As Albania strives to dig its way out of the depths of economic disaster, one man in Gjirokastra is devoting himself to saving his house for the purpose of fostering heritage tourism – the one means of saving his community.
Often in harsh situations, individuals step up to meet the challenges facing their communities. Nesip Skenduli is just such a person. He has become the lone steward of the massive stone tower house built by his family that is a cornerstone of Gjirokastra’s heritage tourism program.
During Communism from 1944-1981, the Skendulis shared the house with seven other families. At this point Hoxha’s Communist government claimed the house for use as an Ethnographic Museum. Not until 1993 was the house returned to Nesip Skenduli, along with the overwhelming responsibility for its repair and maintenance.
Many families left their massive stone houses to collapse. But Mr. Skenduli refused to do this, using any amount left from his small paycheck to cover urgent repairs. He has spent many hours before and after work, taking visitors on tours of the amazing house often for no fee. His goal is to see the house become –
Nesip Skenduli states his wish is to once again bring life into the house. Join AiP in September 2012; work alongside Mr. Skenduli and the AiP team as we aim to make one man’s dream of returning his town to a vital community come true.
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