Restoration of Ottoman cultural heritage in South-East Europe
The training workshop held in Tirana and Berat, Albania, from 21 October to 2 November 2013 was organized by the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy), thanks to the technical and financial contribution of the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA), in cooperation with the Regional Centre for the Restoration of Monuments in Tirana.
The Albanian Minister of Culture, Mirela Kumbaro, officially launched the training workshop on 21 October in the presence of the Albanian Deputy Minister of Culture, Zef Cuni; the coordinator of TIKA Office in Tirana, Birol Cetin; the UNESCO representative and head of the Antenna in Sarajevo, Sinisa Sesum; and, the Director of the Restoration and Conservation Department, Edlira Çaushi. The workshop was inaugurated at the premises of the Regional Centre for the Restoration of monuments in Tirana operating under the auspices of the Institute of Cultural Monuments (IMK) in Albania.
In her opening speech, Milena Kumbaro expressed gratitude to UNESCO and TIKA for their joint efforts oriented at the safeguarding of the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Albania. The two-week training workshop was aimed at developing capacities of young professionals from South-Eastern Europe (SEE) in restoration and conservation of wall paintings of the Ottoman period. The theoretical part of the workshop was conducted at the Regional Centre for the Restoration of Monuments in Tirana and the practical course at the complex of the King's Mosque, a 15th century monument built under Sultan Bayezid II (or Sultân Bayezid-î Velî) in the Historic Centre of Berat, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The training programme consisted of both theoretical and practical (hands-on) activities aimed to introduce relevant conservation and restoration techniques, in compliance with internationally recognized conservation principles and standards. Lectures and site work addressed the principles of conservation and restoration of wall paintings - including insights into historical techniques of execution, deterioration, conservation treatments and methods, as well as maintenance requirements.
Sinisa Sesum, UNESCO Venice Office, stated that: “This workshop is a perfect example of trilateral cooperation among the authorities of Albania, UNESCO and TIKA, in support of the enhancement of capacities of young experts from SEE for the restoration of the Ottoman heritage in South-Eastern Europe, and with a view to promoting the Tirana Regional Centre for the Restoration of Monuments as a centre of excellence for all experts from SEE”.
The workshop was attended by 7 young restorers and conservators from Albania, Bulgaria and Kosovo *, under the tutorship of 2 experts in Ottoman wall paintings, nominated by TIKA and the coordinator of Tirana Centre.
Note: *as defined by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244/1999
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