The Prizren castle contains an important part of ancient history of the city. Its topographic position, dominating the city, attractive landscape and the well thought architectural configuration, make this location with indisputable environmental, scientific, historical and touristic values. As an inherited asset from the Byzantine Empire, the castle lies on the southeast side of the city, built on a hill over 120 meters on the left side of the river Lumbardhi (Bistrica). This site has statutory protection and is declared a protected cultural heritage asset.
The project for the preservation of Prizren Castle is implemented by Cultural Heritage without Borders (CHwB), responsible for the interpretation, adaptation and management plan of the site as well as the Archaeological Institute of Kosovo, responsible for the excavation and conservation of the castle structures. The working group (WG) of the project composed of representatives of CHwB, the Archaeological Institute of Kosovo, Kosovo Council for Cultural Heritage, Council on Historic Centre of Prizren, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, Kosovo Institute for the Protection of Monuments, the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning, the Municipality of Prizren, NGOs and independent professionals have started the first activities for the implementation of the project.
The first meeting of the working group was held on the 30th of April 2015 in Prizren, with 20 present representatives. At this meeting, apart from the presentation of the US funded project, the research bibliography and resources for the site as well as current developments in the castle were presented. The objectives and tasks of the Working Group for a strategic approach to the locality were set at the meeting.
The second meeting of the working group, held on May 14, had SWOT analysis as the main subject, through which were derived the Advantages, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of the site. The analysis was done based on the four main components of the project: adaption, interpretation, management and conservation. This was followed by the PESTEL analysis, by assessing the risks of the site based on political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legislative factors. Risks were divided into high, medium and low ones. In the end, the working group has elaborated the vision of the castle, as follows:
“The castle of Prizren, a crown of civilizations, a venue of generations, which radiates antiquity, identity and future.”
The third meeting of the working group was held in early June as a two-day workshop in Durrës, Albania. During this workshop, critical issues derived from the SWOT analysis, as well as the identification of objectives, the definition of project results and indicators were defined and addressed. Finally, the WG has identified the activities, timelines and the definition of responsibilities of the parties involved in the project. In order to implement a comprehensive project and to address the critical issues, the WG will continue to have regular meetings throughout the project.
The memorandum of understanding for the preservation of Prizren Castle was signed on the 25th of September 2014, between CHwB Kosovo, Kosovo Archaeological Institute, Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport and the US Embassy in Pristina, which is also funding the project through the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Heritage. For more information check the description of project purpose and summary.