Thirteen cultural properties in Kosovo to be restored by UNESCO from 2006 to 2007Seven Orthodox and six Islamic monuments in Kosovo should be the first to be restored over the next two years, recommends the Experts Committee on the Rehabilitation and Safeguarding of the Cultural Heritage in Kosovo. The Committee met for the first time on 9 December at UNESCO in the presence of representatives of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and of the Council of Europe.
The sites recommended for restoration are: Cathedral Church of Christ the Savior and Church of Bogorica Ljeviska and Hammam Mehmet Pasha (Prizren); Church of Saint Sava and Hamman (Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica); Church of the Presentation of the Virgin (Lipjan/Lipljan); Church of Saint Archangel Michael (Shtime/Stimlje); Church of Saint Petka (Viti/Vitina), Budisavci Monastery (Klinë/Klina); Red Mosque (Pejë/Pec); Hadum Mosque (Gjakovë/Dakovica); Deçan/Decani Mosque; Hammam of Ali Bey (Vushtrri/Vucitrn).
“This meeting certainly represents an essential step in the protection of an invaluable cultural heritage that is not only a strong symbolic reference but also a factor of reconciliation,” declared UNESCO Director-General Koďchiro Matsuura as he opened the first meeting of 12 international experts* invited to submit recommendations on the implementation of the first cultural heritage restoration and safeguarding projects in Kosovo. Appointed by the Director-General in their personal capacity for their internationally recognized scientific expertise.
The Committee of Experts Meeting follows the International Donors’ Conference on the Protection and Safeguarding of Kosovo’s Cultural Heritage, of 13 May, which brought together over 50 UNESCO Member Sates and 15 foundations and NGOs. At that time, US$10 million were promised for the restoration, protection and enhancement of Christian and Islamic monuments as well as traditional secular buildings in Kosovo. To date, eight countries have confirmed their donation pledges, in full or in part: Germany, the United States of America, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Czech Republic and Turkey. Nearly US$3 million have been confirmed for this first phase.
UNESCO also sent two missions, in March 2003 and April 2004, to assess damage to Kosovo’s cultural heritage and to formulate recommendations on the measures to be taken. Based on the findings of these missions, the Organization presented a list of 48 Christian sites, 14 Islamic sites and 13 secular and historic buildings to the donors.
* Mounir Bouchenaki (UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture), José Maria Ballester (Spain), Azédine Beschaouch (Tunisia), Alessandro Bianchi (Italy), Ros Borath (Cambodia), Evangelia Chatzitryfonos (Greece), Slobodan Curcic (USA), Bernard Fonquernie (France), Branislav Krstic (Serbia and Montenegro), Saleh Lamei (Egypt), Bisserka Penkova (Bulgaria), Mehmet Ibrahimgil (Turkey).