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Masonry conservation – Gjirokastra, Albania

December 2, 2007

KULLE CONSERVATION: Masonry conservation work at an Ottoman-era stone residence


Albania, long closed to outsiders, is now one of the world’s most affordable undiscovered destinations. Travel with Heritage Conservation Network to the Museum-City of Gjirokastra in southern Albania to explore and work in scenia Albaniathis Ottoman-era town, which was built around a 13th century citadel. The town’s name means “Silver Fortress”, referring to the citadel.

Walk the steep cobblestone streets to the site of the workshop, a 17th century Ottoman stone house. Free time might be spent exploring the Drinos river valley that lies below the town, filled with archaeological remains. Lord Byron wrote “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage” about his equestrian journey through this wild region of Albania in 1809.

Gjirokastra’s architecture is characterized by the construction of a type of tower house, the Turkish ‘kulle’, kulle in Gjirokastrawhich features a tall basement, a first floor for the cold season, and a second floor for the warm season. Interiors are often richly decorated with painted floral patterns. This architectural form developed in the 17th century and was utilized for several hundred years. Participants will be working to help preserve one of these historic houses while learning stone masonry skills.  

Instruction will be in English and Albanian, with a variety of other languages spoken by Mr. Tare (head of Albanian National Trust).

The workshop will be two weeks in length and participants may register for either one or two weeks. The cost is US$950 for one week and US$1,800 for two weeks, which covers lodging, breakfast and lunch (dinners not included), insurance, workshop materials, instruction and fieldtrips.

Flight to Albania and transportation to the workshop is not included and is the responsibility of the participant.


Dates: 28 September – 11 October 2008

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