During the period 1-4 April 2021, delegation of the European Centre for Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Monuments, consisting of Dr. Flora Karagianni, Director of EKBMM, and Dr. Maria Mertzani, member of EKBMM’s Administration Board, Head of the Directorate of Conservation of Ancient and Modern Monuments of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, visited North Macedonia, in order to explore the possibilities of cooperation between the EKBMM and the Ministry of Culture of North Macedonia, in matters of restoration and conservation of Byzantine monuments. The delegation of the EKBMM was welcomed in Skopje by the Minister of Culture, Mrs. Irina Stefoska, who thanked the EKBMM representatives for their visit and expressed her interest and strong desire for cooperation in the issues of providing Greek expertise and training of staff in the conservation of frescoes.
During the meeting with the Minister of Culture, the conservation of the frescoes of the St. George’s Church in Kurbinovo, where the Ministry of Culture of North Macedonia has recently started restoration works, was particularly discussed. The Minister pointed out that Greece has rich experience in the restoration and conservation of Byzantine monuments and congratulated the EKBMM for its rich work in this field. She stressed the importance for North Macedonia of the preservation of monuments such as St. George in Kurbinovo, the Monastery of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Treskavats and the Cathedral of St. Sophia in Ohrid and invited the EKBMM to cooperate, aiming to signing a Memorandum of Cooperation between the two countries.
Afterwards, the delegation of the EKBMM, accompanied by colleagues from the Ministry of Culture of North Macedonia, visited museums and monuments of the country, such as the Archaeological Museum of Skopje, accompanied by the Director Mrs. Slavica Babamova, the Monastery of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Treskavac, accompanied by the Director of the Institute of Monuments and Museums in Bitola Mrs. Meri Stoyanova. The delegetaion also visited the Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Icons in Prilep, accompanied by the Director of the Institute of Monuments and Museums in Prilep Mr. Blagoj Atanasoski, the church of Agios Georgios in Kurbinovo, accompanied by Mr. Zoran Altiparzmanov, architect, Ms. Vesna Kocanknovska, architect, and Ms. Livera Makricvka, conservator. Furthermore, the delegation visited the Church of Prophet Elijah in Grnchari, the Archaeological Museum in Bitola, the archaeological site of Heraclea Lyncestis, the Icon Gallery, the churches of St. Bogorodica Perivlepta and Hagia Sophia in Ohrid, accompanied by Mrs. Meri Stoyanova and the Director of the Gallery Mr. Milco Georgievksi.
The President of the Administrative Board, Dr. Natalia Poulou, professor of Byzantine Archaeology, as well as its members express their satisfaction for the warm welcome of the delegation of EKBMM by the Minister of Culture of North Macedonia and declare their willingness to sign a memorandum of cooperation for the conservation of the frescoes of the church of Agios Georgios in Kurbinovo or any other Byzantine monument of the neighbouring country, which will be mutually agreed upon.