Cultural Heritage without Borders has started implementation of “Gjirokastra: Where the Change Begins”, a project that is taking a new approach to saving Gjirokastra’s tower houses. The initiative is being financed by Prince Claus Fund, through their Cultural Emergency Response program.
Crews have begun clearing out the debris from the damaged roof and sorting out the material that can be reused at the Hadëri house, a prominent second-category monument in the historic center of Gjirokastra. In a couple of days, similar works will begin on the Gurgaj monument.
The Hadëri monument is facing a full collapse of the roof and partial collapse of the walls, due to a complete lack of maintenance. The inhabitants were forced to leave the monument some years ago, which has left the monument unprotected from elements and other risks. A fire at the site in April 2012 resulted in the collapse of a significant part of the roof and of the original floors and ceilings. The further collapse of the western façade occurred in June 2013, followed by another partial collapse in January 2014. This led to a decision by the Committee of Emergencies to demolish part of the western façade. The argument for demolition was based on the danger that the ruins posed for the neighbors and passing pedestrians.
This project by CHwB and Prince Claus Fund aims to stop the further deterioration of this monument through consolidation and reinforcement of the remaining parts of the house. This will include stabilizing stone walls, reinforcing vaults, structural consolidation and partial repairs to the roof structure.
This is the first project of its kind in the historical zone of Gjirokastra. The ultimate goal is to consolidate several partially collapsed monuments, using these works to further raise awareness about the many other Gjirokastra monuments in a similar condition, which need to be consolidated with the utmost urgency.
The final stage of this project will be the installment of a printed image of the original facade on the scaffolding surrounding the house – something that would temporarily give back to the Hadëri monument its visual identity.