CHwB craftsmen and artisans to be announced
Cultural Heritage without Borders (CHwB),
Sali Shoshi, Head of Office, Kosovo
Sali is an architect, who has worked for CHwB since 2001. He was Project Manager for the restoration of five kullas completed in 2004. As Head of Office, he is now responsible for working with national and international donors, partners and organizations, as well as local institutions and civil society. He has spoken across the world on topics such as Kosovo’s heritage, reconstruction and reconciliation in conflict and post-conflict situations, while extending the close working relationship between CHwB headquarters in Sweden and the Balkan countries.
DBL US$1,290 | SGL +US$150 for two weeks
Discounts! Special rates for students and groups of 3 or more. Past participants always receive a discounted tour fee
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Additional Cost Information:
All costs are per person per two-week session.
Your fee includes:
- Ground transportation between airport and lodging
- Lodging from Sunday of arrival through Friday night of departure week
- Meals from dinner on Sunday of arrival through lunch on Friday of departure from Drenoc
- Excursions during your trip dates
- Instruction from project experts
All participants are responsible for:
- Travel to Pristina
- Visa if required
- Dinner Friday, May 27, if departing on Saturday
- Transportation between Pristina and airport if departing on Saturday
- Travel health insurance, including emergency evacuation coverage
Saving Kullas in Kosovo
Date: May 15-28, 2016
Learn traditional plastering and woodworking skills as you help complete restoration of one of Kosovo’s famed kullas.
Why Volunteer in Kosovo
Kosovo’s journey from a largely autonomous state to an independent country has been difficult. Though there is still more to be done, the country today boasts ample housing, great restaurants, excellent art and music, and new boutique hotels in its larger cities.
It’s now time to shift some of the redevelopment effort to saving what remains of the country’s cultural and architectural heritage. Volunteers can make a significant impact via hands-on work on some of the country’s iconic buildings. Large stone kullas traditionally housed extended families; they used to be found throughout the country but most were destroyed during the 1998-1999 war. The few that remain need the assistance of the international community to restore them to their original beauty. Restored, they will once again provide a use that benefits the rural communities where they are located.
Kulla Conservation – Project and Need
Drenoc, a small village in western Kosovo, is known for its historic character. Seven 18th century kullas survive, forming one of the country’s last traditional streetscapes. The kullas, along with auxiliary buildings and the cobblestone street, make up the Mazrekaj neighborhood (Lagie e Mazrekaj).
Cultural Heritage without Borders (CHwB), a major NGO, has taken on conservation of this neighborhood, and AiP is joining them to complete work at Kulla Isuf Mazrekaj. This three-story stone tower house was occupied by local owners until recently, when a potential structural failure forced them to move to a nearby residence. The family realized the potential value of their tower house to enhance local heritage tourism. They agreed that CHwB’s plan to save the kulla provides the best option. Family members have actively supported the project, designed to boost the local economy.
In May, AiP jammers will focus their efforts on the middle floor of the kulla while staying in the beautifully restored space on the third floor. The team will:
- Lay the wood floor in the corridor
- Complete restoration of the wooden ceiling
- Apply lime plaster to walls and paint with lime wash
- Finish conservation work on existing doors and windows
I really enjoyed the experience because it got me to a different place that I had never been to before. I want to continue to explore more Eastern European countries. — Sue Robinson, 2015
How You Will Help the Community
Increasing heritage tourism
is key to the economic development of this rural region. In helping complete work at the kulla, you will expand the region’s ability to host tourists and travelers and share the history and culture of the region with them.
The village of Drenoc has been selected to become an ethnographic village, or open museum. Restored kullas are the major component of this plan to showcase the country’s cultural and architectural heritage. Kulla Isuf Mazrekaj is one of the first to be restored and will serve as an example of internationally accepted conservation practices.
More Ways to Help
The total cost of the kulla conservation project at Kulla Mazrekaj is an estimated US$8,500. We are seeking sponsors and donors to join CHwB and AiP in the completion of this important economic development project. Planning is also underway on AiP’s next project to help restore Kulla Tahirsylaj. Complete conservation of that kulla is estimated at US$65,000.
AiP is actively seeking partnerships with university programs that would like to include this long-term kulla conservation project as part of their curriculum or as a study abroad option for their students. For interested students, we will work with your university program to provide a learning experience that fulfills requirements for receiving credit. Have your adviser or professor contact us to explore possibilities.
Evenings, as always, filled with wonderful food and great company for dinner! — Deborah Rehn, 2014
Accommodations will be provided in one of Drenoc’s traditional houses, including Kulla Mazrekaj. Single rooms are available for a supplemental fee.
Lodging on Saturday night, May 14, in Pristina is included in your fee. We will travel to Drenoc at noon on Sunday, so you may need to arrive in Pristina on Saturday.
Most meals will be eaten at the kulla and consist of homemade, organic food.
Vegetarians will also enjoy traditional meals cooked from local produce.
Drenoc is located in one of Kosovo’s most scenic regions. The nearby Deconi Monastery, included on the World Heritage List, will be part of an afternoon bike tour along with mosques and tekkes, all situated in a spectacular landscape with a view of the Albanian Alps. We will also visit two historic cities, Gjakova and Prizren. A day-long excursion to the Valbona Valley in neighboring Albania will be a highlight.
Flights to Kosovo arrive at the Pristina International Airport, located 18 km southwest of Pristina. You will need to take a taxi or shuttle to the meeting point; location will be provided upon registration. We will travel from Pristina to Drenoc on Sunday, May 15, at noon. Please schedule your flight to arrive in Pristina on Saturday or early Sunday morning.
For your return home, we will arrive in Pristina on Friday, May 27, by 1pm. Flights out may be scheduled anytime after 3pm Friday.
If you remain until Saturday, we will tour the city center and choose one of the city’s excellent restaurants for dinner. Dinner Friday evening is not included in your trip fee. Taxis are available from the hotel to the airport for around 15 euro, or a bus leaves from the Grand Hotel for the airport every two hours and costs 3 euro.
Residents of most countries will need only a valid passport to enter Kosovo, although citizens of some countries are required to have entry visas. Be sure to check the visa requirements for your country of origin.
If you would like assistance with travel arrangements, contact Peace Frogs Travel/Outfitters, AiP’s partnering travel agency.
If you have any questions or would like to chat with an AiP staff member about joining this cultural heritage experience, contact us at email@example.com or call us at +1 303-444-0128.