As of November 2012, Cultural Heritage without Borders Kosovo office, with the financial support of the U.S. Embassy in Pristina, and in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and the Municipality of Vushtrri, began implementing the Conservation and Restoration of Vushtrri Hammam (public bath), a monument of architectural heritage.
The hammam in Vushtrri lies in the city centre and consists of construction structures with layers of different historical periods. This hammam, probably from the same time as the Ghazi Ali Bey’s Mosque in Vushtrri (c. XV), is known as one of the earliest hammams in the Balkans. According to historical sources, the Vushtrri hammam was built in two phases. The part of the entrance setting made of tuff stone is said to be built in the XVII century, whereas other premises covered by three domes were built at the end of the XV century. It served as a public bath for both men and women, who used this bathhouse separately on the designated days. This hammam was used for such purpose until the late ‘70s.
First part of the project was focused on the development of the conservation plan, documentation of existing state, research on both its historical background and relevant documentation upon which suggestions were given for further treatment of this structure. During the documenting process, key problems of the building were identified, such as: various damages that were incurred over time as a result of weather conditions, constructional issues, erroneous treatments and vandalism.
As a result of research conducted on the site the prioritization of damages was conducted as well. Interventions in the hammam were partial and mainly focused on the consolidation of the whole existing structure, reconstruction of collapsed parts of the walls, removal of layers of cement mortar that were improperly applied and replacing with plaster of the same composition as the original, consolidation of the vaulted domes both in inside and outside, as well as covering of the entire hammam with roof tiles. Consolidation of the existing structure of the building has been one of the greatest challenges of reconstruction effort. Along with the reconstruction of collapsed walls, works were undertaken for filling of the cracks with injection-based method. Surfaces of smaller vaulted domes were also consolidated and consolidation interventions on the central dome were carried out with pointing injections and carbon sash. The most important elements of the damaged exterior were treated as well, such as stone cornices of the external walls and domes, consolidation of the door and windows’ stones; and the stone joints on the façades of this edifice were also cleaned and refilled in with lime mortar.
Should also be noted that, during the restoration process, traditional materials and techniques were used. This process has also served to enhance the skills of local craftsmen by having these techniques revived thus to increase the interest for traditional technique of construction.
Foreseen works were completed within the set deadline, respectively in the first week of June 2014, while the total investment of all aforementioned phases circled the amount of $ 132,435.00.
On this occasion CHwB Kosovo addresses its acknowledgment to the U.S. Embassy in Pristina as a donor committed to the preservation of cultural heritage in Kosovo, as well as all the partners and associates who contributed to the realization of this phase.
For additional general information about the project please click here.