Flash News


The preservation of stone crafts in Gjirokastër is encouraged

The preservation of stone crafts in Gjirokastër is encouraged

In Gjirokastra, efforts are being made by local stone craftsmen to encourage young people to take up this profession.

The rapid development of tourism is accompanied by great needs for the restoration of historical houses about 200 years old.

The European Union has recently supported the exchange of experience in stone crafts in the historical areas on both sides of the Albanian-Greek border.

In a building of Gjirokastra's historical bazaar, Rifo Huso, a master roofer, talks about his experience to a group of young architects.

In the historic city that is protected by UNESCO, the challenge of preserving the monumental dwellings and architectural assemblies of about 200 years has become greater because the old masters are diminishing and the young people stay away from these skills.

Huso speaks for the Voice of America with passion about the work he has been doing for 40 years in Gjirokastër as a master of construction and maintenance of stone roofs.

"It is a very difficult but beautiful and profitable craft. On the roof you don't have much freedom to work and we are connected for safety measures from the great heights of the buildings. Having spent the years going with the job now this craft has become a part of life. I can't stay without working, without riding on the roof and every day, even if it rains, we will ride to do something".

Transmitting skills to young people has become difficult, says Huso, but he sees their preparation in vocational schools as support.

"All trades should be supported, but this one even more so. Without initial knowledge of this job, you cannot do it. I want theory, I want those schools that I really like, professional. An engineer can command 50 workers, 100 workers, while the vocational school for me is the basis of everything."

While Klodian Muço, an economy and tourism specialist, says that the rapid growth of tourism in Gjirokastër necessarily requires the improvement of the preservation of heritage values.

"We have already seen that Gjiroakstra has become a very important tourist destination in Albania. We have seen that the problems of tourism today, or let's say in the future, are to conserve this city and preserve its historical values. For tourism to grow more and more, we need to deal with the heritage, with the transfer of knowledge from the old masons who are getting older to the young ones."

Mr. Muço says that it is important, not only the experience of local craftsmen, but also the exchange of cooperation methods with border areas in neighboring Greece known for stone constructions.

A program funded by the European Union is supporting the preservation of traditional crafts in the border areas of Gjirokastra in Albania and Konica in Greece with the development of activities on both sides of the border.

The Mayor of Konica in Greece, Niko Eksarhu, says that the values ​​of stone buildings are unique in this region and they must be protected.

"I am very sorry that what we found in our region, the illegal constructions between monuments and cultural objects, we are also finding in your region and in Gjirokastër and Përmet and I am very sorry that you implemented the same negative practices that we also implemented ", says Mr. Eksarhu.

The Mayor of the Municipality of Konica says that according to the historical data, masters from Konica have worked in Gjirokastër in the construction of historic stone houses and these connections should be renewed.

The municipality of Gjirokastra says that this year has marked the most significant increase in tourist arrivals in recent years with over 300,000 tourists, who are motivated mostly by the interest in getting to know this unique city built of stone./ VOA

Latest news