New conservation project in Kosovo to save architectural heritage
Adventures in Preservation has begun exploring ways to expand hands-on building conservation assistance in the Balkans. Two AiP board members were invited to tour Kosovo following our May 2015 project in Albania, with the intent of evaluating potential AiP project sites.
Kosovo, with the assistance of the international community, has spent the last fifteen years rebuilding its war-damaged infrastructure. New construction has created sufficient housing and other needed facilities, so focus is shifting to saving their remaining cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible. AiP has been working in Albania since 2008; expanding our innovative approach to preservation is a natural extension of our commitment to helping save the world’s architectural heritage.
The charming Hotel Nartel provided lodging in Pristina, while we spent four days exploring the country. Kosovo’s architectural heritage includes “kullas”, a smaller version of the Albanian stone tower house from the days of the Ottoman empire. Sadly, very few kullas remain, and we visited five of them. The houses ranged from structurally sound with deteriorated interior to a stone shell largely destroyed by fire, but with intact stone detailing.
We shared a meal with a family still hopeful of finding a means to restore their home, and toured one of the last remaining clusters of kullas that allow you to see for a moment the beauty of the original village scape.
Following a meeting with Cultural Heritage without Borders, who we have partnered with in Albania, it was decided our first project will take on completion of a kulla project CHwB has been working on for several years. Volunteers can join the hands-on session in May 2016.
AiP has also reached a preliminary agreement with the owners of the Kulla Tahirsylaj. This beautiful and unique kulla is structurally sound and needs the help of our volunteers to restore the interior and prepare the house for a use that will benefit the community of Isniq. Work is projected to begin in 2017.
If you have an interest in joining us in Kosovo, let us know! Your level of interest in joining and supporting preservation in Kosovo will be an important factor as we consider future efforts to conserve the region’s endangered architectural heritage.