The cross-border region between Greece and the Republic of North Macedonia boasts centuries of history and a valuable cultural heritage with still untapped potentials in terms of tourist development and in relation to the employment opportunities in this sector. A precondition to increase the job opportunities in the cultural and tourist sector is to enhance the attractiveness of the main cultural and natural spots of the region. The project will boost the potentials of three important archaeological sites playing the role of “regional attractors” to increase the number of (local, cross-border and foreign) visitors in the region and in the surrounding areas. Starting from the physical renovation and from the improvement and innovation of the social/cultural and digital infrastructure of the Roman city of STOBI, located in the Vardar region, as well as the Classical/Hellenistic and Roman city of EUROPOS (the birthplace of Seleukos A’) and the Roman city of PALATIANO, located in the Axios and Gallikos (known as Echedoros in antiquity) rivers basins of the KILKIS region, the action will produce a wider impact addressing the main regional challenges: the lack of visibility among the potential visitors on the value of the sites; the weak connection between the archaeological sites and other surrounding interesting tourist spots; the poor services and facilities in the sites/museums located in the area which can have a job creation potential.
The project will pursue a MULTI-DIMENSIONAL APPROACH aiming to:
a) Enhance the quality of the CULTURAL OFFER of the three archaeological sites (Stobi, Europos, Palatiano), through various interventions, which will integrate the previously completed investments through different programs. Existing services will be renewed and new services will be created.
b) Create a physical (labels, guide pockets) and digital (web portal, mobile application) JOINT ROUTE connecting the three archaeological sites with cultural and natural spots to boost the tourist attractiveness of the Vardar/Axios area. Stobi will be inter-connected with the localities of Kavadarci (13 km), Veles (24 km) and Marvinci (62 km). Europos (birthplace of Seleukos A’, successor of Alexander the Great – founder of the Hellenistic kingdom of Seleucids), will be inter-connected with hellenistic tumuli (Toumba), prehistoric mounds and ancient cities in the Axios river valley,post-)byzantine churches, an ottoman bath (Polykastro), WW I military cemetery and battle fields (Skra, Polykastro), wineries and vineyards (Goumenissa), lake Pikrolimni, Skra waterfalls.
Palatiano will be inter-connected with the city of Kilkis (Archaeological Museum, cave, post-Byzantine St. George’s Church), Byzantine Castle (Gynaikokastro) and monuments (Kolchida), ancient cities of Morrylos and Vragylos, the Botanic Garden (Kroussia Mountains), the lake Doiran, the forest Hilia Dendra (Mouries), the WW I military cemeteries (Doirani).
c) Fostering the CROSS-BORDER VISIBILITY of the Vardar/Axios Route in order to increase the numbers of visitors who will cross the Greek-North Macedonia border to visit the variety of
locations exhisting in the area.
The project will directly target the following groups of beneficiaries: Local people, tourism professionals