News from the project “SMART-CUL-TOUR”, implemented under the 2nd call for proposals of the IPA CBC Programme North Macedonia – Albania 2014-2020

Project name: “SMART-CUL-TOUR”.

Lead applicant: Municipality of Bitola (MK)

Co-applicants: Municipality of Pustec (AL); National Institution for Protection of Cultural Monuments and Museum Bitola (MK); Regional Culture Directorate Korca (AL); Youth Cultural Center Bitola (MK).


Location: Pelagonija and Korce cross-border region


Smart-Cul-Tour partnership is an accelerator which encourages tourism, promotes and protects cultural and natural heritage, fosters cooperation between members of communities in the cross-border region, initiates exchange of knowledge and experience, with the aim of ensuring a balanced and sustainable socio-economic development in the cross-border region of Pelagonija and Korca. The project affects the protection and promotion of cultural heritage in the region and initiates cooperation between various entities, especially in the field of culture and tourism. Furthermore, it contributes to raising public awareness of the values of cultural and natural heritage, improves and increases their capacity, as well as accessibility for different target groups, especially people with disabilities. Cultural heritage is an expression of the ways of living developed by a community and passed on from generation to generation, including customs, values, places, objects and artistic expressions. Culture and cultural heritage reflect and shape beliefs, values and aspirations, thus defining people’s identity. It is important to preserve our cultural heritage, because it maintains our integrity as a nation (s).

The infrastructural elements of the Smart-Cul-Tour:

  • Reconstruction of the existing old school building and establishment of a museum in honour of the writer Sterjo Spasse in the village Globocani, Municipality of Pustec.

Sterjo Spasse is one of the most important Albanian writers, of Macedonian origin, in modern Albanian literature at the end of the 20th century and author of several novels and short stories. Sterjo fought for the use of a standardized variety of literary language in school curriculum, in newspapers and on the radio, he fought for a unified primer, he was a missionary of progress, especially in the countryside. In his honour, the old school building in the village Globocani, his native town, has grown into a representative space. In addition to the museum exhibition of Sterjo Spasse’s personal belongings, it is also a multiple purpose hall used for conferences, trainings; a venue for cultural and other events. Moreover, visitors are offered an opportunity to have special experience through virtual reality with equipment offered by the museum itself and augmented reality at 2 points in the museum that can be experienced using their own smart device (phone, tablet …).

  • Reconstruction/improvement of the infrastructure in the archaeological site Heraclea Lyncestis, in Bitola.

In addition, construction works have been carried out in the archaeological site itself in order to increase its accessibility and improve its offer. The implementation of these developments was supervised by the NI “Institute and Museum” – Bitola. Visitor-monitoring units have been set up at the entrance of the site, which enables the museum to maintain accurate records of the visitors of Heraclea. The path which leads from the site entrance to the ancient theater has been paved with stone. A lift and an incline ramp have been installed next to the path to facilitate the access of disabled people to the theater, which was impossible until now. The path is illuminated with photovoltaic lamps along its entire length. The lookout-terrace opposite the theatre has been reconstructed and now it offers an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the entire site. Visitors have the opportunity to relax and refresh. This space is equipped with benches, tables and chairs. From the terrace, you can enter the museum exhibition, which has been equipped with new cabinets and pedestal display cases and the exhibits have been reorganized. In order to utilise the theatre space better and take advantage of its versatile use, appropriate practical solutions have been applied to construct a stage of maximum area of 100m2. In particular, the damaged concrete base has been covered, which now enables the organization of events in which numerous folklore groups participate. The offer also includes inventive digital solutions, i.e. visitors have the opportunity to access a multilingual guide by using the application on their smartphones. Another novelty at the archaeological site is the possibility for visitors to have a unique experience at the ancient theatre through virtual reality with the equipment offered by the site and the augmented reality from 3 points at the site by using their own smart device (phone, tablet …).

  • Reconstruction of the access street, the so-called “Roman road”, including the pedestrian path to the archaeological site Heraclea Lyncestis in Bitola.

The dilapidated and damaged asphalt pavement has been removed and replaced with granite stones. On the right side, a pedestrian path of finer granite stones has also been built along the carriageway to access the site. It is illuminated with photovoltaic lamps along its entire length, to the entrance of the site of Heraclea Lyncestis. In this way, the so-called Roman Road, which is essentially a section of the former Via Egnatia, looks authentic and provides convenient access to the Heraclea Lyncestis archaeological site.

  • Establishment of a permanent exhibition at the Museum “Sterjo Spasse” in the village Globocani, Municipality of Pustec;
  • Renovated museum exhibition space and souvenir shop at the Heraclea Lyncestis archaeological site
  • Development of a multilingual audio guide for the archaeological site of Heraclea Lyncestis
  • Development and commissioning of appropriate equipment for virtual and augmented reality for the archaeological site Heraclea Lyncestis and the museum of Sterjo Spasse in Globocani;
  • Development, promotion and sale of integrated package tours of cross-border character;

News from the project “Flood Prevention for Environment Protection”, implemented under the 2nd call for proposals of the IPA CBC Programme North Macedonia – Albania 2014-2020

Project name: Flood Prevention for Environment Protection”.

Lead applicant: Association Center for Civic Initiative Prilep (MK);

Co- applicants: Destination Management Organization (AL); Municipality of Mogila (MK); Municipality of Maliq (AL).


Location: Municipality of Mogila in North Macedonia and Municipality of Maliq in Albania

The regions around the municipalities of Mogila in North Macedonia and Maliq in Albania are prone to adverse weather and climatic phenomena, especially heavy storms and rainfalls resulting in local flooding and landslides damaging roads, private properties and agricultural land. The rivers Devoll in Mailq and Crna Reka and Shemenica in Mogila are facing increased spatial and temporal variability of water resources which is among the key natural factors increasing the flooding risk, besides topographic and land characteristics, and a relatively dense hydrographic network in the most affected regions. Additional causes of the growing flooding risk include: a) reduced conveyance/discharge capacity of existing regulated river sections (e.g., because of poor maintenance of existing river regulations, conversion of floodplains/river corridors); b) aging/poorly maintained hydraulic/flood control infrastructure (e.g., drainage systems, embankments and levees); and c) operating regimes of existing multi-purpose dams/reservoirs not optimized properly to enable better flood risk mitigation. Agriculture, extending dominantly along rivers, is the economic sector most affected by floods. At the same time agriculture plays the most important role in securing income for households in the affected regions. The growing flooding risk makes agriculture a particularly vulnerable sector, which most directly influences socio-economic stability of communities.

In order to strengthen the resilience, the disaster risk preparedness and to prevent floods for protection of the environment, the livelihoods and the agricultural lands the project team has taken the following actions:

Improved public infrastructure

In order to ensure the protection of agricultural lands and livelihoods:

  • Drainage canals in both of the municipalities Mogila and Maliq in length of 6 km have been built;
  • 2 hydrological stations placed on the rivers Devoll in Maliq and Crna Reka in Mogila that measure the water level in the rivers;
  • Mobile application developed for early warning of floods and weather changes alerts;
  • Tools provided for cleaning of the canals.

Cross-border cooperation and joint approach

In order to establish a joint approach between both municipalities:

  • Action plans for floods management developed for the each of the municipalities of Mogila and Maliq;
  • A Joint risk management plan developed for joint approach and support for protection and management of floods.

Awareness rising and preparedness of the population

In order to motivate and prepare the agro-producers and local population for management and prevention from floods:

  • Specialised trainings for the agro-producers for flood management;
  • Community forums for inclusion of the community in the flood prevention and management;
  • Exchange visits among the agro-producers in the cross-border region;
  • Awareness rising and cleaning actions with students.

With this EU funded action, more than 12,000 people have been directly protected from flooding despite the frequent massive rain falling in these regions. The local population is now prepared and motivated to continue taking action for protection of the environment and protection of their agricultural lands and livelihoods not only from floods, but also from other natural disasters.