TFAHR Macedonia Expedition 2011
Orientation Materials for Participants
This page will be updated as new
information becomes available.
Please check back occasionally.
Macedonia Travel Documents: All visitors need a passport with six months remaining validity.
Visitors from some countries require a visa ahead of time, available from the Macedonian Embassy in
your country. US passport holders do not need a visa ahead of time; one will be stamped in your
passport (free of charge) on your arrival in Macedonia. For visa purposes you are coming to
Macedonia as TOURISTS, unpaid volunteers on the excavation. If you require an invitation letter and
contact phone numbers for your visa, please e-mail us at email@example.com.
If you do need to apply for a visa, we recommend a "multiple entry" visa, in case you want to visit
another country (Greece, Bulgaria) on a weekend.
Documents Required by TFAHR: All participants are required to sign a liability release form. Please
bring the signed form with you to the excavation. You will not be able to dig until we have a signed
release form from you.
Download Release Form (PDF format): TFAHR Release Form
- Volunteers must make their way to Sveti Nikole, Republic of Macedonia, at their own expense.
- TFAHR will provide hotel rooms and meals during the work-week at no cost to the volunteers.
Rooms will be paid for Sunday night through Thursday night, and meals from Monday morning
breakfast to Friday noon meal (lunch). Volunteers pay for their own drinks (alcoholic and non-
alcoholic) at all meals. Prices for drinks at the hotel will be around 50-60 denari (more for wine).
- Weekend expenses are the responsibility of the volunteers. You will be free to travel on the
weekend, or to stay at the hotel on Friday and Saturday night. The rate for the hotel is 13 euros
per person per night; this is for bed and breakfast only, no other meals. Food is available very
cheaply in the markets and fast-food places in town. In a pizza place, for instance, you can get a
pizza and beer or Coca Cola for less than $5 US. Food is less expensive in the shops and
market. You will not have a kitchen or cooking facilities available for your use on the weekends.
If you leave the hotel on the weekend, you must move everything out of your room; we will have a
place to store your belongings for the weekend.
- Costs for weekend travel away from Sveti Nikole will depend on your standard of travel. Buses
are the cheapest way to travel. Hotels cost 60 euros or more per night (for a double room), but
beds in private houses or hostels start at about 10 euros per night.
Money: The local currency in Macedonia is the denar. For changing money, your best bet is cash (US
dollars or euros), or the ATM machines. There are numerous cash exchange places and ATM
machines all over Macedonia, including in Sveti Nikole. Travelers’ checks can only be exchanged at
major banks in Skopje and Ohrid, and may involve standing in multiple lines. Credit cards can be used
in some hotels, shops and restaurants in Skopje and Ohrid, but not in the smaller towns. If you stay in a
hotel in Skopje or Ohrid on the weekend, the hotel will probably require payment in US dollars or euros;
the guest houses and private rooms accept Macedonian denari. You can pay for your drinks at meals
during the work week in denari, and also for your hotel room on the weekend, if you stay at the hotel.
Sunrise (4:45 am) - Begin work day with short bus ride to dig site. We will have a break for
breakfast, and other breaks as needed. Note: There will not be the possibility of coffee or tea
early in the morning. If you need coffee or tea to get started, bring your own apparatus to make it
in your room. There will be no wake-up calls.
Once we go to the dig site, there will be no possibility of returning to the hotel until the end of the
work day - so bring everything you need with you!
12:30 pm - End field work, break for lunch and rest period.
About 5:00 pm - Work on pottery and finds. We will start earlier on days with more pottery.
About 7:00 pm - Evening meal.
After evening meal - Free time. On some evenings there will be lectures in English.
Water: Tap water is generally safe to drink in the major cities and smaller towns in Macedonia. Most
people, however, drink bottled mineral water or other bottled beverages with meals (for which there is a
charge). The local people in Sveti Nikole drink tap water; however, large bottles of water can be
However, you will need to decide for yourselves if you want to drink the tap water.
** THERE IS NO WATER AVAILABLE AT THE DIG SITE. ** Each participant will be responsible for
bringing his / her water to the site (recommend 3 liters per person on very hot days).
Meals: TFAHR will provide meals from breakfast on Monday through lunch (noon meal) on Friday. No
accommodations can be made for special diets. The cost of any extra snacks / desserts / sweets will be
the responsibility of the individual volunteers, as well as all drinks at meals. NOTE ON BREAKFAST:
Our field work starts at 5:00 am; we will break for breakfast at the site at approximately 8:00 am. If you
think you will be hungry before this time, bring snacks with you (your own responsibility).
Weather: In June the days should be mild (short sleeve weather). In the early mornings and evenings
you may want a jacket or sweatshirt. Prepare for the possibility of rain occasionally. In July the days
may get very hot, approaching 40 degrees Centigrade in the afternoon. NOTE: Some days in the 2010
season were very cold, windy and rainy - a jacket and / or raincoat was necessary.
Accommodation: Most people will be sleeping in double or triple rooms with private baths. The hotel
is VERY basic. The hotel will provide sheets and towels. There will be maid service once a week (clean
sheets and towels). Bring shower shoes and your own towel if you plan to stay in private homes or
hostels on the weekend.
Laundry: Plan to hand wash your clothes in the sink or shower, and hang in your room to dry.
Communications: There are internet cafes in Sveti Nikole and almost all towns in Macedonia. Many
people sign up for Skype to make calls on the Internet. If you will be bringing a mobile phone, check
with your provider regarding costs and network availability in Macedonia.
Internet at Hotel: There is wireless internet at the Hotel Ovce Pole. You would need your own
computer to access this network. The computers used by the excavation staff will not be available for
internet access. If you do bring your own computer, make plans to secure it; although there will be locks
on your hotel room doors, we don’t recommend you leave any valuables in the room. TFAHR will not be
responsible for lost or stolen items.
Electricity: Macedonia follows the European standard, 220V to 240V / 50Hz to 60 Hz. You will need a
voltage converter for any devices that do not follow this standard. You will also need the standard two-
prong plug adapter that is used in continental Europe.
Photo/Video: Memory cards, batteries, etc. are all available in Macedonia, and there are internet
cafes where you can transfer your digital pictures to a CD or upload to the internet. If you have to buy
any memory, etc., it will be very expensive. Do not take a photo of anything that could have military or
strategic importance (such as a border crossing or dam). Some museums and sites will require you to
buy a special ticket, besides the admission ticket, to photograph. This usually runs from a dollar or two,
up to about $10.
- No special vaccines or inoculations are needed, but an up-to-date tetanus booster is
- There may be mosquitoes in the early morning and evening. Plan to wear protective clothing or
bring insect repellent.
- If you take prescription medicines, bring your prescriptions in their original containers. You
should know the generic name of your medications, in case you need a refill in Macedonia
(European brand names are different from American brand names for the same medication).
- In early June there is quite a bit of grass and wildflower pollen. Allergy medicines are available in
the pharmacies, but if you have a favorite brand, bring it from home (in its original container).
- Sun sickness can be a very serious problem. This can best be avoided by wearing a hat and
drinking plenty of water. We also recommend frequent applications of sunscreen. NOTE ON
SHADE - there is no shade on the acropolis of Bylazora, except that provided by our vehicles.
- TFAHR staff are not allowed to administer any medications. If you think you might need any
medicine, including analgesics or diarrhea medicine, you will need to provide these yourself.
NOTE ON MEDICATIONS: Medications for diarrhea or stomach upset, such as Pepto-Bismol
(bismuth subsalicylate) or Imodium (loperamide) are not available without a prescription in Sveti
Nikole. Come prepared!
- NEW INFO POSTED APRIL 2 - Everyone entering Macedonia is required to have health
insurance. You may be required to show proof of health insurance upon entering Macedonia.
Getting to Sveti Nikole:
- By air - the closest international airports are Skopje (Macedonia), Thessaloniki (Greece) and
- IF YOU ARRIVE AT SKOPJE AIRPORT: You can either take a taxi straight to Sveti Nikole
(around 50 euros), or go into Skopje by taxi to the bus or train station. It will be cheaper to go
straight from the airport to Sveti Nikole.
BY BUS OR TRAIN FROM SKOPJE:
FOR SVETI NIKOLE: There are several buses from Skopje which stop at Sveti Nikole.
You can also take a train from Skopje to Veles, and from Veles travel to Sveti Nikole by taxi
(10 euros for the whole taxi). Ask the driver to take you to the Hotel Ovce Pole, outside
Sveti Nikole on the road between Stip and Kumanovo.
- IF YOU ARRIVE AT THESSALONIKI AIRPORT: As of April 1, 2011 there are no trains running
between Thessaloniki and Macedonia. This situation could change, but the bus might be a better
alternative. Team member Victor L. has found the following info on the bus:
"I found the website for the Greek bus company that runs a bus into Skopje from Thessaloniki.
The bus runs from Thessaloniki Mon-Wed-Fri at 5:30pm and costs 20 euros. The Skopje to
Thessaloniki bus runs on Mon-Wed-Fri at 7:00am for 25 euros. The website is http://www.
simeonidistours.gr/ . It's in Greek but google translate makes the schedule clear."
NOTE: There is a one-hour time difference between Greece and Macedonia.
NEW INFO POSTED APRIL 2: USEFUL LINKS FOR TRANSPORTATION
http://www.simeonidistours.gr/ Bus - Thessaloniki-Skopje
http://www.centralnaavtogara.bg/index.php Buses from Sofia - (English version available in the box on
the upper right)
http://www.skopje.com.mk/angliski/prva.asp - Click the "Transportation" tab for transport options from
In addition, Natty Hussey's blog, has a link to a spreadsheet prepared by United States Peace Corps
volunteers, giving bus schedules for many destinations inside Macedonia and international
destinations. Natty also gives the schedule of buses in and out of Sveti Nikole.
NEW GUIDEBOOK FOR MACEDONIA: MACEDONIA, the Bradt guide by Thammy Evans, has been
released in a third edition (February 2010).
Macedonian Language: We can recommend no good book or audio program available outside
Macedonia. But one of our colleagues in Sveti Nikole is preparing some useful phrases / vocabulary for
us. More on this soon.
Bylazora / Sveti Nikole
Dates: June 6 - July 29, 2010. We will begin digging on the morning of June 6.
Expedition Headquarters / Accommodation: Ovce Pole Hotel
address: Vanco Angelov bb, 2220 Sveti Nikole, Republic of MacedoniaLocal Contact: Mr. Ilija Stoilev, People's Museum of Sveti Nikole, Plostad Ilinden 18
telephone: ++389 (0) 32 440 488; ++389 (0) 32 444 088