Address of Professor Vera Bitrakova, at the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Museum of the NBRM, Skopje, April 27, 2012
Dear guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Dear Governor of the National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia, Dimitar Bogov
Distinguished Excellencies, academics, ministers, professors, colleagues.
I have the honor to address and to greet you on this very important day when we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the monetary independence of the Republic of Macedonia, acknowledging the especially successful operating of the National Bank, within hosts the Numismatic Collection, having been created with high professionalism for over ten years.
The culture, education, science are often said to be the pillars of the society, but in this occasion, the need of underlining the significance of the economy the contemporary world is based on, also becomes evident.
The creation of the Numismatic Collection of the National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia, today containing more than 20.000 coins and banknotes, entailed a lot of straining by the professionals, numismatists-archeologist, who could not work out without the large appreciation for safeguarding the cultural heritage of Macedonia, as inestimable value, i.e. without the immense support by the former Governor of the Bank, professor Ljube Trpeski. In 2002, the opened exhibition of the Collection coins, mainly discovered on the territory of Macedonia, and originating from the farthest Mediterranean, serving as a proof for the monetary conditions in ancient times, staring from the antics, through the Middle Ages, to the Ottoman period, depicts the wide boundless trade, which is, actually, present today, as well. I still remember the words the professor Trpeski said in 2001 on the occasion of the Symposium dedicated to the academician Ksente Bogoev, and the release of several publications from the numismatics area funded by the Bank, that he knows how hard is to work on scientific issues and that is why he makes efforts to support these endeavors of the young people. Fortunately, these activities of the Numismatics Unit were underpinned, as much as possible, also afterwards, which, as a result, can be defined by its activity, as one scientific numismatic center. This center operating also as a scientific institute, is supported institutionally and legally, by the Ministry of Culture, because it worthily treasures and promotes the permanent cultural and historical values of our country. The work of the center is highly esteemed and appreciated by the archeological science in our country and abroad, owning to the publications on large number of coins that were purchased and kept in the National Bank, whether through individual publications, or through individual studies published in magazines or presented at numerous international scholar meetings. I had the pleasure to follow the activity of the team on both conservatory and professional and scientific plan, first as my students, and then as colleagues. Congratulations for their enthusiasm and success!
Let me now say few words about the new exhibition. After the tremendous efforts of the Numismatic Collection team, as well as the huge support of the National Bank, the collection of coins minted in Macedonia, or those mints in the empires Macedonia belonged to during history, enlarged in the few past years.
This significant fundus enabled preparation of a new permanent exhibition through which the diligent researches introduce us systematically in the history of Macedonia, through the very important society functioning system, the grand master - the coin. However, the metal coins are the highlights for understanding the past and they are relation to many activities of the man.
The authors of the exhibition introduce us in the written history of Macedonia thorough the coins minted by the Paeonian tribal communities, and afterwards by their rulers that inhabited Macedonia, from the Vardar Valley to the Struma Valley. For the first time, very rare samples of the earliest money exchange in this area are exhibited, part of which being discovered in the last ten years. The money of the ancient Macedonians minted during the Argeades and Antigonids, both large dynasties, as well as the issues of the Macedonian towns, are exhibited in their mere brilliance, the silver, the gold, as well as the highly artistic performance, a creation of the masters of glyptic art of the ancient world. Here, at the end of the monetary history of the Macedonian rulers, the mint of Lychnidos, modern Ohrid, from the 2 century B.C. is presented, together with the other Macedonian towns, such as Pella, Amphipolis, illustrating the shield and the irremissible sailing ship, the most powerful mean of communication in that time. Then, the money of the new political and economic power - the Roman, follows. From the beginning of the first to the third century, the town of Stoby, that will be a significant political and primarily economic, center, a bridge connecting Thessalonica and Sirmium, powerful towns of the Roman provinces on the Balkans, will mint coins for several emperors. Until 15 years ago, our museums had barely 20 coins produced in this mint. The personal striving of the numismatists from the museums and from the Numismatic Collection of the Bank resulted in a collection comprising more than 2,500 coins, most of which are exposed here, thus displaying the activity of the mint in Stobi.
The long mediaeval period, within the Byzantine Empire and the other state-like formations, has been presented in the Exhibition through the rich production of gold and silver coins, electrum, starting from the period of Justinian to Komnenoi and Paleologoi. Special place has been reserved for the 14th century - The silver period - when the coins of the mighty Venice penetrated, as a reflection of the trade with the East Adriatic Coast and its influence on the minting by the Serbian rulers and the local rulers in Macedonia, such as Volkashin, Uglesha, Marko, and once again the mint in Ohrid headed by the prefect Gropa. At the end, the mints in the Macedonian towns Kratovo, Skopje and Ohrid during the Ottoman Empire are presented. The whole ambient has been accompanied with illustrations of towns in the Republic of Macedonia during the centuries, thus enriching the testimony of the past. For this especially valuable Exhibition, the authors have prepared a remarkable Catalogue, so the sentence finis corona opus will be the best description of the entire engagement.
Dear all, thank you for being present, and I pronounce this Exhibition open.
The host asked me to invite you to the cocktail reception in the lobby, that will follow the Exhibition.