While the project also focused on knowledge sharing and capacity building, the participants from different countries experienced one another’s intangible heritage, thus showing the peacebuilding capacity of collective restoration. The project has also raised the profile of volunteering in Georgia and provided sought-after opportunities for young citizens to engage with their heritage, fostering local pride and identity, and brought national and international attention to the remote mountain community of Georgia and enhanced its potential for future sustainable development.

“This was a collaborative European project in the field of safeguarding Georgian cultural heritage on a scale I have never seen before. Multiple benefits and impacts of this joint initiative are already tangible: through this project, we have strengthened the local community, have increased the potential of ecotourism in this remote region, and have put a solid international network of young volunteers in place. Through the extensive media coverage, we have raised awareness of the uniqueness of Georgia’s cultural heritage and importance of its protection, both within the country and internationally. I am convinced that the fully rehabilitated tower will continue to be a focal point around which new initiatives can flourish,” Marine Mizandari, Co-chair of the National Trust for Georgia commented.

Despite many challenges during the rehabilitation, including the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a major landslide, the Tsiskarauli Tower now carries a new, positive layer of history, marked by European collaboration. This short film (5 minutes) shows the project coming to fruition.

As part of the Europa Nostra Award, heritage supporters and enthusiasts are now encouraged vote online to decide who will win the Public Choice Award 2024, entitled to receive a monetary award of €10,000. You can cast your vote until 22 September.

The winners will be celebrated at the European Heritage Awards Ceremony 2024 on 7 October at the Romanian Athenaeum, in Bucharest, Romania, which recently received a European Heritage Label in recognition of its European significance. This high-profile event will be co-hosted by the European Commissioner Iliana Ivanova and Europa Nostra’s Executive President Hermann Parzinger. During the ceremony, the Grand Prix laureates and the Public Choice Award winner, chosen from among this year’s winners of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards and entitled to receive €10,000 each, will be announced.

The ceremony will be a highlight of the European Cultural Heritage Summit 2024 which will take place on 6-8 October in Bucharest under the high patronage of the President of Romania, H.E. Klaus Iohannis. The Summit, co-funded by the European Union, is organised by Europa Nostra in close cooperation with heritage organisations and partners, both public and private, in Romania.


European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards
The European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards were launched by the European Commission in 2002 and have been run by Europa Nostra ever since. For 22 years, the Awards have been a key tool to recognise and promote the multiple values of heritage for Europe’s society, economy and environment. The Awards have highlighted and disseminated heritage excellence and best practices in Europe, encouraged the cross-border exchange of knowledge and connected heritage stakeholders in wider networks. The Awards have brought major benefits to the winners, such as greater (inter)national exposure, additional funding and increased visitor numbers.

Europa Nostra
Europa Nostra is the European voice of civil society committed to safeguarding and promoting cultural and natural heritage. It is a pan-European federation of heritage NGOs, supported by a wide network of public bodies, private companies and individuals, covering over 40 countries. It is the largest and the most representative heritage network in Europe, maintaining close relations with the European Union, the Council of Europe, UNESCO and other international bodies. Founded in 1963, Europa Nostra celebrated its 60th anniversary last year.

Creative Europe
Creative Europe is the EU programme that supports the cultural and creative sectors, enabling them to increase their contribution to Europe’s society, economy and living environment. With a budget of €2.4 billion for 2021-2027, it supports organisations in the fields of heritage, performing arts, fine arts, interdisciplinary arts, publishing, film, TV, music, and video games as well as tens of thousands of artists, cultural and audiovisual professionals.

National Trust of Georgia
National Trust of Georgia champions the protection and preservation of the country’s rich cultural heritage. The trust provides practical support for the preservation of buildings and land, as well as encouraging heritage awareness within Georgia.

INTO brings the global National Trust family together to share knowledge and tools for the protection of cultural and natural heritage. With 100 members worldwide, we are a global movement of people who care about nature and culture and are inspired to celebrate and protect it. Our programmes and projects facilitate collaboration in the international heritage sector.


The National Trust of Georgia
Rusudan Panozishvili, Communication Consultant
+995 599 104043

Elena Bianchi, Awards Programme Manager,
+31 6 26 89 30 72
Joana Pinheiro, Communications Advisor
+31 6 34 36 59 85

Johanna Bernsel
+32 2 298 66 99

Email: for general enquiries or for press,
Ellie Oliver, Communications Manager


Press release in various languages
About each Award winner:
Information and Jury’s comments
Videos (in high resolution)
Photos & e-banners (in high resolution)