The Castle of Preza is believed to have been built around the beginning of the 15th century and it represents an important typology of the feudal medieval fortification, built upon a tuff rocky ridge, local material used also in its construction.
Through the years, more than for protection purposes, it has been used mostly as a strategic point to observe and have under control some of the most important economical roads and cities around the area. It has always been of a crucial importance for the locality of Preza and its inhabitants, and it still is today, being an important historic and touristic destination in the area and playing an important role in the citizen’s special sense of pride and identification with the place.
The earthquake of November 2019 caused several damages to some of the oldest and important cultural heritage assets in Albania, same way it affected the Castle of Preza, more precisely its most impacted and damaged structures were the clock tower, the consecutive round tower and the fortification wall in between.
Thanks to the financial support from the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation(AFCP), CHwB Albania under the supervision of the National Institute of Cultural Heritage, realized the restoration project focused specifically on these damaged structures in Preza in order to give this picturesque asset back to its community and curious tourists. Currently the project is in the phase of implementation since the 2nd of April and is planned to be finalised in 6 months time.
In order to design the interventions, a very important preceding step, has been studying the monument’s life cycle, history and its different intervention phases through the years, so as to be more faithful to the originality and identity of the monument.
Restoration project phases:
- Provisional reinforcement with tensioned polyester bandages to stabilize it meanwhile several delicate works will be carried out upon it.
- Consolidation of the clocktower’s masonry and structural rehabilitation with different levels of reinforcement.
- Reconstructions of the clock tower’s collapsed architectural and structural elements (part of its masonry corner, the four columns and roof structure together with the wooden staircase).
- Terrain investigation analyses and reinforcement interventions on different levels of the round tower, from the foundations to the upper wall, reconstruction in stone masonry, in order to preserve all the construction phases that the round tower has gone through.
- Consolidation and restoration of the fortification wall between the two towers.
The main purpose of the restoration project is to restore the monument from its decaying condition created through the years, rehabilitate it respecting its authenticity and originality but at the same time thinking in a longer-term perspective by giving it structural stability and therefore resistance against other possible natural disasters in the future.