05.12.2011 - UNESCO Office in Venice

Apollonia Archaeological Museum reopens after 20 years of closure

©Butrint Foundation - Monastery on the Apollonia site : Byzantine church

After more than 20 years of closure and several months of restoration works, the Archaeological museum of Apollonia is ready to be reopened to the public. The inauguration ceremony will take place on the 6th of December 2011 at 11:30 in the premises of the newly renovated Apollonia Archaeological museum, Fier. The museum, established in 1985, is located inside the medieval monastery in the heart of the Apollonia Archaeological Park. It presents a unique collection of excavation materials dating back to the different periods of Illyrian Apollonia.

During the last months, the museum has undergone an overall restoration completed within the framework of the MDG-F Joint Programme ”Culture and Heritage for Social and Economic Development”. The works included walls consolidation, interior refurbishment and replacement of diverse installations that substantially enhanced its premises.

Aldo Bumci, Minister of Tourism, Culture, Youth and Sports will participate to the re-opening ceremony together with Zineb Touimi-Benjelloun, the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Rafael Tormo Perez, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Spain, Neritan Ceka, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Culture, Jeanette Papadopoulos representing the Italian Ministry of Cultural Properties and Engelbert Ruoss, Director of UNESCO Venice Office. Marin Haxhimihali, Director of the Apollonia archaeological museum, archaeologist by profession, will show the participants around the museum, highlighting the recent important discoveries in Apollonia archaeological park.

Apollonia Archaeological Park is one of the major heritage sites in Albania with a significant historical value. The park was created in 2006 to protect the remnants of an ancient Illyrian city originally founded about 620 BC. At these times, the city was the biggest and most important one amongst all the cities named in honor of the God Apollo in the whole ancient world. With its 750 ha, Apollonia is actually the largest archaeological park in Albania.

After the establishment of the Archaeological Park, the area witnessed an important increase in number of visitors and the potential for cultural tourism remains high, as only an estimated 10% of the city has been discovered so far. The recent publication of the Apollonia mapguide in 3 languages and the 2012 Coin calendar will further enrich the visitor’s experience in the Apollonia Archaeological Park in general and the archaeological museum in particular.

This activity was carried out within the framework of the MDG-F Joint Programme ”Culture and Heritage for Social and Economic Development”, financed by the Spanish Fund for the Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and implemented by the Albanian Ministry of Tourism, Culture, Youth and Sports and the Albanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with UNESCO and UNDP.

Author(s): UNESCO Venice Media Advisory N°2011-07
Date : 5-12-2011

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