Public debate on train stations and other neglected areas of Kosovo

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Train stations in Kosovo are in degraded condition. For new generations, the train itself is something rarely experienced, a culture that still must be acknowledged that for a large mass of people even today is something unknown, as an experience.

Not only train stations are forgotten and neglected places. Similarly, buildings in the entire territory of Kosovo are left in the mercy of time, risked by the human factor, in official papers everything seems great, whereas in practice they are destroyed and not functional.

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However, there is still hope that something might change. Not only with the railways in Kosovo, not only with the building of former Boxing Club of Prishtina, nor with Vushtrri Castle, but also with a lot of spaces, which with very little and funding could be converted in attraction.

A panel started this morning in Banhof, a space within the Train Station of Prishtina. The public debate gathered actors to prevent forgetfulness of these buildings. “KtheKryte” (from Albanian Look Back/Open Your Eyes) is a campaign as a starting point to turn attention alongside spaces and buildings that can be regenerated.

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Orgesa Arifi from the organization Cultural Heritage without Borders, said more about this initiative, and created a link to the High Line in New York, a space which would be destroyed unless there was the will of two persons to then create what today is known as an attraction, with many ways to pass the time.

“As a simple citizen, with this initiative I want to show that we need to raise the voice on this issue. I regret that I hear here that institutions do little about these buildings and spaces, but I wish that people here are motivated and I ask for a citizen collaboration on this initiative ” stated Orgesa.

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Albert Heta, on the other hand, spoke more of the space that was once known as Boxing Club -Prishtina. From an American- Jewish artist who came to Prishtina to find spaces where earlier the Jewish community had access, incidentally Heta reveals the history of this building, more information about it and today he is trying that with some other cultural actors to operationalize this space.

“The responsibility to protect these buildings does not lie with Infrakos, but with the Ministry of Culture, because the Minister is a key person in this case, it is because the law is centralized in Kosovo and our laws centralize the culture” shows Heta. “And from this artist we discovered the building, where the work is really hard, because it is a building constructed in a way as we do often, build something, then add something later. The building was left there to be demolished, and if it was not for the Jewish case, I doubt that the Municipality would give access to it for the public “shows Heta.

Valdrin Kasumaj spoke in the debate as a representative of Infrakos – Department of Planning and Development. Kasumaj showed that it was tried to preserve the railway line Drenas – Peja but there was no citizen will, since people have destroyed a good part of the line and the buildings along it for their low interests. He said this part of the railway line was built by a French company, which was fully operational on 12 July 1936.

“I appeal to the institutions but also among youth and to initiatives as this one of CHwB to work more on regenerating these spaces. We are trying with our capacity to give life to these buildings but much more work is needed” shows Kasumaj.

Astrit Nixha, architect, also spoke in the debate and supported the need for intervention in these forgotten trains stations in Kosovo, while Shpresa Rama from the municipality of Vushtrri showed the example of Vushtrri Castle, as a good example of operationalizing a space that has actually been a potato barn.

The Public Campaign ‘KtheKryte’ is aimed at increasing attention of public and institutions towards cultural heritage, as our common memory. Our historic environment more than ever is threatened by neglect and abandonment, intentional destruction of buildings and the wild transformations of urban centers. (Text: Arben Selmani – Kultplus.com)

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This time we talked about train stations, next time we will talk about other neglected buildings that are still part of the collective memory of our society.

We thank the participants and panelists who were part of the first debate #KtheKryte.

See you soon,
#KtheKryte

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