Celebrating 25 Years of Discovery: Golemo Gradiste Archaeological Site Exhibition Opens

On June 24, 2024, the Archaeological Museum of the Republic of North Macedonia opened an exhibition marking the 25th anniversary of archaeological research at the Golemo Gradište site, near the village of Konjuh, Kratovo.

The anniversary exhibition highlights the findings and significance of this lon g-term research project, making knowledge accessible both to local visitors and archaeology enthusiasts year-round.

The exhibition’s author is Goran Sanev, a curator advisor at the NU Archaeological Museum in Skopje, and its realization was sponsored by the Balkan Museum Network.

Among those attending the opening ceremony, held at the Kocho Racin Elementary School in Konjuh, were directors from the Archaeological Museum of Skopje, the Kratovo Museum, and the Administration for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, representatives of the Ministry of Culture, and curators from several museums. Local residents from Kumanovo, Konjuh, and Kšla, along with research team members, also attended the opening event, and visited the site to see the latest discoveries.

Golemo Gradište has been the focus of continuous research for 25 years through a collaborative international project between the Archaeological Museum of North Macedonia and Gettysburg College, Pennsylvania, USA. The site has revealed the remains of a previously unknown Late Roman city, the largest urban, economic, political, and religious center in the region, notable for its exceptional church architecture and sculpture. These discoveries have been showcased at both local and international conferences, and published widely, positioning Golemo Gradište as a significant site for scholars studying Late Antiquity in the Balkans.

The project, initiated by the Archaeological Museum in Skopje and funded by the Sarajevo-based BMN, aims to promote this unique archaeological site and foster cultural and rural tourism in Kratovo. It represents a crucial step in popularizing the Golemo Gradište site, and raising public awareness about the importance of cultural heritage and its preservation.

Recognizing the site’s potential, the local community and the municipality of Kratovo have been actively involved. In 2017, the local government allocated part of the Gotse Delchev primary school in Konjuh for the project’s needs.

With the help of local residents, the school was refurbished to host an exhibition space, and the Archaeological Museum’s project has made the exhibition on Golemo Gradište and other archaeological sites in the area a reality.

The Gotse Delchev school hallway now features 11 informative and illustrated banners detailing the site’s history and archaeological research. The exhibition is open year-round, and visitors can tour it with specially trained local guides from Konjuh and Kratovo.

This unique exhibition exemplifies the incredible work done over the past 25 years, so make sure you find the time to visit and delve into the rich history of Golemo Gradište!




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