26.07.2010 -

Artisan Incubator and Tourist Information Center inaugurated in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Gjirokastra - A Spanish MDG Achievement Fund contribution in Albania

© GCDOMaster wood worker Anastas Petridhi and Master stone carver Muhedin Makri

On the fifth anniversary of Gjirokastra’s classification as a World Heritage site, the UN Resident Coordinator, Gülden Türköz Cosslett, Spanish Ambassador, Manuel Montobbio, and Mayor of Gjirokastra, Flamur Bime inaugurated on 16 July 2010 the city’s new tourism information centre and the Regional Center for Artisanship and Craftsmanship.


UNDP Albania news (16-07-2010 )

The Gjirokastra Tourism Information Office will serve the needs of the growing number of foreign and domestic visitors to the city known as `the stone city`. The first Artisan incubator is located in the traditional Omarate House, a historic building restored with the funds of the Albanian Government administered through UNESCO-Albanian Trust Fund titled “Safeguard and restoration of selected monuments within the World Heritage site of the Old City of Gjirokaster – Albania”. The project marks another step in the revitalization of the characteristic Bazaar, a return of economic and social activity to this significant part of the historic city, and a fresh action towards the active inclusion of Gjirokastra’s residents in the process.

Prepared in co-operation with the Gjirokastra Conservation and Development Organization (GCDO), both projects are part of the UNESCO-UNDP Joint Programme on “Cultural Heritage for Social and Economic Development” (CHSED) funded by the Government of Spain through the UN Spanish Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund.

On the occasion of their attendance, all participants applauded the successful collaboration to the project within this Joint Programme aimed at boosting the country’s social and economic development through its rich culture and heritage.

UN Resident Coordinator, Gülden Türköz Cosslett, said: “Albania’s Culture and Heritage is an important asset supporting the social and economic development of the country. The opening of the Gjirokastra Tourist Information Centre and the artisans incubator today – on the five year anniversary of the city’s inclusion in the world heritage site - all contribute to making the region’s cultural sites accessible, vibrant living places offering educational and aesthetic experiences to visitors and sustainable source of income for the local community”.

Ambassador of Spain, Manuel Montobbio, noted: ‘’the promotion of culture and conservation of cultural heritage constitutes an essential element and has a direct effect on development. The Culture and Heritage for Social and Economic Development Programme responds to the ambition to promote a qualitative step forward in the state of culture and heritage in Albania as a contribution to the country’s development.

Dasara Dizdari, UNDP Project manager, added: “the revival of artisanship is an important component of the program based in our country’s great traditions in this field and the potential for development and employment within artisanship and craftsmenship.

UNESCO work in Gjirokastra under the CHSED Joint Programme will continue until the programme closure, planned for February 2011.




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Historic Centres of Berat and Gjirokastra



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