Norway Funded Bulgaria's Archaeology Dig That Found St. John Relics

Politics » DIPLOMACY | August 9, 2010, Monday // 14:23
Bulgaria: Norway Funded Bulgaria's Archaeology Dig That Found St. John Relics Norway's Ambassador to Bulgaria Tove Skarstein will be visiting Sozopol to see the alleged relics of St. John the Baptist found on the St. Ivan Island in excavations sponsored by Norway. Photo by BGNES

The funding for the archaeological excavations that led to the much celebrated and much debated recent discovery of relics of St. John the Baptist in Bulgaria was provided by Norway.

In a statement to the media, the Royal Embassy of Norway in Sofia explains that the project for the archaeological excavations on the St. Ivan Island in the Black Sea near Sozopol was funded with a total of EUR 584 028, which was 90% the total cost of the project.

The funding was allocated by the Norwegian government under the mechanisms of the European Economic Area, a single market agreement agreement between the EU and the EFTA member states.

The digs on the St. Ivan Island were one of the 62 Bulgarian projects funded by Norway under the financial mechanism of the EEA during the first phase of this cooperation between the two countries – 2007-2009.

For the second phase, 2009-2014, Norway is going to provide to Bulgaria a total of EUR 126.6 M for various projects such as green energy, and energy efficiency, cultural heritage preservation, science and education, health, labor market, civil society and judiciary development.

“We are happy that important archaeological projects have been funded with Norwegian money, and that we are thus helping Bulgaria to preserve its rich cultural and historical heritage. Of course, we should first wait for the results of the tests of the finds. However, it will be great news if it turns out that these finds are of great historical value,” declared the Norwegian Ambassador to Bulgaria, Tove Skarstein.

Her Excellency is visiting the town of Sozopol on Tuesday, August 10, in order to see the relics discovered on the St. Ivan Island. The following day she will visit the city of Burgas in order to check the progress of two other projects funded with money of the Norwegian taxpayers – a system for monitoring the air quality in Burgas, and a project for preserving the biodiversity in the Strandzha Mountain.

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Tags: Norway, Tove Skarstein, environment, Energy efficiency, european economic area, EEA, funding, archaeology, archaeologists, Sozopol, Burgas, St. John the Baptist, relics

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