September is just around the corner, and AiP’s project, Albania: Preservation Skills Training for Local Youth is about to take a big step forward. In mid-September, a team from Denmark, the U.S. and Albania will gather at the Skenduli House in Gjirokastra to get much-needed preservation work underway. The team will include a conservation architect, preservation specialists, community leaders from Gjirokastra, and an intern; all working to document the current conditions and problems of this tower house and to prepare a work plan.
The documentation and work plan comprise the next important step in preparing for three years of hands-on training in traditional building techniques. The training will provide local Albanians and other Balkan residents with skills training that will better prepare them for productive jobs. As training is underway, vital repair work will be completed on the Skenduli House, which still retains much of its original material and has been lovingly cared for by the same family that built it several hundred years ago.
Looking around Gjirokastra, it is apparent that a number of these amazing tower houses have deteriorated to the point of near collapse. If this continues, the city will lose the primary resource – its built heritage – that is allowing residents to develop a sustainable economy.
AiP’s program begins with training in traditional building skills combined with community education. This will lead to the rescue of irreplaceable historic buildings and the creation of job opportunities, bringing growth to well-managed heritage tourism and ultimately creating an improved economy and a better standard of living for the city’s residents.
Join the people of Gjirokastra in their effort to move upward from their position as one of the poorest economies in Europe. Please make a donation today.
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