Markova Kula: Discovering Secrets of Ancient Fortress

Markova Kula (Marko's Tower) is one of the most challenging locality for archeologists, situated in the area of Koreshnica village, Demir Kapija. These past 30 days, archeologists have worked on the northeastern wall of the ancient fortress, and have found many discoveries, among which sovereigns of Macedonian kings.


This locality links several time periods, and is located along the European road, which implies that it has the potential to become a tourist attraction.

The locality will pre presented to the public after its restoration, i.e. putting up lamp posts, and constructing a more approachable way to the fortress.

According to the Director of the Cultural Heritage Protection Office, Viktor Lilcic Adams, the Faculty of Philosophy in Skopje first started exploring the locality in 2008, and the Cultural Heritage Protection Office has appointed the annual archeological investigation to the Museum of Archeology of Macedonia.



Sovereigns of late ancient and Byzantine period

"With the investigation of these two institutions, we have discovered the contours of the ancient Macedonian castle and the northeastern tower. We have also discovered around 20 sovereigns of Macedonian kings, Amyntas III, Philip II, Cassander, Demetrius I Policretes, Lysimachus, as well as sovereigns of late ancient and Byzantine period," Lilcic Adams said.

In order to open a wide front for further exploration, over the past several days, Lilcic said, investigation activities has been started at the locality in the framework of the project "Archeology Cadastre of the Republic of Macedonia 2016" in correlation with the Archeology Museum, to clear the lower vegetation, and make a horizontal planimetry, and protected exploration of the area.

"As you can see, we are actively and dedicatedly working on Markova Kula, in order to activate this place for the needs of the cultural development of the Municipality of Demir Kapija and the Republic of Macedonia. I am glad to see that the Government has initiated the promotion and presentation of this exceptional antic Macedonian location," said the director of the Cultural Heritage Protection Office.


The Antic Macedonian fortress will attract many tourists

This is part of the project for reconstruction of the antic city of Stenae, which is to develop in 4 stages. The Museum of Archeology has already passed the information at a session of the Government, and the Ministry of Culture provided the funds for 2017, i.e. the museum is to apply through the annual program for stage one.

"Through this stage, we will conduct archeological investigations at the location throughout 2017. After completing this phase, we will start the project for reconstruction, i.e. preservation of the antic tower. The project would finish with the third and fourth stage, and the location would be promoted and presented. This will be followed by putting up lights, and a flagpole with the Macedonian flag," said Vesela Cestoeva, Director of the Archeological Museum.


The project for Markova Kula is finished, and the protection archeology investigations through the Archeology Cadastre, which is also part of the annual program of the Museum of Archeology through Government capital projects in coordination with the Cultural Heritage Protection Office.

 “A team of the Museum of Archeology is currently conducting reconnaissance and protection investigation of the location, in order to prepare it, and to be able to resume the systematic exploration next year. The team has one part left to preserve, to reconnaissance, because we are expecting to find a large number of sovereigns and pottery, which will be publicly presented at the annual exhibit at the Museum of Archeology at the end of December,” said Chestoeva.


A rare example of antic military architecture

Archeologist Ordance Petrov, as the leader of the explorations in the past month, said that around 15 persons have worked on the uncovering of the northern part of the fortress, hence investigating the northeastern tower and the entrance of the antic fortress.

“According to the archeologic materials found in this year’s exploration, the fortress has existed in the second half of the 4th and beginning of the 3rd century B.C. and the most it had been the most attractive in the period of reign of Kings Cassander and Demetrius I Policretes when it was abandoned. The fortress was built using a drywall technique of large limestone blocks and core in the walls, filled with crushed stone and mud,” he explained.


The walls have monumental dimensions of 2.70 to 3.10 meters, Petrov said, which makes it the most exceptional and rare example of antic military architecture discovered in Macedonia.

“At that period, the fortress dimensions were 20x50 meters. In the Byzantine period, the fortress was renewed and expanded with two more defense towers, north and south, connected with a wall on the west side. After the renovation, the fortress’ dimensions expand to 75x150 meters. The fortress remained functional in the defense system of the middle-age city of Prosek,” Petrov said.


The project is brought by the Museum of Archeology of Macedonia, in cooperation with the Institute for Old Slavic Culture – Prilep, and Culture Center “Mirka Ginova” – Demir Kapija.

The project is in the framework of the capital projects of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, and is realized through the Cultural Heritage Protection Office.

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