The urban ensemble of the Grand Bazaar in Gjakova dates from c. XVI of the Ottoman period and has 525 important buildings. It is known as the largest bazaar in the South Eastern Europe. The Bazaar has served for crafts, trade and central administration of that time. Today it is a cultural-historical, touristic, commercial and crafts complex. All events associated with the city of Gjakova are connected with the development of the Grand Bazaar. The architectural feature of the area is its construction. The construction style is traditional, with local materials: stone, wood, adobe, old traditional roof tiles, lead, etc.
In 1999, 431 of buildings in the Bazaar were burned, with all other historical cultural monuments. Much of it was revived after the war thanks to private investments and aid of international organizations. In addition to that, over 50 other buildings, not yet reconstructed, are pending for donations. For the moment, despite not small investments in the reconstruction of the complex, a large part of it is not operating adequately. Until now several initiatives has been taken to revive the whole area, which unfortunately ended without any result.
At the beginning of this year, CHwB office in Kosovo in cooperation with partner institutions of central and local level have started to draft the strategy for the regeneration of Gjakova Bazaar, titled “Historic Urban Spaces – Framework for the regeneration of the Great Bazaar in Gjakova”.
First analysis about existing functions in Grand Bazaar of Gjakova
On 19 of March 2015 was held a workshop where the topic of the vision with inclusive methodology was treated with participants such as: craftsmen, civil engineers and architects, representatives of local and central government, civil society and representatives of the community and businesses. After setting the vision statement, participants further discussed concrete actions listed in order to achieve this vision. To achieve the vision statement, this working group met last month in two previous meetings where they discussed and agreed upon the issue of determining the profile and challenges of the Grand Bazaar, made through a SWOT analysis (Strengths;Weaknesses; Opportunities & Threats).
In the following months two other workshops with all stakeholders are planned, which will address the topics for identification of needs/measures and actions/ projects as well as determining priorities, resources and timelines. In July 2015 it is expected that this document will be finalized, focused on three topics emerged from the vision: 1. Management, 2. Cultural Tourism & development of cultural heritage and 3. Communications/Mobility. With this document and comprehensive approach opportunities for specific actions in the service of the functioning of the Grand Bazaar of Gjakova, will be created.
The project “Historic Urban Space – the Framework for the regeneration of the Great Bazaar in Gjakova” is one of the priorities of the Local Cultural Heritage Plan of Gjakova. This priority was identified in the framework of the Program of Local Cultural Heritage Plans 2012-2015 drafted by CHwB, the Municipality of Gjakova and other central level institutions.