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30 Jan 13

Macedonia's Neglected Heritage Under Focus

A new exhibition in Skopje aims to highlight Macedonia's neglect of its cultural heritage - at a time when large sums of public money are being pumped into the 'Skopje 2014' project.

RSE, Dnevnik.mk Skopje

The exhibition, entitled "The state of cultural heritage 2012-2014", opened on January 29 at Culture and Information Centre in Skopje.

Some 50 photographs, selected by a citizens association, the Centre for Cultural Heritage, reveal "the inadequate, unprofessional, negligent and unethical" treatment of Macedonia's heritage, according to Donka Badzijeva Trajkovska, a university professor.

"The reason for this is not lack of funds, small budgets, or a lack of skilled employees," Trajkovska, who is also the president of the Centre for Cultural Heritage, said.

She added that the exhibition aims to present "the catastrophic negligence" of cultural heritage - at a time when large amounts of money are being invested in culture.

Such misplaced investments were "replacing the heritage that is clearly decaying in front of our own eyes", she lamented.

The exhibition is the result of research conducted on 58 individual objects and sites in Skopje, Ohrid, Bitola, Prilep, Prespa, Stip, Veles, Kumanovo and Kriva Palanka, and forms part of a project financed by the Open Society Foundation in Macedonia, FOOM.

The president of the Foundation, Vladimir Milcin, said the exhibition should appeal to the consciences of all its visitors, and remind them of their responsibility.

Macedonia's authentic heritage was "decaying and rotting while a false Baroque is built instead", he said, referring to the expensive government-funded "Skopje 2014" project, which aims to revamp the city largely in a mock-Baroque style.

The exhibition will remain open in Skopje only until February 1.

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