Among numerous activities, publications and media appearances from Ministry of Culture during this month some of them stand out. During June many decisions and initiatives have been taken related to cultural heritage objects in Albania. But if we interconnect the wide and public activity of our institutions, including Ministry of Culture, sometimes you think about pre-election moments where high vitality was shown at every level, according to our culture.
If we would check out the official website of the ministry we’d think that both, pre and post election silence had taken place since June 18th, last publications for this month.
What are exactly the developments of this Ministry?
June grand opening is through press release about the ex – Dajti Hotel restauration decisions made by KKR (National Restauration Council).
KKR decision about the ex – Dajti Hotel object
On 01.06.2015, during a regular meeting of KKR, held at the Ministry of Culture, was examined among others, the project:
“Reconstruction and Building of the ex – Dajti Hotel object – Implementation Project” requested by the Bank of Albania.
After several hours of discussions, about alternatives and legal allowances, KKR deeply concerned about the degeneration state of the ex – Dajti Hotel building, aiming at saving the object from further degeneration, based on its powers and legal obligations, decided:
- Approve the restauration of the ex – Dajti Hotel object, as a 2nd Category Cultural Monument, conserving its unchanged outer image and respecting the finishes, existing cubic volume and all historic evidences.
- Not to approve all other additions in the project proposal inside the object’s territory perimeter.
So, after Bank of Albania’s acquisition of Dajti Hotel and many delays the decision was made. An awaited and fair decision for an object with special importance that rests in the center of the capital like one of those old mills, the brook of which is exhausted from two decades. Dajti – Hotel, an object that didn’t resist the modern evolution of brilliant glass facade buildings, but simply rests as a heritage object. Many passing in front of Dajti Hotel would sense an anguish, regret or contempt feeling towards an oobject belonging to the fascist Italian era.
But what’s the actual importance of Dajti Hotel?
Buildings like Dajit Hotel are more than just simple hotels. They are cultural monuments, that represent building style, architecture and even identify the past culture by transporting values, developments and historic elements. After the restauration decision, a technical question comes to mind: How much should or shouldn’t change the object originality. Another question is related to the operation of the object, either it will remain a state property, or after costing so much to Albanian taxpayers it will be sold on some random auction, like Hotel Tirana and many other Ministry of Defense properties. Further developments will show this after the work and cooperation of all actors, in particular Bank of Albania. Another occurrence was just two days before local elections by the Ministry of Culture, which during a press conference denounces Tirana City Hall for breaking the law by destroying Cultural Heritage Monuments. Parts from the statement:
Ministry of Culture explains as follows:
On the 16.06.2015 early morning the National Culture Regional Directorate got notified that the destruction of a villa in Tirana had begun. After verifications resulted that the villa identification number V-11 in “Asim Zeneli” road. This villa is under previous protection from the KKR decision from 15 July 2014 (attached).
This decision produced the previous protection passport (attached), decion which was renovated on 16.01.2015 from KKR, and is still in force.
After this event, Ministry of Culture, Cultural Monument Institute and the proper regional directorate, undertook all legal steps. (…) (The full statement can be found on the official website)
Intrusions and reactions of this kind should be continuous and constant from subordinate institutions and the Ministry itself, not only in special cases or election campaign.
Another occurrence during this month with the support of the Ministry of Culture is the enabling of the wireless system at Onufri Iconography Museum and Berat Etnography Museum facilities, through the QR code system. This system allows visitors to have audio-guided information through the official webpage. The service is offered free of charge for visitors, locals and foreigners.
Each visitor can access the information through the different halls in three languages (Albanian, Italian and English).
These initiatives shouldn’t be missing in any of the museums or cultural heritage objects made available to the local and foreign public, and even should further develop so they can offer more options and services, locally and remotely speaking, to be on the same pace of contemporary global technology. Webpage maintenance should have a special attention from authorities as well, so we don’t face only periodic and frame projects, but a unified service network that provides more quality. Another important factor for the development and well-functioning of projects is the cooperation between ministries, like the one between Ministry of Inovation and Ministry of Culture to generate contemporary projects that will lead future developments of culture and promote, access and offer services on a large scale getting closer to the interested public. Cooperation with the Tourism Ministry is important as well, since during the peak of holiday season the trinom Culture, Inovation and Tourism would be ideal for a better work and impact towards every public level and would offer much more qualitative and efficient services and products. It is never too late to explore plans and strategies that we think would be worth thinking about.
A wave of restaurations
On June the 15th, in Shkoder the new “Migjeni” Theater project was presented. The Ministry of Culture and Albanian Government consider this project a rescue operation, since the theater is “untouched” since 1958. The project was designed from the Cultural Monuments Institute and the frist phase of the works fund is 86 million ALL.
First phase of the project, named the rescue phase, is thought to intervene at the implants and technology systems. Concretely, at the electrical implant, amortized since the construction time, mechanical implant of the stage and air-conditioning implant. Also the fire protection system will get renovated because of it’s out of service status. Architectonic elements predict roof interferences, where measures will be taken for placement of capriate, rails, etc. The project will also change the drainage system at the underground level and the building facade. This fund, opened by the Albanian government, goes along side with the reconstructioning of “Andon Zako Cajupi” theater in Korce, the first phase of which will finish in 2015.
At the same time restauration process has begun for the “Shen Thanasi” church in Karavasta. The Minister of Culture Mirela Kumbaro and MP Erion Brace presented the project during Easter eve. “Shen Thanasi” church is located at Karavasta e Re village, in the vicinity of Karavasta lagoon. The building represents a cultural and historic monument, announced by decision nr. 6 dated 15.01.1963 of the State University Rectorate.
“Shen Thanasi” church dates in the second half of the 18th century, year 1778. In 1979 the painters Gjergji and Joan Katro painted the church with frescoes. The last restauration was made in 1986. The project is designed by IMK (Cultural Monument Institute) and goes up to 12 million ALL, for duration of 6 month.
What we notice during the Ministry of Culture activity lately is a significant concentration of investment in the Shkodra area. It’s not that we don’t agree, especially knowing the cultural importance of the city, but still a better coordination of investments throughout the country would be much more appreciated since many aeras are in need of emergency intereferences in the cultural field. At the same time we notice many started projects but yet not finalized.
That’s why we accentuate that a strategic plan and priority checklist in the cultural fields is needed so we don’t have to face in the future a pile of started projects, lots of money spent and no concrete results at the end.
1- Webi Zyrtar i Ministrise se Kultures
2- Webi i muzeut te Beratit
3- Qendra Kombetare e Muzeumeve
4- Webi i Ministrise se Kultures, Lajme
5- Webi i Ministrise, Lajme