U.S. Ambassador and Macedonian Minister of Culture Sign Grant for Cultural Preservation

Source: U.S. Embassy to Macedonia Website

U.S. Ambassador Gillian Milovanovic and Macedonian Minister of Culture Ilirjan Bekiri signed a grant agreement awarding nearly $27,000 to the Ministry of Culture for Preservation of the Megalithic Observatory Kokino in Staro Nagoricane near Kumanovo.  Support is made available through the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation. 

The one-year project will develop in three stages:  site preservation and promotion, astro-archeological research, and artifact preservation.  A team that includes experts from the Ministry of Culture, the National Institution Museum of Kumanovo, the Macedonian Research Society, and the Faculty of Archeology at Sts. Cyril and Methodius University will undertake the important effort to preserve and promote the site.

The grant appropriately benefits cultural preservation and scientific research in a year that follows the signing of the Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement by the United States and the Republic of Macedonia.  It follows as well NASA’s recognition of the Kokino site as the fourth most ancient observatory in the world.

The U.S. Congress established the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation in 2001. The program provides direct small-grant support to cultural preservation projects in developing countries.  The fund assists countries in preserving and maintaining their important national cultural heritage.  It underscores the US commitment to preserving our common heritage throughout the world by helping ensure that cultural riches are preserved for generations to come.  In 2006, the program awarded grants for 87 projects in 76 countries around the globe. 

This is the fifth year in which Macedonia has been awarded funds through this program.

Previous projects supported through the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation in Macedonia are:

Renovation and Adaptation of the “Hamm Am” Turkish bath in Tetovo.  After renovation, the building will serve as a public gallery.  Build in the 15th century, the bath is a significant example of Ottoman architecture in this western Macedonian city.
Preservation and Restoration of the Church of the Holy Savior (Sveti Spas) in Skopje.  Support from the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation made possible much needed restoration of the church roof and walls.  The Church of the Holy Savior is one of Macedonia’s most important and widely-visited historical and cultural monuments. 

— Archeological excavation of the Pre-Roman Forum at Stobi.  The city of Stobi, located in Macedonia’s Vardar Valley, with its roots in antiquity, grew in prosperity throughout the 1st and 2nd centuries CE.  The city contained buildings typical to most Roman cities at the time including a theatre, thermal baths, an aqueduct, temples and courthouses.

–Conservation and Restoration of the Public “Stoa” near Gevgelija.  The monumental building dates to 6th century BCE and is located in the ancient town at the site known as Vardarski Rid, in southern Macedonia. 

Through the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation, Department of State is helping eligible countries around the globe preserve historic sites and manuscripts, museum collections, and traditional forms of music, dance, and language. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs administers the Fund, established by Congress in 2001 to assist less-developed countries in preserving their cultural heritage.

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