The protection and enhancement of monuments and historical heritage in the Region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace was discussed on Monday, 10 February 2020 at a meeting held by Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni, in the presence of the Regional Governor Christos Metios, secretary general of Culture George Didaskalou and administrative staff.

The meeting’s objective was to monitor the progress of all the projects already included in and funded by the Regional Service Programme as part of programme contracts with the Ministry. The projects concern the preservation and enhancement of cultural works, archaeological sites and monuments along the route of the Ancient Egnatia Road. Proposals for new projects to be included in the next programming period were also discussed.

“You are the Region that has spent the most funds on protecting and enhancing the monuments of Macedonia and Thrace”, said Ms Mendoni. “If combined with cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible, it will certainly bear fruit. Let us not forget that Thrace has an enormous intangible cultural heritage dating back to antiquity and coming down to the present day.” The Minister also pointed out that the cultural routes of Thrace and Macedonia are one of the priorities that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has set for the Ministry of Culture.

During the meeting, it was judged as necessary to speed up those cultural projects, such as interventions to archaeological sites and monuments, conservation, restoration, enhancement and accessibility work which are being carried out throughout Eastern Macedonia and Thrace funded by the Region’s Operational Programme.

It also examined the development of studies concerning monuments requiring protection and enhancement in order to be financed by the NSRF of the Region. Specifically, they are the following:

– Construction of a protective shelter for the Burial Mound of Mikri Doxipara-Zoni (€7m budget for two sub-projects)

–  Conservation of the wall paintings of Panaghia Kosmosoteira at Feres (€900,000).

– Interventions to monuments of Samothrace. Specifically, works on completing the Museum of Samothrace, lighting the Castle (€200,000) and restoring the Fonias Castle (€1m)

– Immediate drawing up of a 18 months research programme for the detailed design and restoration of the roof of the Beyazit Mosque.

– Research programme for overall protection of the Didymoteicho Castle.

– Restoration and conservation work on three Byzantine churches in the villages of Piliouri, Metaxades and Alepochori (800.000 Euros).

– Restoration work on Komotini Castle and continuation of work on the town’s Cathedral.

– Enhancement work on the archaeological sites of Maximilianoupolis (€850,000) and Ancient Zoni in Alexandroupolis (€500,000)

–  Funding for further excavation at Abdera (€500,000)

–  A speeding up of works on the Imaret, the Ancient Egnatia Road and the Bastion/Promachonas of Kavala Castle.