Samstag, 5. März 2016

Project launched on promotion of Kokino as tourist destination

The megalithic observatory Kokino is going to be developed and promoted as a tourist destination in cooperation with the Aber 2015 local action group and with funds provided by USAID and the Swiss government.

To promote the site in north Macedonia, a new website has been designed, www.kokino.mk, a promo video will be filmed and a mobile app is in the works. Also, signs leading to the site will be installed and information tables will be erected.

The project aims at making the archaeo-astronomical site available and easily reachable for tourists, who can also find it online, while at the same time preserving its authenticity.

Kokino is considered by NASA as being one of the top 15 pre-historic observatories in the world.

Kokino, the only one of its kind in the Balkans, is visited annually by 10,000-20,000 tourists. However, this figure is overshadowed when compared to the number of people visiting similar observatories around the world, including Machu Picchu in Peru, Stonehenge in the UK and Angkor Wat in Cambodia, which ranges from 2 to 3 million per year.

Promoting the project on Friday, Minister of Culture Elizabeta Kanceska-Milevska said Kokino was considered ‘a capital project’ by the government and the Ministry of Culture.

“Measures are being taken to protect and promote this invaluable cultural heritage… The government has launched a 4-year project titled ‘Kokino – Macedonian Brand’ that covers complete rearrangement of the site and its area, construction of a center for visitors, an exhibition area, souvenir store, restaurant, etc.,” she said adding Ohrid in June would host an international conference on the archeological and astronomic aspects of Kokino.

Under a decision of the Macedonian government, Kokino has been declared a cultural heritage of exceptional importance. “I believe we will manage to promote the site Kokino and all of its beauties and potentials. I’m also convinced conditions will be created for sustainability of the site, while all project activities are expected to yield economic benefits for Macedonia,” Minister Kanceska-Milevska stressed saying she hoped Kokino would be put on the archeological and tourist map of the world.

Macedonia has also suggested the site be inscribed on the World Heritage Site list.

Lepa Krstevska, Director of the Agency for Promotion and Support of Tourism, said the megalithic observatory in Kokino was ‘unique’, not only as an astronomic site, but also as an archeological site where a myriad of artifacts had been unearthed dating from about the 19th century BC, corresponding to the early European Bronze Age.

Director of the USAID Macedonia Office Michael Stievater said the megalithic observatory was a perfect example for promoting the rich cultural and historical heritage of Macedonia.

“At the moment Kokino is visited by 10,000-20,000 people per year, which is good for a start, but a lot more can be done to increase the number of visitors,” stated Stievater.

The Museum of Kumanovo is in charge of preserving and promoting Kokino since it was discovered in 2001.

Recently, the museum in cooperation with the USAID project on expansion of small businesses and the Swiss government has designed an official website on Kokino. A mobile application is also being developed as an additional tool.

USAID and the Swiss government are also expected to donate funds for protective rails throughout the site and road signs showing the way to Kokino.

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