Emergency consolidation works of the Clock Tower in Krujë, Albania

Fig. 2 Vendosja e skelerisëThe Castle of Kruja rises on a rocky ridge detached from Mount Sarisalltëk and the surrounding rock formations. It is one of the most valuable monuments for the local community of Kruja as well as having a special significance for all Albanians as it is considered as the place where the first resistance to the Ottomans took place with Skanderbeg.

The Clock Tower in the castle of Kruja is thought to have been built around XI-XII century, initially as an observation and signaling tower, which was also equipped with a bell. In its lower part, the technique of the Byzantine period can be distinguished, where masonry is combined with stones and rows of bricks. It is nowadays one of the most visited heritage sites of Albania and is listed as first category monument.
The earthquake of 1617 caused damages to the upper part of the tower. Interventions after the earthquake changed the shape of the pyramid trunk at the top. The 2019 earthquake hitting central Albania caused extensive damage to the walls of the Clock Tower, threatening it to collapse.

In response to this risk, and considering the cultural and historical value of this site, CHwB Albania, thanks to the support of Prince Claus Fund, started to conduct in march 2021 emergency consolidation works to reduce on the short term the risk of total collapse while the final interventions are being planned. The purpose of the project is to secure the clock tower and prevent further degradation even under seismic activity. The reinforcement will improve the capacity of the structure for a considerable period of time by creating opportunities for further documentation of the tower as well as the realization of the final restoration project.

CHwB Albania will take in consideration the solution of the reinforcement of the rock base, since it will be addressed in a separate project but affects directly the stability of the tower.

Key advancements:
Preliminary reinforcement, especially at the upper 2/3 of the tower volume using polyester straps and timber shoring.
Local consolidation of the wall where severe damage has occurred.
Full reinforcement of the tower with steel elements.