Restoration work on the long-ruined Jewish cemetery in Štip, in eastern Macedonia, is being completed, the Macedonian Information Agency (MIA) reports. It says the work has been carried out by the city museum and Bureau for Preservation of Monuments in Štip.
The report says “73 grave sites were conserved and will be fully protected.” Pictures published by MIA show a new wall around the cemetery, which is located on a rugged hillside overlooking the town’s main cemetery. There are rows of horizontal sarcophagus-like grave markers, and paths have been laid out within the site.
Jews settled in Štip in the 16th century — as in much of the region, they were Sephardic Jews fleeing Iberia. In 1943, along with almost all the other Jews of Macedonia, the 560 Jews in Štip were deported to Treblinka death camp.
The cemetery was long abandoned, and most of the stones were vandalized and heavily damaged.
Plans for the restoration were announced in 2009. At that time, local media reported that the project would entail building a wall around the entire 14,000 square meter site, as well as parking lots, pedestrian walkways, benches, and monuments.
The project was carried out under a cooperative agreement among the Culture Ministry, the city of Štip and the Jewish association in Macedonia.
On his blog, Samuel Gruber posted photos of the site as a ruin, taken on behalf of the International Survey of Jewish Monuments in 2003.