Safeguard the cultural heritage in Kosovo

© UNESCO/Horst Gödicke

On 13 May 2005, the first international conference to “Safeguard the cultural heritage in Kosovo” was organised by UNESCO in collaboration with the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), the Council of Europe and the European Commission. Donors gathered at the meeting pledged US$ 10 million for the restoration, protection and enhancement of Christian (Serbian Orthodox) and Islamic (Ottoman) monuments and traditional vernacular buildings in Kosovo, which were either damaged during the war period and during the conflict itself, or in need of emergency restoration.

The International Conference constitutes the scope of the activities UNESCO has been conducting since in favour of the "Safeguard of Cultural Heritage in Kosovo” and funded by the different donors.

Thanks to the contributions from the Czech Republic, France, Albania, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Greece, Turkey, USA and lastly the Russian Federation, soon to be followed by Bulgaria, UNESCO has been able to work on the restoration of about 15 monuments in Kosovo, of which four are inscribed in the World Heritage List. Several projects have already been successfully completed.

The scope of UNESCO’s intervention is related to:

(i) The restoration of the monuments and cultural heritage;

(ii) Strengthening of the local capacities in the field of the preservation of cultural heritage;

(iii) Strengthening the capacity of institutions and professionals dealing with preservation of cultural heritage;

(iv) Promoting interreligious dialogue;

(v) Promoting inter-cultural dialogue;

(vi) Using the cultural heritage as a tool for peace and reconciliation.

© UNESCO / Sesum, Sinisa

From the experiences of the completed projects, UNESCO considers the rehabilitation of the cultural heritage of Kosovo as a perfect model of international cooperation, which is marked by a strong faith in the local people and experts: Works and supervision have been carried out in cooperation by local firms, institutions and experts, in permanent consultation with UNESCO staff. Cultural heritage and cultural education have proved in fact to have a very positive impact in facilitating processes of dialogue among the different communities living in Kosovo.

The following monuments have benefitted UNESCO’s interventions:

  • Church of the Presentation of the Virgin, Lipjan/Lipljan: Restoration of wall paintings (US contribution). Project completed.
  • Hadum Mosque in, Gjakove/Djakovica Municipality: Restoration of wall paintings (US contribution). Project completed.
  • Church of St. Archangel Michael, Shtime/Stimlje Municipality: Reconstruction (US contribution). Project completed.
  • Budisavci Monastery, Klina Municipality: Restoration of wall paintings (US contribution). Project completed.
  • Hammam, Mitrovice, Kosovska Mitrovica: Partial Restoration/reconstruction (US contribution). Project completed.
  • Church of St. Sava in Kosovska Mitrovica/Mitrovice Municipality: Restoration/Reconstruction (US contribution). Project completed.
  • Decani Monastery: Digitalization of the frescoes (Italian contribution). Project completed. Required architectural and wall paintings restoration (Russian Federation contribution).
  • Decan/Decani Mosque, Decan/Decani Municipality: Reconstruction works (US contribution). Project completed.
  • Traditional Albanian houses (Kulla’s) in the historical center in Decani; Restoration (Italian contribution). Project completed.
  • Pejё/Peć Patriarchate: Static Monitoring (Italian contribution). Project completed. Required architectural and wall paintings restoration (Russian Federation contribution).
  • Defterdar Mosque in Peć: Restoration (Italian contribution). Project completed.
  • Gazi Mehmet Pasha Hammam of Prizren: Restoration (Republic of Turkey contribution).
  • Cathedral Church of Christ the Savior in Prizren: Restoration (German contribution). Project completed.
  • Catholic Cathedral St. Mary the Helpmate in Prizren: Reconstruction and structural strengthening (Albanian contribution).
  • Bogorodica Ljeviska Church of Prizren. Restoration and safeguard and restoration of the wall paintings (Greece / Czech Republic contribution). Required wall paintings restoration (Russian Federation contribution).
  • Gracanica Monastery of Gracanica: Architectural and wall paintings restoration (Russian Federation contribution).
  • Cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue, heritage protection and reconciliation in Kosovo” (Italian contribution): The project supported awareness raised on the protection of cultural heritage and respect of cultural diversity, by means of public debates, meetings, and visit tours to cultural sites restored under the project, by youth of Peje/Pec Region. Project completed.
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