The ancient theater of Finiq, in the district of Vlora, has become part of a program aimed at protecting, preserving and transforming it into a full value for cultural tourism in this area, but conceived in a more wide space, cross-border, between Albania and Greece, including similar facilities in the neighboring country.
Velta Danaj, representative of the Municipality of Finiq, says for ATSH that it is estimated that the areas of Finiq and Dodon face difficulties regarding the use of their cultural assets for tourism development and building a successful development model stable local regional economic. "Most visitors see cultural monuments as attractions of the moment, spending only a few hours in them. "This means that the cultural points of interest of the cross-border area are considered, mostly, as a momentary stop rather than as an integrated tourist destination", she says for ATA.
However, these areas have considerable potential. The two archeological sites of Finiq and Dodon are included in the list of major cultural monuments, constituting an added value in the historical heritage of the region and in the field of ancient theater. The use of these cultural assets in the function of a tourism economy, is considered a challenge at the moment.
According to Danaj, there is a strong link between tourism and culture, which with the right intervention can increase the attractiveness and competitiveness of a destination. Therefore, the project co-financed by the European Union and the National Funds of Albania and Greece, within the IPA Cross-Border Program "Greece-Albania 2014-2020" and which is being implemented in partnership between the Municipality of Finiq, Regional Directorate of Cultural Heritage Vlora, Municipality of Dodon and the Ephorate of Antiquities of Ioannina (Greece), aims to re-conceptualize these assets, in function of a long-term strategy, including other elements in the respective territories.
The main goal is to protect and preserve the two ancient theaters, addressing potential threats and dangers through, inter alia, the installation of intelligent preventive mechanisms and technological equipment, which will make these areas more accessible to visitors.
In addition, specific priorities are the improvement and further promotion of cross-border cultural heritage, the enrichment of cultural monuments through the rehabilitation of 2 Byzantine Churches, the expansion of the network of cultural attractions and the connection of culture with thematic tourism.
Another important factor is youth tourism, which is experiencing a rapid growth year after year and currently, occupies at least 20% of the overall tourism market. Through the development of digital applications, 360-degree virtual tours and other multimedia tools, the field organization of trips with journalists from both countries, will aim to include this target group, as well as achieve concrete benefits for residents of the area, including a set of local actors and beyond in the culture and tourism sectors, which includes public and private organizations, archaeologists, tour operators, area residents, students, etc.
The ancient city of Finiq, in the south of the country, is one of the most famous archaeological and historical values in Albania. Its history begins in the 5th century BC and goes through several stages. Initially it was the capital of the Illyrian tribe of Kaon and then, in the III century BC, it became capital of the entire state of Epirus. The theater, with 17,000 seats, was one of its main facilities, which was built in three phases, starting from the IV and III century BC.