Albania

Pristina, a City’s Heritage at Risk

Patrimoine sans Frontières and Cultural Heritage without Border

Friday 30 May 2014 by en , E. Noygues

The capital of Kosovo is home to a rich architectural heritage which reflects its history, but the waves of destruction which have affected the city - and more generally the territory - since the end of the Second World War have deeply altered its appearance.

Today, neglected by the authorities which are meant to protect it, subject to botched restoration work and illegal demolition, Pristina’s urban heritage and particularly that of the old town, is threatened to the extent that many experts fear that this historic zone and its monuments may disappear.

Pristina’s architectural heritage is made up of secular buildings such as typical Ottoman houses, hamams and fountains, and religious buildings like mosques. During the Communist era, many buildings were destroyed to give way to new ones under the motto “Destroy the old, Build the new”.

The Old Bazaar, which had been the economic centre of the city since its construction in the 15th century, had become symbolic of a decadent era as well as a symbol of capitalism and was destroyed during this period. Kosovo also suffered two important waves of destruction during the 1998-99 ethnic war and 2004 riots.

These events resulted in the politicisation of heritage and the destruction of buildings came to be seen as a means to eradicate any trace of the other community. Since 1999 the UN and other international organisations have worked to bring the communities together on the question of heritage.

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[1] Sources :
- « Patrimoine urbain au Kosovo : le vieux Pristina est laissé à l’abandon », article paru le 23 décembre 2013 dans Preportr, et traduit par Nerimane Kamberi pour le Courrier des Balkans le 28 février 2014.
- « Patrimoine au Kosovo : le vieux hammam de Pristina, un joyau ottoman en perdition », article paru le 18 mars 2013 dans Gazeta Jeta në Kosovë, et traduit par Nerimane Kamberi pour le Courrier des Balkans le 28 mars 2013.
- « Demolition Threat to Pristina’s Ottoman Heritage », article de Petrit Collaku paru le 21 mai 2010 dans Balkan Insight.
- « Restorers Wreak Havocon Kosovo’s Old Hamam », article de Shengjyl Osmani paru le 13 janvier 2011 dans Balkan Insight.
- « Municipality of Prishtina engages intolibel and violates the laws of the Republic of Kosovo », article publié le 01.08.2013 sur le site du Ministère de la Culture du Kosovo.
- Erroneous, An analysis of numerous and continuous faults in cultural heritage, un rapport de Ec Ma Ndyshe pour le Forum 2015.
- Regional programme for cultural and natural heritage in South-East Europe, texte officiel adopté par le Ministère de la Culture du Kosovo le 23 janvier 2009.
- Utopians Visions, Government failures in Kosovo’s capital, document de travail de la Kosovar Stability Initiative et la European Stability Initiative, publié le 8 juin 2006.
- A future for Prishtina’s past, communication de la Kosovar Stability Initiative et la European Stability Initiative, publié en 2006.
- Conservation basis for the "Historic Centre" of Pristhinë/Pristina, étude sur les mesures de conservation publiée dans le cadre du projet commun de l’Union européenne et du Conseil de l’Europe « Promotion of Cultural Diversity in Kosovo » en décembre 2012.


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