Using traditional water cisterns to fight fire: A pilot project in two historical cities

The historical architecture of houses in the World Heritage sites of Berat and Gjirokastra, Albania is presenting a unique resource for fighting the threat of fire in these important sites. This pilot project explored the viability of using the houses’ traditional large cisterns as a dispersed source of water for firefighters and residents to respond quickly in case of fire.

Gjirokastra and Berat’s historic zones are vulnerable to a range of human and natural disasters. Of these, fire is one of the most common and most destructive. Devastating fires have destroyed entire houses and neighborhoods at multiple points in the histories of both cities.

To make matters worse, a number of factors limits the effectiveness of firefighting in Gjirokastra and Berat. Both cities suffer at times from a limited supply of water, particularly during the hot, dry summer months. Fire detection devices are almost unknown. And the cobblestone streets of the historic quarters are often too narrow for fire engines, while the close proximity of houses raises the risk of fire spreading rapidly from one building to the next.

One potential solution to these issues are the historic water cisterns found in many houses, which were used by families before the advent of the centralized town water system. These cisterns can hold an enormous amount of collected rainwater: from 50m³ to 120m³ of water, 15 times more than the capacity of a single fire truck.

Cistern-firetruck illustration

The aim of this project, therefore, was to revitalize the usage of historical water cisterns, as a means of addressing the threats and hazards facing Gjirokastra and Berat’s built heritage. In order to do so, the project also needed to revitalize intangible heritage, such as the ritual of collecting rainwater and the knowledge of traditional materials and practices.

In brief, the objectives of this project were to:

    • Develop an integrated strategy for disaster preparedness and response in case of fire;
    • Train local institutions and inhabitants to be prepared in case of emergency;
    • Raise awareness within the local community on how to behave in case of fire;
    • Engage a large array of social groups actively in the process of heritage protection and disaster response;
    • Conserve and restore the traditional water cisterns within the monuments and also revitalize the traditional ritual of collecting rainwater.

In Gjirokastra, CHwB-Albania staff identified several possible monuments for this last intervention, taking into consideration different aspects:

    • Coverage of all neighborhoods within the historical center;
    • The importance and values of the monuments;
    • The presence of functional water cisterns in the monuments;
    • The possible number of surrounding monuments to be covered by the fire extinguisher system in case of fire;
    • Accessibility of monuments by car;
    • Water supply in the neighborhood.

Based on these potential intervention sites, three different scales of proposals were developed, starting from solutions covering one monument to solutions covering a whole neighborhood. Throughout this process, meetings were organized between the CHwB team, the owners of the selected monuments, the fire department of the city, the directorate responsible for the maintenance of the monuments and a mechanical engineer so as to decide on the best possible solution for the system to be installed.

Based on the funds available for the project, it was decided to implement two pilot projects, one in each city, Berat and Gjirokastra. This was done in order to increase the impact of the project by extending this new approach to another important site, which faces many of the same problems as Gjirokastra, in terms of the threats to cultural heritage.

Installed system3The installation includes a pumping system within the cistern, which is connected to a hydrant on the street outside the house. This hydrant can be used by the owner of the house, as well as by the neighbors and also the fire department. In case of fire, the owners can immediately react in the first crucial minutes of the fire and localize it while the fire department can connect their pipes and use the water of the cistern to completely extinguish the fire. The whole system is automatic and completely independent of electricity.

As of now, the system is successfully installed and fully functional in Gjirokastra, while in Berat the works are still in progress.

Training of the local community on how to react in case of fire and how to use the system installed in the monuments will be organized by the fire departments in both cities.

This project was financed by the Prince Claus Fund and the Government of Sweden.

Note: A more in-depth version of this article by CHwB Deputy Executive Director Elena Mamani was included in the annual training publication of the Disaster Mitigation for Urban Cultural Heritage (DMUCH) program at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan.


Object of the Tender: Emergency Interventions for the Stabilization of the Buildings of Spaç Prison

Cultural Heritage without Borders – Albania  (CHwB – Albania) invites companies that are licensed to implement restoration works in the field of cultural heritage to deliver financial offers / valid for conservation works on the second-category monument Spaç Prison. This project is financed by the Swedish Government, through CHwB-Albania.

Place, office and ways to receive the tender documents:

The tender documents can be collected at the address: Rr. Ismail Qemali, P.34/1 Kt. III, Zyra Nr.15, Tiranë, starting from the date of this announcement 26/04/2017, until the date 03/05/2017. The documents can be collected between the hours of 10:00 and 16:30.

To download the full announcement, please click here: Burgu i Spacit-njoftimi i tenderit (in Albanian)


E-mail: gro.b1624211910whc@a1624211910inabl1624211910a1624211910

Telephone: 069 622 4567


Camp volunteers needed – apply now!

Interpretation CampAre you a former Camp participant looking to stay involved with the Regional Restoration Camps? Do you want to share your knowledge and experience with a new group of eager participants?

CHwB-Albania is looking for volunteers to assist at this year’s Regional Restoration Camps. Camp volunteers will attend the full camp and assist with a variety of tasks to help make the experience as rewarding as possible for participants. They will help organizers, craftspeople and participants with issues of coordination, communication and guidance. Be sure you understand the duties and meet the eligibility and qualifications before applying!

Why Volunteer?

By volunteering you will have the opportunity to make the difference; every person counts. Your help in conserving and promoting cultural heritage is vital for passing it on to the next Camp volunteer in actiongenerations. Working with participants and lecturers, the Camps make possible the preservation and maintenance of cultural sites, artefacts and traditions. They also strengthen the connection of communities with their heritage. Working with Camps puts us in contact with many people on a daily basis. For this reason, we can offer support to all “heritage-keepers.”

This is a valuable opportunity to gain new skills or build knowledge and experience in the field of cultural heritage, specifically on building conservation, conservation of artifacts, interpretation, traditional crafts and entrepreneurship. The close cooperation with craftspeople, artisans and lecturers will increase your knowledge on conservation and craftsmanship. You will have the opportunity to socialize, meet people and make new friends who share the same interests as you. Those who volunteer at the Shkodra Camp will also have the opportunity to get a 2-day training on group work facilitation.

What are the duties of a Camp Volunteer?

Volunteers will receive instructions related to their responsibilities during the Camp. They may be asked to assist with the following areas:

  • Organizational tasks (responsibility over the registration, lecture room, tools)
  • Responsibility over the working sites (assisting the crafts, documenting each project, implementing safety measures, making sure everyone is working towards the final result)
  • Communication/Community (being the bridge between organizers and participants, translations, facilitating discussions, communicating with local community and media)

Eligibility Requirements

  • Be a former participant of a CHwB Albania Regional Restoration Camp
  • Speak fluent English. Speaking the primary language of the country where the Camp is held is an added value: Albanian (for the Camps in Albania & Kosovo) or Serbian/Bosnian/Croatian (for the Camp in Serbia)
  • Be an honest, cheerful and efficient worker
  • For Shkodra Camp, you should have some prior experience with heritage interpretation, either through the Regional Restoration Camps or through your work.

Save the dates!

Be sure to pay close attention to the dates, themes and deadlines for each of the 2017 Camps.

Please take note of the volunteer application DEADLINE for each Camp below:

Prishtina, Kosovo  14-27 May Conservation of artefacts, interpretation 16 April
Berat, Albania  14-27 May Building conservation, interpretation 16 April
Kruja, Albania  4-16 June Historical crafts and entrepreneurship 16 April
Shkodra, Albania  9-21 July Dynamic heritage interpretation 12 May
Rogljevo, Serbia 13-26 Sept Building conservation, interpretation 30 June
Gjirokastra, Albania  24 Sept – 14 Oct Building conservation, interpretation 30 June


CHwB Albania will cover all in-country costs for volunteers, including accommodation, meal allowance, excursions, travel within the country and costs connected to volunteer duties. Volunteers coming from outside the country will have to cover their own costs for travel to the country where the camp is located.

How to apply

  1. If you meet these requirements and want to dive back into the exciting and rewarding atmosphere of the CHwB-Albania Regional Restoration Camps, download the PDF application (below):
  2. Fill out the application completely, including all supporting documents
  3. Send the entire application by email or post to:



CHwB Albania
Rr. Ismail Qemali
P. 34/1, Kt. III, Zr. 15


Call for Applications: 2nd module – Professional Course on Traditional Building Techniques

The organization Cultural Heritage without Borders Albania, the Institute of Monuments of Culture, Regional Directorates of National Culture of Berat, Gjirokastër and Korça, Regional Directorates of Public Vocational Trainings of Gjirokastra and Korça and the Professional High School “Stiliano Bandilli” in Berat announce the opening of the application period for  the 2nd module of vocational training in traditional building techniques.

The course will take place during 6 months of intensive training.
The training will be divided into the following modules:

  • 8 weeks of theoretical training, covering subjects such as basic principles of conservation, traditional materials and techniques, evaluation and documentation
  • 4 weeks of combined theoretical and practical training, divided into three main materials: stone, wood, plaster/mortar
  • 12 weeks of practical works in historical buildings.

The training will run parallel in three historical cities Berat, Gjirokastër and Korça. The participants will get a certificate from the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth*.

*As part of the project, there will be a fund covering the expenses of the participants. The organizers will cover the following expenses: expenses of the training (lectures, spaces needed for the training, construction materials, tools, safety tools, training related transport costs), meal allowances of 5 EUR/day (this amount is appropriate for lunch in each of the three sites).

Applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Have an Albanian citizenship
  • Have finished high-school

Note: Different trainings or work experiences with historic buildings are considered as an extra value.

 Application period is open until 12th of April 2017, 12:00

Interested parties can apply by submitting the application form and all supporting documents (clarified in the application form) at the Regional Directorates of National Culture of their city:

Regional Directorates of National Culture Berat

Address: Mangalem, Rr. “Petrit Lulo” Berat
Telephone No: 03 232393

Regional Directorates of National Culture Gjirokastër

Address : Pazari Gjirokastër, Rr. “Peço Kirka” Gjirokastër
Telephone No: 0692271259

Regional Directorates of National Culture Korçë

Address: Lagjja 11, Rr. “Lefter Serafini”
Telephone No: 08 2243122

This project is financed by the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the Swedish Government.

Announcing the 2017 Regional Restoration Camps on their 10th anniversary

The Regional Restoration Camps are turning 10 years old!

Starting in September 2007 in Gjirokastra, the RRCs have had a long and successful journey. It is a moment to celebrate each of the participants, each lecturer, each craftsperson and partner that contributed to make the RRCs what they are today, while creating new opportunities for more young professionals of the region. Over the course of the year, we will be highlighting the people and places that make the Camps special, so be on the lookout!

Camp Themes

For 2017, all four of the Camp themes are back! Read more below about each topic and location below:

The 2017 Regional Restoration Camps will provide participants with engaging lectures and hands-on experience with restoration, conservation and historic crafts, using traditional materials and techniques, as well as with the interpretation of cultural heritage sites and museums. During each Camp, participants will follow a rigorous but very fulfilling schedule, which combines theory – through lectures and presentations – with exercises and physical work on historic monuments and artefacts in different locations around the region.

Each activity will be directly helping local residents – working to preserve their historic monuments, artefacts and crafts, and giving them new ways of understanding, enjoying and revitalizing them.

Don’t miss your chance to take part in this incredible experience!

Save the dates!

Be sure to pay close attention to the dates, themes and deadlines for each of the 2017 Camps. For more information on each Camp theme, click on the links below:

Prishtina, Kosovo  14-27 May Conservation of artefacts, interpretation 9 April
Berat, Albania  14-27 May Building conservation, interpretation 9 April
Kruja, Albania  4-16 June Historical crafts and entrepreneurship 9 April
Shkodra, Albania  9-21 July Dynamic heritage interpretation 12 May
Rogljevo, Serbia 13-26 Sept Building conservation, interpretation 2 July
Gjirokastra, Albania  24 Sept – 14 Oct Building conservation, interpretation 2 July

While they will be conducted separately, these restoration camps form part of a region-wide push to encourage people to understand the value and learn how to care for their local heritage. The main objective is to use cultural heritage as a platform for professionals, both men and women, to meet and create conditions for building peace within a democratic society, respecting human rights, and stimulating local economic growth through the development of cultural heritage.

For Albania, this year’s Camps will be a continuation of the enlarged RRC program that features cooperation between CHwB Albania and the Albanian-American Development Foundation (AADF), the Albanian Ministry of Culture and the Faculty of History and Philology at the University of Tirana.

The 2017 Regional Restoration Camps are financed by the Albanian-American Development Foundation and the Government of Sweden.

Fees & Scholarships

The fee for participation in the Camps is 800 euros. This fee will cover tuition, on-site accommodation with breakfast, camp materials and tools, emergency health insurance and planned excursions. Participants will be responsible for paying for their own meals, as well as travel to the location of the Camp. Those costs are not included in the participation fee.

For all accepted applicants from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia, there will be a scholarship to cover the costs of the Camp. The scholarship will pay the full 800 euro fee.

New opportunities for former participants

Considering the variety of themes the RRC offer, we would like to give former Camps participants the chance to attend a camp with a new theme without having to pay the fee. (For example, if you were at a building conservation camp, you can submit your application for the interpretation camp or the historical crafts camp.) We like to see familiar faces, but keep in mind that first-time applicants will still have priority.

The same country-based eligibility requirements apply. (Participants from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia are eligible for free attendance).

If you are applying to a camp with the same theme as the camp you attended before, then you must still pay the fee.

How to Apply

  1. Download the PDF application form (below):
  2. Fill out the application completely, including all supporting documents
  3. Send the entire application by email or post to:
    CHwB Albania
    Rr. Ismail Qemali
    P. 34/1, Kati III, Zyra 15
    Tiranë, ALBANIA
  4. CHwB Albania staff will confirm that we have received your application. If you do not receive a confirmation email within 1 week, please contact us at gro.b1624211910whc@C1624211910RR1624211910

Volunteer leaders needed 

A note for past RRC participants: Would you like to experience the Camps again from the perspective of an organizer? If so, you may apply to be a volunteer leader:



Notes from the experience of Heritage Ateliers 2016


A successful collaboration with teachers, educators and parents

During 2016 CHwB Albania undertook 13 ateliers in various cities and villages of Albania, such as in Gjirokastra, Berat and Tirana and also in Kosovo, Prishtina. The children participating the ateliers were 273. The ateliers were organized in a close collaboration with 70 responsible people, belonging to the schools staff, specialists of the fields and different volunteers that helped with the organization of the ateliers. We are pleased to underline that often the professionals themselves leaded the activities and provided a detailed feedback regarding the articles of the collection and how they could be improved or enriched further.

From various comments we’ve got from teachers, parents and well-wishers, we know that there are many request for organizing similar ateliers and this makes us work with more dedication to include as many children as possible in similar activities, to continue spreading the message that the heritage belongs to all of us, wherever and whenever we are, and to hope about the stability of this initiative and about the systematic organization of related activities.

A special attention to the children with less access to education about heritage


This year the work with the ateliers was focused in the rural areas, such as in Përsqop and Shkozë (Tiranë), or Shën Todër and Zinxhira neighbourhood (in Gjirokastër); in areas where because of the difficult economic conditions, the inclusion of the children in similar activities is sometimes almost impossible.  At the same time, we focused in specific groups, such as the Roma and Egyptian community, the children with specific needs and the abandoned children. This task was both challenging, but also gave us immense feelings of solidarity and delight.

In collaboration with the Centre of Autistic Children in the city of Gjirokastra, several ateliers were organized for the children with special needs and the autistic children. There were ateliers held with the Roma community in the kindergarten of Zinxhira (Gjirokastra) and in Tirana. The Egyptian community became part of an atelier organized with the kindergarten of the “Lagje Punëtore” Neigbourhood in Gjirokastra. These ateliers have aimed to spread the message that everyone has the right to cherish and to have access to the cultural heritage, as it in fact belongs to everyone. Through the ateliers we have aimed to make the active participation possible and to help the young ones get to know the heritage, by helping them understand, and evaluate the conditions for saving and promoting the heritage.

This years’ new article: Fustanella

fustanella1To various topics of “E Ka Kush e Ka” children series a new item has been added for this year: “Fustanella”. The item, which was welcomed by children, has increased further the range of topics of Albanian cultural heritage for children of different age groups. The new article was first used in an atelier in the 9-year-old “Petro Goga” in the village of Shën Todër, Lunxhëri. Taking impetus from “fustanella”, this booklet tries to provide knowledge on this clothing tradition by addressing important topics like lifestyles change over time, as well as the risks of their uniformity. Also, the booklet invites children in a careful and critical debate focusing on gender issues. There is no better example than the beauty and elegance of Fustanella to soften the gender prejudices are advocating the fact that feelings, dreams, human rights and even dresses belong to all humans alike.

Positive impact on further professional and personal growth

2-2CHwB Albania has worked closely with pedagogic staff fulfilling somehow their needs and demand for alternative activities. Sustainable approach in such activities is a need that unites different structures we collaborate with, such as kindergartens, schools, cultural centers for children, and specialized structures.

img_7070The attitude of the teaching staff, educators, teachers or specialists, is different as a result of difficulties they have in their  annual work plan. In order to be more effective, we will need to look at the work plan together with the teaching staff and establish a joint calendar of ateliers to increase compliance with curricula and maximize the impact of ateliers (knowledge about cultural heritage from practical activities, visits and discussions).

dsc09640Another difficulty has been the lack of the necessary logistics in schools that has prevented rural children from knowing their heritage aspects which  are very close to them. Thus while working in Shën Todër, children responded negatively to the question whether they had visited Gjirokastra’s monument houses, meanwhile we learned from teachers that the excursions to Gjirokastra are almost impossible.

img_7070Ateliers distribution has increased our efficiency in  developing activities which represented us the need of knowledge about cultural heritage that these children have. The combination of activity, where intertwined theory and the game makes the access to the monuments, cultural heritage larger, due to the fact that children learn more through personal experiences and methods. More interaction with the surrounding community, facilities, cultural heritage, etc, has been made possible through increasing sense of curiosity to these children.

1In each workshop we have seen different emotional reactions from children, somewhere embracing us, somewhere asking us to come back and demanding more booklets for their brothers and sisters. This makes us happy, but entails us with more responsibilities to increase the impact of action of ateliers by including as many children, parents and teachers. These are the first front for the education and training of the best citizens of tomorrow (more than one parent has asked us, “How and where can our children enroll in such activities?”). This makes us reflect on how we can help further, given that this is a problem that is often cited by the teaching staff in schools and kindergartens who we have cooperated so far.

MoU Signed for Launching of “Skills for Employability of Tomorrow” Programme

5In Tirana on December 12, Cultural Heritage without Borders – Albania (CHwB Albania), the Institute of Monuments of Culture, the Regional Directorates for National Culture in Gjirokastra, Berat and Korça; the National Directorates of Public Vocational Training in Gjirokastra and Korça and “Stiliano Bandilli” High School, Berat, held a ceremony to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

2The MoU is the affirmation of the commitment of the parties to launch the “Skills for Employability of Tomorrow” programme. With technical support from domestic and international experts, the programme will provide certification for senior craftspeople (former employees of “ateliers”) and the transferring of their knowledge to new apprentices. The program aims to increase the employment opportunities of certified people and improve the level of interventions in cultural heritage buildings, according to the criteria defined in national and international legislation.


The Executive Director of CHwB Albania, Lejla Hadžić, welcomed the opportunity to conclude the MoU with the Institute of Monuments of Culture and the partners, and acknowledged the important contribution that this intensive training can give to developing the national curricula in the field of conservation and restoration in line with EU standards; to develop & continuously implement certified vocational training in historical crafts; to create prerequisites for newly certified craftspeople to be continuously employed; to enhance accessibility to training/employment opportunities and to improve the quality of restoration works in Albania.

6“We are embarking on 26-month-long intensive modules in 3 historical cities of Albania: Gjirokastra, Berat and Korça.  The goal is to have 60 senior craftspersons certified, while together with them to have also 100 young apprentices skilled for historical repair. This allows the Ministry of Culture to pursue its battle on the regulation of profession, to result in conservation companies employing the certified and skilled masters. This allows us to create employment opportunities for them and others. Ultimately this leads us to more quality conservation and finally to a better utilization of heritage for local development,” said Ms. Hadžić.


The Minister of Culture, Mirela Kumbaro, expressed how delighted she is about signing this new MoU. She thanked the partners for funding the project and for the trust they have shown. Ms. Kumbaro said that the partners must continuously join forces to preserve the knowledge for cultural heritage. “I consider this project very important, and this is not the first collaboration with CHwB Albania. We have found a partner whose actions are shown in the field. The model of CHwB is of vital importance because it is now followed by other actors in Gjirokastra and Berat,” stated Minister Kumbaro.

9Albin Gega, Director of Education Policies, Vocational Training and Qualifications at the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth, emphasized that the Ministry hopes to offer its support to many similar initiatives. Pointing to the new law on crafts, he highlighted its benefits, which protects every Albanian production within the area of cultural heritage, as an incentive for people who practice this craft, and sets correct market prices in the field.

10The Ambassador of Sweden, H.E. Johan Ndisi, was pleased to acknowledge that the partners and donors laid the foundation for a successful collaboration that intends to enhance the potential and capacity of human resources in the field of cultural heritage. “It is important the fact that this program responds to specific needs. With its values and objectives, and with the European curriculum, it will increase the quality of the restorations in Albania. The partnership in this agreement is multi-dimensional, and I am happy for that. Heritage is an important asset for tourism of Albania,” Mr. Ndisi stressed.

4For H.E. Anke Holstein, deputy head of Mission of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Albania, this MoU is the example of a perfect combination. “I’m happy that in this combination we have youth and heritage. With this MoU the youth has a model for dreaming and building their future in the country,” she said.

3The “Skills for Employability of Tomorrow” programme will be implemented through two modules of 6-month intensive training in the cities of Gjirokastra, Berat and Korça. The training consists of 3 parts (theory, theory-practice and practice). Both modules will be implemented during the period 2016-2017 and will be the first pilot program of this type in Albania.

“Skills for Employability of Tomorrow” is funded by the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the Government of Sweden.

Exhibition of “Kruja Artisans” Opens with Unique Line of Products

artizanetkrujes6On Tuesday, Cultural Heritage without Borders – Albania (CHwB Albania) in collaboration with the Albanian-American Development Fund (AADF) and the Tourism Improvement District (TID Kruja) opened a unique exhibition with the artistic works of the artisans of the Old Bazaar of Kruja.

The exhibition is the result of months of hard work through the CHwB-Albania project “Artisans of Kruja,” which was financed by AADF. This project aimed to revive craftwork in the Bazaar of Kruja and to create a new line of products that would attract the attention of the local market, as well as cross borders.

artizanetkrujes05The representatives of CHwB Albania, AADF, TID Kruja, the Municipality and the craftspeople of the city, together with their sons and daughters and many visitors were present at the opening of this exhibition. In her welcoming speech, Ms. Arianna Briganti, “Artisans of Kruja” project manager, emphasized that this activity has been challenging and has required the dedication of all those involved in it. Happily, the expectations of the parties from the beginning of the project have now been fulfilled.

“To achieve this wonderful exhibition, we have all together faced many challenges. The seminars and the study trips that we have organized have helped us to realize the importance of identifying the origin of the products in the Bazaar, the steps to promote the craft works, the importance of keeping alive the old heritage, the economic benefits of craft working, etc. Now while we are looking at these products that hold your brand, your effort, your dedication, we all have to feel proud,” said Ms. Briganti.

artizanetkrujes20Then Cultural Heritage without Borders’s Executive Director, Ms. Lejla Hadžić, took the floor.
“We are gathered here to celebrate a moment of success of the implementers of this project, its funders, but above all the success of all Kruja artisans. Each of them has developed an extraordinary work that will have a great success.”


artizanetkrujes07The representative of AADF, Mr. Oltion Dervishi, complimented the opening of such an exhibition. “The AADF chose the city of Kruja, the most visited city in Albania, for the promotion of tourism and to ensure preservation of cultural heritage resources. We have restored the Bazaar, and we continuously provide advisory services and grants to businesses operating in the area. Initiatives such as ‘Artisans of Kruja’ have our institutional support, and I am here to assure you that this support will always be,” said Mr. Dervishi.  The Head of TID Kruja, Mr. Idriz Çela, added that the collaboration with CHwB Albania has been fruitful in increasing the variety of products offered, raising the values of the bazaar and adapting handworks to contemporary needs. “We also hope to raise awareness so that the younger generation can come closer to the idea of artisanship and pass on this tradition from generation to generation,” he concluded.

artizanetkrujes4For Ms. Elida Çela, who transmits the best values of the Albanian tradition through traditional costumes, the “Artisans of Kruja” project has given the artisans great ideas. “Besides our continuous work with consultants I’d emphasize the importance of the business trips we had. Meeting the artisans, talking with them, visiting their work spaces and their shops has inspired us to start developing new products and undertaking small improvements in our shops,” she said.

artizanetkrujes14Ms. Kristina Mjeda, an experienced artisan and businesswoman from Shkodra, helped in developing new products to create unique combinations of artisanal souvenirs. “I believe that the bazaar in Kruja has unique values for our country because, besides its historical and architectural landscape, it is enriched by the talented artisans working there. Based on my experience as an artisan and as a businesswoman, I think that the bazaar is on the right path towards further development, through which it will be able to better accommodate the needs of an ever-changing market,” she stressed.

artizanetkrujes06At the end of this important journey, we are delighted to see that “Artisans of Kruja” succeeded in strengthening the artisans’ capabilities by enabling them to access a wider segment of the market. “Artisans of Kruja” project partners believe that it contributed towards a unified and distinctive Albanian brand, which blends tradition and modernity, launching a new face of Kruja.

CHwB Hosts Disaster Risk Management Training for Heritage Professionals and Disaster Risk Management Practitioners

bcaregjirokasterThree offices of Cultural Heritage without Borders in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosova, organized the “International Training on Disaster Risk Management for Cultural Heritage”. The training hosted 28 professionals from museums, heritage and disaster risk management coming from the Western Balkans, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

bcare20161The three-week training programme started in Sarajevo, at the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The first week focused on the preservation of museum artefacts in situations of flood, fire or human neglect. For Aida Salketić, program manager at the CHwB Bosnia and Herzegovina office, the training in Sarajevo was very successful. “First of all, we introduced the participants to the training and disaster risk management cycle and practices. We focused on museum collections and museum practices through lectures and also simulations of first aid and evacuation of museum objects after disaster,” she said. Ms. Salketić, who is also an art historian, praised the strong teamwork all throughout the training.

bosseDuring the second week in Prishtina, participants applied the disaster risk management cycle in an urban context, trying to answer questions such as how does disaster risk management fit into the integrated planning of historic cities. Nol Binakaj, deputy-head of CHwB Kosova office, says that the training met their expectations. “For a week we tried to identify the values of Prishtina city center. While assessing the objects, we also included the new monuments such as ‘Newborn’ or the Palace of Youth. Through this we wanted to show that not only the old monuments have values,” he emphasized. For Mr. Binakaj, who is also an architect, “the diversity of the participants, as for their countries and educational backgrounds, gave to all the opportunity to exchange views and ideas. Moreover, the training helped the cultural connection of the participants. This kind of relation that is created during these activities, helps smooth the divisions, regionally and not only.”

bcareThe third and final week of the training was held in the UNESCO World Heritage City of Gjirokastra, Albania. Elena Mamani, vice-director of CHwB Albania, highlighted the fact that the program combined both theoretical lectures from regional and international experts with practical field exercises designed to reflect real-world situations and test participants’ knowledge. “The goal of the training is for heritage professionals or participants with other profiles to learn practical skills for cultural heritage protection and preparedness. “Participants studied different methods and strategies to preserve intangible heritage. Some of the most important topics that were discussed were: assessing the risks for intangible cultural heritage, the importance of documentation for this heritage, etc.,” said Ms. Mamani.

img_1464-copyAn important part of the training, which also gained the attention of the local community, was the discussion panel on cultural heritage and humanitarian response. Panel members included: Birgitta Jansson, Head of Development Cooperation, Swedish Embassy in Tirana; Xhuvanaq Gjylameti, Director of the National Emergency Operations Centre, Ministry of Interior Affairs; Sonila Kora, Directorate of Tangible Heritage and Museums, Ministry of Culture; and Catherine Antomarchi, Director of the Collections Unit at ICCROM in Rome. They discussed, among other things, about providing more training opportunities for creating volunteer networks and integrating local views and values in humanitarian response.

img_1205_macedoniaA ‘Culture Night’ organized during the last week was a fun way for participants to share their cultures with each other. Participants came together as ensembles to show off their beautiful cultures, reflected in their songs, dance, food, drinks and poetry. Moving performances of singing and dancing truly manifested the unifying spirit of our cultural diversity.

bcarecertificateThis three-week training was organised within the regional project Balkan Cultural Aid Response for Emergencies (B+CARE). B+CARE is a platform founded in March 2016, in order to inspire, train and coordinate volunteers for the work of preparing and assisting in the event of a cultural emergency. B+CARE is funded by the Prince Clause Fund for Culture and Development from the Netherlands and the Government of Sweden.

Celebrating Universal Children’s Day with Heritage Atelier


The mosaic of Albanian traditional costumes is composed of thousands of elements, regarding their destinations, time, ethnographic zones and regions, etc. Undoubtedly, one of the most intriguing national costumes is the Fustanella. In order to rediscover this treasure, and through it, our cultural heritage, CHwB Albania has released the seventh booklet of “E Ka Kush e Ka!” Children Series:FUSTANELLA – Moda Shqiptare e Fustaneve për Burra.


On the occasion of Universal Children’s Day , CHwB Albania in collaboration with the Regional Directorate of Education in Gjirokastra and “Petro Poga” School in Lunxhëri organised a heritage atelier with the Fustanella booklet. 22 children, aged between 7-9 years old, became part of this activity whichhelped them to re-discover this ancient costume. The children took great pleasure in the activity, andexpressed a desire to pursue further projects of this kind.

In another activity with the Center of Autism in Gjirokastra, CHwB Albania organised an atelier with the puzzle of Kokobobo house ceiling. Fabjola, Kristi, and the other wonderful children of this centre had fun learning together, including the specialists and the CHwB Albania staff.

For a web sample of the FUSTANELLA booklet click here.