Backround of the project

The two border Municipalities of Almopia and Novaci are characterized by rich landscapes and plenty of cultural and historical monuments, which can be enhanced and act as a key driver for the socio-economic development of the whole area. However, a great number of these places are not sufficiently documented and stay unexploited even though they have been characterized as particularly important by local and governmental authorities. Additionally, there is an apparent lack in the adoption of master plans and actions towards a coordinated and joint promotion of cultural and natural places and an even greater need for the restoration of places of historical interest. Thus, the main problem that the project tries to face is the exploration of the dynamics that natural and historical heritage concentrates and the promotion of them as a whole, since they constitute the hidden and more interesting characteristics of both areas.
At the same time, the increased interest in eco-tourism is a common truth in both countries and it appears as a still-running bet for economic development. Eco-tourism as much as cultural and religious tourism present to be a new trend in a worldwide level gaining popularity as tourists increasingly seek for alternative forms of tourism. In that manner, regions must recognise that potential actively in order for them to be competitive and offer innovative tourism products and services. Almopia is already a famous tourist destination, as the thermal paths of Loutra attract numerous visitors all year long. However, most of the visitors stay a short period of time without leaving the narrow boarders of the thermal baths because the springs are the only developed tourist place. There are plenty of other places of natural and cultural heritage in the area that have not been promoted as tourism destinations, though they present significant potentials to do so.
Likewise, in the area of Novaci, there is also an important concentration of historical and natural sites that can dynamically be transformed to valuable tourist attractions. These sites of both areas can become a significant asset and gain attractiveness by revealing their added value; by presenting them in a new light, combining the past with the present, promoting them by new means and most importantly by connecting them with the flowering concept of alternative tourism. Among others, the search of new ways of attracting over-regional attention is essential in order to strengthen the local economy. The local population of the two areas will benefit from the project, as it can reinforce the tourist economic development. The impact that the project will have to both areas is the documentation of the wealthy heritage they are gifted with -an essential tool for preservation- and the tourist interest they will collect.

Objectives of the project

The main objective of the project is the realization of common interventions by the partners in order to jointly raise the awareness on the historical and natural resources of the cross border area and present them in a form that can reinforce local-driven sustainable development. This will be mainly achieved through the documentation and exploration of the connection between the historical monuments, and between the natural sites of each area and the revealing of their dynamics as valuable attraction sites.
Specific objectives:

  • To address the need for coordinated actions that will valorise the monuments and natural places, by bringing them out to the public with new means of representation. This is mainly achieved through the involvement of artists and the creation of relative works of art.

  • To exploit the emergence of new technologies that will favour the presentation of the areas’ cultural heritage with the use of electronic data bases and applications.

  • To present new tourism products and enhance the fame of the involved areas as attractive destinations of alternative tourism by introducing historical and natural paths.

  • To enhance socio economic development of the area by safeguarding constant arrival of tourists fond of cultural/religious or eco-tourism.

  • To add value in the already precious, important but not well-known sites by enriching the means for their presentation.

  • To enhance cross border cooperation with emphasis on protection and representation of the cultural and natural heritage of both areas in an attempt to promote the diversities and similarities of the areas.

Expected outputs

The expected outputs of the project are the following:

  • One communication package for the promotion of the project and its objectives. Development of brochures, cds, banners, newsletters, press releases and videos.

  • Four project meetings

  • A project portal

  • One communication plan

  • Two open to the public conferences

  • Two field researches for the documentation of the historical monuments (one per country)

  • Two field researches for the documentation of the natural heritage places (one per country)

  • Four electronic data bases recording the information gathered through the field researches (uploaded to the portal).

  • Two residential programs and two groups of artists for the artistic representation of the defined places of interest

  • Twenty eight works of art produced during the two residential programs.

  • Three historical monuments restored in the Municipality of Novaci.

  • Signs for the paths.

  • Two digital exhibitions for the art pieces (one per country).

  • One electronic 3D application for the presentation of the most attractive places included in the paths.

  • Two multilingual tourist guides.

  • One project fulfilling the criteria of joint development/implementation/staffing and financing.

  • One project contributing to the enhancement of environment and natural and cultural resources.

Expected results

The project intends to result in contributing to the protection and promotion of both natural and historic heritage. The protection will arise from the documentation and the creation of a rich archive and by informing the local population and the visitors for the meaning of existance of these sites in the areas, as the history continuation they present just by their presence will become even clearer. The multifaceted promotion of the sites will result in strengthening the economic development in the two boarder areas. The means for these results involve art and new artistic ways of representation constituting an innovative way of promotion, as art has not be used widely as a way of promotion in the cross boarder area. This will add lasting value in the results.

Project structure

WP1 Management and Coordination

Action 1.1 Preparation Activities
Action 1.2 Project Management
Action 1.3 Progress meetings
Action 1.4 Verification of expenditures

WP2 Information and Publicity

Action 2.1 Dissemination Activities
Action 2.2 Project portal
Action 2.3 Communication plan
Action 2.4 Close out conferences

WP3 Inventory of historical and natural sites

Action 3.1 Documentation of historical sites
Action 3.2 Data base
Action 3.3 Documentation of natural sites
Action 3.4 Date base

WP4 Artistic Research and Presentation

Action 4.1 Constitution of groups of artists
Action 4.2 Creation of primary artistic material
Action 4.3 Representation and creation of original art pieces
Action 4.4 Development of a digital exhibition

WP5 Creation of the paths

Action 5.1 Development of historical and natural paths
Action 5.2 Restoration of monuments
Action 5.3 Establishment of the paths
Action 5.4 Electronic 3D application
Action 5.5 Development of tourist guides

Progress of the project

WP1 Management and Coordination

The 1st coordination meeting took place in Aridea on October 24th, 2013.
The 2nd meeting was held in Novaci on March 7th, 2014.
The 3rd meeting was held in Novaci on October 6th, 2014.
The final 4th meeting was held in Aridea in December 5th, 2014.

WP2 Information and Publicity

The communication plan was developed in October 2013.
The communication package was developed and the informative material is constantly being reproduced throughout the implementation of the project. It has already been updated twice. The portal was uploaded in May 2014.

WP3 Inventory of historical and natural sites
In Municipality of Novaci, the researches on historical and natural sites have been implemented.
The data bases are online in the url www.novaci.mk
In Municipality of Almopia, the tender competition that includes the researches has given a result in November 2014. That’s why, the researches has taken an extension in the timetable until april 2015.

WP4 Artistic Research and Presentation
The open invitations to artists have been published in April-May 2014. The residential program has been implemented in August 2014. The digital exhibition of Almopia is under development. The digital exhibition of Novaci is online in the url http://gaussinstitute.org/lhln/

WP5 Creation of the paths
The development of the paths is in progress in both Almopia and Novaci.
The restorations in Novaci have been implemented.