The Constitution of 3 May, Gdańsk Shipyard and monuments from the times of the Union of Lublin were among the 16 winners of European Heritage Label status, which is awarded to heritage sites that celebrate and symbolise European integration, ideals, and history.
The distinction – as the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage reports – is to reinforce the affiliation of European citizens, especially of the youth, to the European Union. The label emphasises the symbolic value of objects that have played an important role in Europe’s culture and history.
The awards ceremony, which took place in Brussels’ Solvay Library, was attended by the laureates (or their representatives), members of the European Label expert panel, representatives of cultural departments of EU countries and members of the European Parliament.
The Constitution of 3 May from 1791 is the world’s second oldest constitution, after the U.S., and Europe’s oldest. Drafted by the Great Sejm (1788-1792) and formally adopted as the Government Act, the document was designed to redress the Commonwealth's political defects. The act introduced constitutional monarchy, acknowledged the Roman Catholic faith as the "dominant religion" but guaranteed tolerance and freedom to all religions, and introduced separation and balance of power between three branches: legislative, executive and judicial.
The awarded Gdańsk Shipyard is a group of historical objects dating back to the days of the Solidarity movement, e.g. "Sala BHP", Gate no. 2 and Plac Solidarności (Solidarność Square) with its Monument to the fallen Shipyard Workers, the wall and inscription boards and the European Centre of Solidarity.
Lublin’s monuments from the times of Union of Lublin, the St. Stanisław’s Church and the Dominican monastery, St. Trinity’s Church and the monument of the Union of Lublin, were also distinguished with the label.
The European Commission decides which of Europe’s monuments deserves the European Heritage Label distinction. A European panel of experts – an international ensemble constituted by the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, the European Commission and the Committee of Regions – published a report with their recommendations in December 2014.
The terms and procedures regarding the domestic selection of the European Heritage Label sites were set up by a committee including the former Minister of Culture, Bogdan Zdrojewski, back in 2012. The committee recommends the candidates for the special award and it supervises the objects which have already been awarded.
This year the European Commission received 36 nominations from 18 EU countries, and 16 were awarded with the label. Poland was the only country honoured with three awards.
Source: PAP, ec.europa.eu, edit. KK, transl. Agata Dudek, 17/04/15.