25 years of existence (1998 – 2023) – Association “Makedonida”

June 10, 2023 во 6:22 pm

25 years of existence (1998 – 2023) – Association “Makedonida”

Vladimir Tanevski MA, Art Historian and Gordana Velkov, Art Historian


The history of the Makedonida association begins in 1998 with the implementation of the “One school – one monument” project, the purpose of which was to bring cultural heritage into the education of young generations with the aim of raising awareness of the importance, protection and presentation of cultural heritage in the Republic of Macedonia. This project proved to be extremely successful and enabled Makedonida to grow into a significant international non-governmental organization in the field of cultural heritage at the regional and European level. In the past 25 years, the association has actively participated in the protection, promotion and education of cultural heritage of Macedonia in the country and abroad.

The first project of the association is the project “One school – one monument is a project” implemented all over Macedonia in the period from 1998 to 2009 in partnership with the Council of Europe and the Napoli Novantanove Foundation from Naples, which actually donated the project to Makedonida. The project was developed with the support of the World Monuments Fund from New York (World Monuments Fund), the Open Society Foundation – Macedonia, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Macedonia and the City of Skopje. The goal of the project was to include the monumental cultural heritage in the education of the young generation in Macedonia. Twenty schools from Skopje, Kumanovo, Shtip, Bitola, Prilep, Ohrid, Kichevo and Makedonski Brod “adopted” cultural monuments in their surroundings. Makedonida organized several training seminars for the teachers involved in the project with the help of manuals with a specially prepared educational program and educational materials in Macedonian and Albanian. The network of teachers, professors and students reached up to 800 participants. The students, assisted by the teachers, were initiated to the creative reproduction of the contents offered by the monuments, ie their historical, artistic, architectural and ambient cultural values. The results of several hundred students involved in the project were shown at exhibitions, presentations prepared and performed by students, at theater performances and at other activities in schools and outside of them, near the “adopted” monuments. Within the project in the monastery of St. Joakim Osogovski, two cultural heritage classes were organized in which students, teachers and experts from: Macedonia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, Moldova, Italy and France participated. The results of the activities of the cultural heritage classes were shown at an exhibition in the Council of Europe in 2001, also the results of the project were shown on several occasions through seminars in: Macedonia, Bulgaria and Serbia. With the help of the association Makedonida and the Council of Europe, the project was also implemented in Serbia in the period from 2001-2004. After the successful implementation of the project “One school – one monument” in Macedonia and in the neighboring countries, Makedonida transferred all rights and educational materials for further implementation of the project to the Ministry of Education and Science of Macedonia. With its program and work, the Makedonida Association became a pioneer in Macedonia for the networking of civil society in international networks and organizations that worked on the protection and presentation of cultural heritage. It also became well known for the inclusion of Macedonian institutions for the protection and development of valorization with international experts at both independent/non-governmental and academic level. As a result of the great contribution to building awareness of the importance of cultural monuments through education in the educational system, the association received a grant from the Prince of Liechtenstein and membership in the international organization Europa Nostra based in The Hague.

The Makedonida association is still best known for the edition of guide books dedicated to the most valuable cultural heritage of Macedonia – the Macedonian churches and monasteries.

The first such book was published in 1998 – “Seven monuments of culture in Skopje and Skopje” (https://makedonida.org/kategorija/knigi/) and covers the following monuments: the church of St. Panteleimon – Nerezi, the church of St. Nicetas– Banjani, the church of St. Andreja – Matka, the church of St. Demetrius – Markov Monastery, Mustafa Pasha Mosque – Skopje, Kurshumli-an – Skopje and the Church of Saint Spas – Skopje. The authors are: Elizabeta Dimitrova, Snezhana Filipova, Gordana Velkov and Veneta Iljovska. The book is also published in English and in French. The English edition was published with the support of the late Richard H. Driehaus from Chicago. The French edition was published with the support of the former French Ambassador in Macedonia, Jean-Claude Schlumberger.

Furthermore, in 2014, the book “Seven Medieval Churches in the Republic of Macedonia” was published (https://makedonida.org/kategorija/knigi/), which includes the following monuments: the church of St. Sofia – Ohrid, the church of St. Panteleimon – Nerezi, the church of St. George – Kurbinovo, the church of the Holy Virgin Perivlepta – Ohrid, the church of St. George – Staro Nagorichino, the Church of St. Nicetas– Banjani and the church of St. Archangel Michael – Lesnovo. The authors are: Elizabeta Dimitrova and Gordana Velkov.

In 2019, the book “Seven churches in the region of Pelagonia, Mariovo and Prespa” was published (https://makedonida.org/kategorija/knigi/) in which: St. George Kurbinovo, St. Nicholas v. Monastery, St. Archangel Michael Varosh – Prilep, St. Nicholas Varos – Prilep, Treskavec, Zrze Monastery and Mother of God in the Slivnica monastery. The authors are: Elizabeta Dimitrova, Philip Nivoner, Risto Paligora and Gordana Velkov.

In 2021, the book “Seven Churches in Ohrid” was published (https://makedonida.org/kategorija/knigi/) in which the following are discussed: Monastery of St. Naum, St. Sofia, St. Mother of God Perivlepta, St. John the Theologian – Kaneo, the two churches from the Hospital neighborhood, Mali Sveti Vrachi and St. Constantine and Elena. The authors are: Elizabeta Dimitrova, Gordana Velkov and Ivona Panjak Pineva.

All tree editions were published with the generous support of the late Richard H. Driehause from Chicago.

Professional teams from the association Makedonida participated in various projects for the protection and conservation of the cultural and historical heritage. In 2003, the association Makedonida was part of the project “Research and conservation of the cave church dedicated to Archangel Michael in the village of Radozhda”, in cooperation with the World Monuments Fund from New York and the National Conservation Center of R. Macedonia. During this project fresco paintings dating back to the 13th century were discovered.  In 2004, the documentary film “The Cave Church dedicated to Archangel Michael in Radozhda” was published, published only in English and sponsored by the World Monuments Fund. In 2005, the association Makedonida was the holder of the project for the conservation of the fresco paintings in the church of St. Mother of God in the Slivnica monastery, and this project was in cooperation with the World Monuments Fund from New York. As a result of the protection and conservation activities undertaken, books were published in Macedonian and English. These activities of the association Makedonida brought recognition as the association of the year 2005 by the organization Europa Nostra. Cooperation with the Directorate for Protection of Cultural Heritage, the national conservation centers in the direction of expertise, consultations, logistics in cooperation with international academies, institutions and diplomats has continued to this day. Membership in international networks brought to Makedonida numerous participations in international conferences and seminars for the protection and presentation of the cultural heritage of Macedonia in front of numerous academic scenes and cultural institutions.

In 2006, during the Fulbright stay of the chairman Dr. Pance Velkov in the USA, numerous lectures were organized accompanied by exhibitions of author’s photographs of the medieval cultural heritage of Macedonia. We would single out: the lecture at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, the Dumbarton Oaks Institute in Washington and many others. These presentations enabled support and collaboration with the National Trust in America.

In 2009, the Makedonida association, in cooperation with the city of Genoa and the regional library of Liguria in Genoa Berio, organized an exhibition of photographs and reproductions from the collection of the oldest manuscripts in Macedonia owned by the “University Library of St. Clement of Ohrid”. In the same year, Makedonida organized an exhibition and presentation of the cultural heritage of Macedonia in the city of Montevideo in the Republic of Uruguay, and in 2012, which in return organized in Skopje an exhibition of the artists Enrique Badeo and Alessandra Gadea in the Museum of the City of Skopje.

In 2012, Makedonida became a member of another international network FRH (Future for Religious Heritage) based in Paris under the auspices of the Council of Europe. As part of the activities, the association Macedonida participated in the statistical project on religions and religious groups in the territory of Macedonia.

In 2011, the association Makedonida published another documentary film entitled “Preserving the Sacred Cultural Heritage in the Republic of Macedonia”, sponsored by the Richard Driehaus Foundation from Chicago.

Since 2016, the Association “Macedonida” has been implementing the project “Macedonian frescoes – Masko 360”, in cooperation with prof. Dr. Philip Niwoner from the Faculty of Christian Archeology and Byzantine Art History at the University of Göttingen, Germany, with the support of the German Max Planck Institute and the Directorate for Protection of Cultural Heritage. The students from Göttingen produced rich photo documentation that was exhibited several times throughout Europe (University of Munich, etc.) and Macedonia (Bitola and Skopje). The project was aimed at encouraging the institutions for the protection of the Church of St. George in the village of Krubinovo.

These activities of the association contributed to the publication of an article in the prestigious newspaper/magazine “New York Times” in 2019, which deals with the significance, but also the problems of the protection of the Church of St. George in the village of Kurbinovo.(https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/15/world/europe/macedonia-church-of-st-george-restoration.html). In 2018, at the seminar dedicated to valorization of the church of St. George in Kurbinovo, Prespa in Macedonia, on September 28, in Skopje, the latest documentary film by Makedonida was shown – “Church of St. George in Kurbinovo – History, cultural significance and conservation” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSl3juiRmOM), sponsored by the Office of the European Union in Skopje.

Since 2020, the association Makedonida has been working on the project “Register of medieval churches in the Ohrid region”, during the field activities 28 medieval churches were recorded, the data collected will be published on the website this year. The team working on this project is: prof. Panche Velkov (leader of the project), prof. Elizabeta Dimitrova, Misko Tutkovski PhD, V. Tanevski MA and Gordana Velkov. Furthermore, we plan to expand this project to other areas in the country, creating a register that will be accessible to everyone, and promotion of the cultural heritage in Macedonia.

The association “Macedonida” also promotes young artists from Macedonia, and connects them with artists from other countries of the world, exchanging experiences and artistic creativity. From August 14 to September 1, 2019 in Skopje, the association Makedonida organized an artistic residency on the theme: “Touch the space”. This is the first artistic residency on Macedonian territory in which artists from South America and from our country participate, namely: Francisco Tomšić (Uruguay, Slovenia), Julieta Ortiz de Latiero (Argentina), Tatjana Kočmyr (Argentina, Slovenia), Augusto Gadea (Uruguay) and George Jovanovic (Skopje), Vladimir Lukas (Skopje). The curator of the project was Gordana Velkov, and Henrike von Dewitz from Germany took care of filming and documentation of the residency. Artists from Sardinia in the period from 18 September 2022 to 02 October 2022 stayed in the art residence of the association Makedonida, st. Atinska 2, Skopje, where they made their works and on 01 October 2022 they were shown at the final work exhibition in the premises of the residence. Also, the Macedonian artists from Skopje in the period from 02 to 16 October 2022 stayed in the art residence of the Ottovolante Sulcis association, Sardinia and on 15 October they presented their works of art in the City Gallery at the municipality of Sant’Antioco. Participants of this art residency were: Chiara Alexandra Young, Marco Manconi and Davide Mariani from Sardina, and Zoran Shekerov, Lina Damjan and Ana Spasova from Skopje.

During its existence, the Makedonida association has received a large number of awards, among which in September 2021 Future for Religious Heritage – Europe (FRH) declared the Association for Pedagogy, Promotion and Protection of Cultural Heritage “Macedonida” as the organization of the month. Association “Macedonida” cooperates with almost all institutions in Macedonia, including MOC – OA, and other non-governmental organizations. All of Makedonida’s projects are realized in cooperation with foreign partners. The cooperation and support of important international organizations is of key knowledge for the survival and successful functioning of our organization. We will mention primarily the Council of Europe, the World Fund for the Protection of Monuments from New York, the businessman and philanthropist Richard H. Driehaus from Chicago, the association Europa Nostra, ICOMOS and the association FRH – Future for Religious Heritage. Finally, we would like to thank all our collaborators, who were part of this association. We will continue with our activities in new successes and new projects, open to cooperation with all the interested domestic and international partners.


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