Over the past 20 years, Gjirokastra has faced the deterioration of a large number of monuments. Working in the city since 2009 and walking daily on its cobblestone streets, we could see a lot of ruined, abandoned and unmaintained historic buildings. The preservation of Gjirokastra’s cultural heritage is vital to the city’s economy. If the monuments continue to deteriorate and turn into ruins, the historic urban landscape of Gjirokastra (one of its ‘outstanding universal values’) is going to be irreversibly changed, and the hope of eco-tourism as a source of economic benefits for its residents would be completely lost.
CHwB saw that there was an urgent need to investigate the current condition of the listed monuments, so as to have a full picture of the situation. Information is the key to better management. In any situation, policymakers, specialists and developers need to know the true situation of the town that they are dealing with. Therefore, CHwB, in collaboration with DRKK, has conducted a risk assessment evaluation for 655 listed buildings within the historical core of the city. The results of this survey will be compiled in a statistical report and GIS maps that will illustrate the level of risk of the monuments of Gjirokastra. This report will serve to alert the government about the critical situation facing the built heritage of the city and to assist them in defining conservation strategies according to the level of risk and to build an operational plan for interventions.
At the same time, CHwB is running a pilot project on emergency interventions on two monuments in the city. With this project, CHwB is taking a new approach: propping up monuments that are in danger of collapse, in order to prevent their further deterioration until a strategy can be formed and funds for restoration can be found.