The public bath has long been an important element of social life in this region. From Roman baths as places for meetings, exercise and exchange to Ottoman-style baths housing a space for chat, intrigue and political discussions, they have both promoted a healthy recipe of cleanliness, relaxation, and socializing. Albania has inherited a number of baths from both the Roman and Ottoman Empires, including: the Roman baths in Durrës (1st century AD); the hammam of Shkodra (1540); the hammam of Lezha (1560); the hammam of Tirana (1614); the hammams in the bazaar (17th cent.) and in Sinan Pasha Castle in Elbasan; the hammam of Gjirokastra; and, the 15th-century hammam located in the castle of Kruja.
In Kruja, the hammam was for many years a forgotten relic. The restoration of this monument of culture, a key vestige of the local community and potential tourism attraction, is an important step toward developing a larger network of service-based heritage sites across Albania and the Balkans.
CHwB Albania’s objectives in this restoration and revitalization project included sustainably developing cultural heritage for income generation, by restoring this monument to its original function. This restoration promises renewed financial incentives for members of the community, revitalization of the surrounding neighborhood, increased tourism, and the beginning of a larger initiative focusing on building a national network of functional traditional hammams.
Kruja Hammam was restored by Cultural Heritage without Borders in cooperation with the Institute of Monuments of Culture and financed by the Government of Sweden during the years 2013-2015.