Europa Nostra Awards
The European Commission has given one of its annual prestigious Europa Nostra awards the only one going to Germany this year to the Friends Organisation (Förderverein) of the Church Library of St Marys in Barth (NE Germany).
The library, located in the small town of Barth near the Baltic Sea and first mentioned in 1398, is one of the oldest parish libraries in Germany, certainly the oldest still existing in the exact same place where it was founded more than 600 years ago. Among its holdings are a dozen or so medieval manuscripts, ca 130 incunabula, and thousands of rare books, most of which have yet to be properly catalogued and will also require enormous conservation efforts. The gothic room where the books are kept was restored in the past couple of years with extraordinary support from the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Stiftung, Essen, and was reopened in March, 2013.
The components of this huge and complex project are the long 1st century BC Roman Bridge over the River Guadalquivir, the Puerta del Puente, a renaissance gate which had been transformed a century ago into a triumphal arch, and the Calahorra Tower, originally Moorish but adapted into a Christian stronghold in the 15th century.