Albania - Monte Negro Prokletije/Bjeshkët e Nëmuna – Biodiversity and Cultural Heritage


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Prokletije/Bjeshkët e Nëmuna – Biodiversity and Cultural Heritage
This publication is made ​​in the framework of the project "Environment for the population of Dinara massive", implemented by IUCN, WWF and SNV, and funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland. Publisher of this publications is SNV - Netherlands Development organization. The material presented in the publication is based on the results of two studies that have been done in the framework of the project: 1.Cross-border mountain range Prokletje / Bjeshkët e Namuna in Montenegro and Albania: an assessment of the most valuable areas of biodiversity, whose authors are: Genti Kromidha, Zamir Dedej, Vasilije Buskovic, Nihat Dragoti (Institute for the Conservation of Nature, Albania) and Pierre L. Ibisch (Eberswalde University for sustainable Development, Germany) and 2. Evaluation of cultural heritage in the area of Prokletija / Bjeshkët e Namuna, whose authors are: EXPEDITIO and Albanian Heritage Foundation in Tirana.

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Albania - Monte Negro Prokletije/Bjeshkët e Nëmuna – Biodiversity and Cultural Heritage

  1. 1. Prokletije Bjeshkët e Nëmuna Biodiversity and Cultural Heritage
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  3. 3. The Western Balkans Regional Environmental Development Cooperation Programme“Environment for People in the Dinaric Arc” Prokletije Bjeshkët e Nëmuna Biodiversity and Cultural Heritage
  4. 4. Prokletije ~ Bjeshkët e Nëmuna Publisher: SNV Editors: Jetona Myteveli, SNV; Mark Rupa, SNV; Aleksandra Kapetanović, Expeditio Authors: The material in this publication is based on the two assessments conducted in the frame of Prokeltije/Bjeshket e Namuna project: • Transboundary mountain massifs of Prokletije/ Bjeshkët e Namuna in Montenegro and Albania: assessment of the most valuable areas for biodiversity Genti Kromidha, Zamir Dedej, Vasilje Bušković, Nihat Dragoti, Institute for Nature Conservation in Albania; Pierre L. Ibisch, Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development (Univ. of Appl. Sciences), Germany • Assessment of Cutural Heritage in the Prokletije/ Bjeshkët e Namuna Area inplemented by EXPEDITIO Center for Sustainable Spatial Development, Kotor, Montenegro and Albanian Heritage Foundation, Tirana, Albania Aleksandra Kapetanović, Expeditio; Blažo Markuš, Ljiljana Đujrišić, Tatjana Rajković, Ethnographic Museum of Montenegro, Cetinje; Katarina Lisavac, conservation architect, Belgrade; Ivan Laković, historian; Tanja Vujačić, ethnologist; Ilir Parangoni, Sinoida Martallozi, Elis Grizhja, Albanian Heritage Foundation; Ylli Prebibaj, Ministry of of Public Works and Transports; Maxhid Cungu, historian; Ols Lafi- expert in the Ministry of Tourism, Culture heritage and Youth Photographs: Expeditio Kotor, Albanian Heritage Foundation, Albert Myftaraj, Darko Saveljić, Jeroen Speybroeck, Vlatko Bulatović, The National Photo Gallery“Marubi” Translation: Vesna Leković (from Montenegrin to English) Proofreading: Adrian O’Looney, Dorothy Marthin Design and pre-press: Expeditio, Kotor Printing: Biro Konto, Herceg Novi Circulation: 6000 2012 This publication is realised within the project Environment for People in the Dinaric Arc, implemented by IUCN, WWF MedPO and SNV. The designation of geographical entities in this report, and the presentation of the material, do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of IUCN, WWF and SNV or any of the other supporting organizations concerning the legal status of any country, history, territory, or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The view expressed in this publication does not necessarily reflect those of IUCN, WWF and SNV or any of the other supporting organizations. This publication has been made possible in part by funding from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. We owe our gratitude to all who helped the realization this project. Special gratitude goes to the inhabitants of the Prokletije/Bjeshkët e Nëmuna area for the information they provided and their exceptional hospitality.
  5. 5. CONTENT Environment for People in the Dinaric Arc 06 General information 07 Prokletije/Bjeshkët e Nëmuna 08 The area of Prokletije/Bjeshkët e Nëmuna 09 Biodiversity 13 Topography 14 Geology and Soils 15 Hydrology:Rivers,Lakes 15 Climate 16 Ecosystem diversity 17 Species diversity 18 Microflora microfauna 19 Lichens 19 Mosses 19 Fungi 20 Vascular plants 20 Invertebrates 21 Mammals 22 Ornithofauna 23 Herpetofauna 23 Opportunities for biodiversity conservation 24 Demography 24 Roads 26 Cultural Heritage 27 Cultural landscape 28 Network of settlements 29 Traditional routs and connections 31 Immovable heritage sites 32 Archaeological sites 33 Religious sites 35 Traditional architecture 40 Kule/Kulle (Towers) 41 Mills 46 Movable heritage 47 Museums 48 Traditional costumes 50 Everyday objects in the interior of traditional houses 52 Intangible heritage 54 Customs,beliefs and superstition 56 Food/ culinary traditions 59 Bibliography 61
  6. 6. Environment for People in the Dinaric Arc The Dinaric Arc, in South Eastern Eu- rope, is an area with rich natural and cul- tural heritage. It hosts large, and in the main, unspoilt forests and healthy popula- tions of large carnivores (bear, lynx, wolf). It is also the most water-rich area in the Mediterranean in terms of freshwater eco- systems. These qualities however are un- der threat from circumstances rising from the current global economic crisis and as a result of previous political circumstances. The abandonment of rural settlements and the degradation of the natural envi- ronment are having a severe impact on the livelihoods of inhabitants in this area. Recent events have created an opportunity to safeguard the Dinaric Arc’s biological and cultural diversity. At the 9th Confer- ence of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 9) the “Big Win” was unveiled, moving the gov- ernments of South Eastern Europe closer to an emerging vision of a vast cross bor- der network of protected areas stretching across this ecologically significant region. This joint commitment will help protect the region’s rich biological and cultural di- versity, encourage the growth of national economies and provide a concrete basis for lasting regional cooperation. Following both the “Big Win” statement and the Dinaric Arc Initiative, a number of parties combined to design the project “02 for People in the Dinaric Arc”. It will run from 2009 to 2012 and will support cross-border cooperation for the conserva- tion of key natural and cultural sites. It will cover six pilot sites: NP Plitvička jezera- NP Una; NP Durmitor-NP Sutjeska; NP Tara-Drina; Neretva River delta; Moun- tain Dinara; and Prokletije/ Bjeshkët e Namuna. The Prokletije/Bjeshkët e Nëmuna proj- ect on the border between Albania and Montenegro will provide support in forg- ing local partnerships called Local Action Groups (LAGs). In doing so, a unique op- portunity will be created to combine good ideas and both financial and physical re- sources. The project aims to: - Establish two bottom-up local public / private / partnerships (one in Montene- gro and one in Albania) for natural and cultural heritage conservation and use, including the identification of relevant ac- tions in the fields of tourism, forestry, ag- riculture and natural resource protection; - Increase capacities of these partnerships to recognize and promote local biodiver- sity and cultural values; - Identify strategies and plans for sustain- able local economic development; - Align priorities and undertake joint ac- tions across borders. 6
  7. 7. General information
  8. 8. Prokletije/ Bjeshkët e Nëmuna TheProkletije/BjeshkëteNëmunarangeis an impressive mountain system composed of a group of more than forty intertwining mountain ranges divided by deep valleys, gorges and canyons. It is considered “the most giant mountain group on the Balkan Peninsula”(Jovan Cvijić, 1913). This sys- tem is located in the border areas of Al- bania, Montenegro and Kosovo, between the Šarsko-Pindski mountain system to the southeast, the Rhodopes to the east and the Dinarides to north-west, and rep- resents the southernmost and the largest single mountain mass of the Dinaric area. The Prokletije/Bjeshkët e Nëmuna Moun- tains are separated from the surrounding mountain systems by the Skadar-Zeta valley to the south, the Drim River to the east, Metohija valley to the northeast and Berane valley and Bihor to the north. In Montenegrin/Serbian/Bosnian lan- guages, the range is called Prokletije, while in Albanian it is called Bjeshkët e Nëmuna. Both names have the same meaning,‘the cursed or damned moun- tains’, referring to the ruggedness of these high and inaccessible mountains and to the hardship experienced by the people inhabiting their surroundings. The Prokletije/Bjeshkët e Nëmuna range is often characterised as “the least accessible and most impenetrable part of the Balkan Peninsula” (Miljan Radović, Rajko Marić, Montenegrin Prokletije, 2002). It is one of the most recently ‘discovered’ areas and is one of the best preserved secrets in Europe. In the 18th century, the area of Prokletije/ Bjeshkët e Nëmuna was unknown in Eu- rope and still did not feature on any map of the Balkan Peninsula at the beginning of the 19th century. The first European re- searcher who visited this area was the Aus- trian geologist Ami Boué, who described 8
  9. 9. the range as‘the Alps in the south of Eu- rope’.For the first time he clearly identified Prokletije/Bjeshkët e Nëmuna as the east- ernmost and highest part of the Dinarides. The range was represented on a map for the first time in 1853. The Prokletije/ Bjeshkët e Nëmuna range is often compared with the Alps: “The Alps, Dinarides and Prokletije/Bjeshkët e Nëmuna represent a unique mountain sys- tem formed by the folding actions of the Afri- can Plate which lies under the European one. The Dinarides extend for 1000 km along the Adriatic Sea, and at their ends, in the north- west and southeast, the ‘clusters’ in the form of the Alps and Prokletije/Bjeshkët e Nemuna have been formed. These two ‘clusters’ are of younger geological origin, and deviate from the direction of the Dinarides”. The area of Prokletije/ Bjeshkët e Nëmuna Although the Prokletije/Bjeshkët e Në- muna range stands out as a dominant and striking natural entity, there are differing views concerning the area covered by the range: In the narrowest sense, the Prokletije/ Bjeshkët e Nëmuna refers only to the high- est,craggy and largely impenetrable central partsof thismountainmassif atthesources of the Shalla, Valbona and Cijevna Rivers. It is because of the characteristics of this area that the range got its name Prokletije/ Bjeshkët e Nëmuna, meaning ‘the cursed or damned mountains’. B. Gušić uses the name Prokletije/Bjeshkët e Nëmuna for the high, rocky, carbonate mountains and calls them ‘White Prokletije’, while the other part of the massive he refers to as ‘Green Prokletije’. Map source: Antiquarian - Researches in Illyricum, Sir Arthur John Evans, 1883 General information 9
  10. 10. A broader understanding of the Prokleti- je/Bjeshkët e Nëmuna area was intro- duced by Jovan Cvijić at the beginning of the 20th century. From his perspective, this area includes a whole mountain mas- sive extending from Skadar Lake and Zeta valley in the south, across the Drim river valley, Metohija valley, Plav-Gusinje valley and the upper Ibar valley on the north. Some scientists go further and regard Prokletije/Bjeshkët e Nëmuna as an even wider area, including the sources of the Tara and Morača rivers, Žijovo, Visitor, Komovi and Haila mountains, situated north of the Cijevna River and Vrmoša, in addition to the mountains of the Kuče frontier area. Taking these views into account, it is necessary to determine the area as defined in this project. The area of Prokletije/Bjeshkët e Nëmuna, in this instance, includes the following admin- istrative units in Albania and Montene- gro: - In Albania: Shkodra Qark (Kelmendi, Temal, Shkrel, Shale, Pult, Shosh) and Kukes Qark (Margegaj/Valbona,Tro- poja e Vjeter, Bujan, Lekbibaj); - In Montenegro: three municipali- ties: Andrijevica, Rožaje and Plav and three villages in the municipality of Podgorica (Gornje Stravče, Orahovo, Gornji Zatrijebač). Drawing source: Metohijske Prokletije - Natural and Cultural Heritage, Belgrade, 2003. 10
  11. 11. Map source: Transboundary mountain massifs of Prokletije/ Bjeshkët e Namuna in Montenegro and Albania - assessment of the most valuable areas for biodiversity General information 11
  12. 12. Biodiversity Biodiversity is defined in line with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) as“diversity of living organisms, including terrestrial, marine and other water ecosystems and ecological complexes, as well as diversity intra species, between species and between ecosystems”
  13. 13. Very low Low Moderate High Very high Topographical diversity the highest mountains in this range. The highest peak in Montenegro, Zla Kolata at 2,534 m is located here also. The southernmost glaciers in Europe were recently discovered in the Albanian part of the range. The distances from sea level to mountain peaks higher than 1,000 metres are often only few kilometres. Very short and narrow river valleys dissect these high mountains like the Vermoshi river valley, the most visible on the map, which ends at the biggest mountain lake in the area, Plavsko Lake. Topography Bjeshket e Nemuna (in Albanian) and Prokletije (in Bosnian, Croatian, Monte- negrin, Serbian) is a mountain range lo- cated in the western part of Kosovo, the northern part of Albania and the south- eastern part of Montenegro. The rugged terrain is home to the high- est mountains in the Dinaric Alps. Maja Jezerces 2,694 m (8,839 ft) on the Alba- nian side of the range and Gjeravica in Kosovo is 2,656 m (8,714 ft) high and are Map source: Transboundary mountain massifs of Prokletije/ Bjeshkët e Namuna in Montenegro and Albania- assessment of the most valuable areas for biodiversity 14
  14. 14. Geology and Soils The Prokletije/ Bjeshket e Namuna range is considered to be one of the few ranges in Europe which has not been explored in its entirety. It is mostly a limestone built chain with the exception of its eastern and south-eastern parts which consist of slate rock around the base.Most of the area was formed by glacial influences with karstic areas in the western parts of the Group. The Bjeshket e Namuna/Prokletije range was formed by the folding actions of the African Plate and nowhere in the Balkans have glaciers left so much evidence of ero- sion. With the exception of the Alps these mountains are the most glacial in Europe. In the Prokletije/ Bjeshket e Namuna area, 23 different types of soils have been identified with some of them having only a very limited distribution. This creates con- ditions for high floristic diversity. Hydrology: Rivers, Lakes The watercourses of the Prokletije/ Bjesh- ket e Namuna area empty into the Black Sea and the Adriatic Sea. The rivers of the Adriatic catchment are quite short, a con- sequence of the karstified bedrock which is characterised by the shortage of surface hydrology. Due to their isolation, Adriatic rivers contain a large number of endemic animals, primarily fish. The most impor- tant rivers within the Prokletije/ Bjeshket e Namuna area are the Vermoshi River and Lim River, part of the Danube wa- tershed, Cemi/Cijevna River and Moraca River that flow to the Shkodra/Skadar lake, Valbona River and Shala River and a Biodiversity 15
  15. 15. number of small streams that flows to the Drin River (the biggest river in Albania). High mountain lakes are largely of a gla- cial origin and consequently are poor in endemics. However they enrich the area’s geodiversity and biodiversity. The most notable lakes are Plavsko Jezero, Pesica Jezero, Jezerca lakes, Dashi Lake, etc. Waterfalls are also found in some parts of the range. The White Drin Waterfall in Kosovoisalargewaterfallreachingaheight of 25 m (82 ft). As it is close to the city of Peja/Peć it is accessible and it has many visitors annually. The Grunas Waterfall in Albania is 30 m (98 ft) in height and is lo- cated in the Thethi National Park. The ‘Ali Pasha’ natural springs in Mon- tenegro near the town of Gusinje are the premium attraction for this small alpine town. Climate The Prokletije/ Bjeshket e Namuna area has a Mediterranean/ continental cli- mate and is considered a rainy area. In the village of Boga in the dry valley, precipita- tion has been recorded at 3033 mm for the year, but otherwise measurements of 2000 mm to 2500 mm per year are the average. Up to two feet of snow is considered nor- mal for the area during winter time. Even during the summer season patches of snow are visible on the mountain tops. During winter, some villages in the Albanian part of the Prokletije/ Bjeshket e Namuna, are completely cut off from the other areas. 16
  16. 16. Ecosystem diversity The most common vegetation type in the Prokletije/ Bjeshket e Namuna area is the Montane beech forest which covers more than one third of the study area. Other vegetation types with significant coverage are Thermophilous and supra Mediter- ranean oak forests, spruce and fir forests and Thermophilous beech forest. Some important vegetation types with limited extension include forests of Macedonian pine and Heldreich’s pine, which provide valuable forest products and are character- ised by special plant and animal species. Phytosociological research in the area has led to the identification of more than 40 typical plant communities. In some cases the plant communities in- clude both endemic species and species of international importance, underlining their great conservation value: Map source: Transboundary mountain massifs of Prokletije/ Bjeshkët e Namuna in Montenegro and Albania - assessment of the most valuable areas for biodiversity Zonal forest vegetation No data Shrubs of mountain pine Forest of Heldreich pine Forest of Macedonian pine Spruce and fir forest Oriental hornbeam forest Oak-hornbeam forest Montane beech forest Thermophilous beech forest Evergreen forest shrubs Thermophilous and supra-Maditeranean oak forest Coastal flooded forest of ash and common oak Biodiversity 17
  17. 17. • Wulfenio-Pinetum Mugi (present en- demic: Wulfenia blecicii, Lilium albani- cum) • Euphorbia-Valerianetum bertisceae (present endemic: Valerian bertiscea) • Valerian-Silenetum macranthe (present endemic: Valeriana pancicii, Silene mac- rantha) • Pinguiculo-Narthecietum scardici (pres- ent endemic: Narthecium scardicum) • Doronico-Wulfenietum blecicii (present endemic species: Geum bulgaricum, Wul- fenia blecicii, Cardamine pancicii). Old growth/non exploited/primary for- ests are also present in the area.The moun- tains of Shala,Lepusha,Lumi i Gashit still conserve such European relics due to their remoteness. Species diversity The vegetation of the Bjeshket e Namuna/ Prokletije is one of the richest in the Bal- kan Peninsula. The flora of Bjeshket e Na- muna /Prokletije massif is diverse and to a large extent has the character of central European flora with significant participa- tion of arkto-alpine and sub-Mediterra- nean elements. The presence of a large numbers of endemics, relict species (tertiary and glacial-type) and rare plant species is truly remarkable. To date, 1611 wild plants have been re- corded alone in the Albanian part. A to- tal of 50 flora species are endemic, sub- endemic or endangered plant species. The southern edge of the mountains are 18
  18. 18. 119 species from Rotatoria (62 species), Protozoa (34 species), Cladocera (16 spe- cies), Copepoda (5 species) and Ostracoda (2 species). In Lake Visitorsko 28 species of microfauna (21 species of Rotatoria, 4 species of Cladocera and 1 species of Co- pepoda have been registered. Lichens There are an estimated 100 species of li- chens in the area of Bjeshket e Namuna/ Prokletije. Cladonia and Peltigera are the most common, in addition to epifleoid and endofleoid species including: Lecanora sub- fusca, Lobaria pulmonaria, Graphis sciripta and species from the genera Lecidea and Parmelia. The relevant genera of conifer- ous forests are Alectoria, Bryria, Evernia and Usnea. Mosses Mosses are poorly investigated in the area of Prokletije. So far only 258 taxa have been registered. This is less than the half of the amount of Montenegro flora of of a sub-Mediterranean character. The Prokletije/ Bjeshket e Namuna massif in- cludes approximately 400 plant species that have medicinal properties (Pulević V. 1965). Due to its altitude, range and its favourable habitat, it is one of the centres of arcto-alpine relict flora in the Balkan Peninsula. Of the 77 arcto-alpine species of the former glacial flora of the Balkan Peninsula, more than 50 of these species can be found in the Prokltije/ Bjeshket e Namuna area. Microflora microfauna Most studies on microflora have been car- ried out at Lake Plavsko.Two hundred and seventy species from 102 genera have been registered in this lake (Blaženčić J. 2007). The microfauna of Lake Plavsko are repre- sented by 179 species from the following groups: Rotatoria (108 species), Cladocera (30 species), Protozoa (22 species), Co- pepoda (19 species) (Petkovic Sm. Pet- kovic St. 1982). Studies at Ridsko Lake also provided information on the presence of 245 algal species from 86 genera and Biodiversity 19
  19. 19. mosses consisting of 569 species. Six Eu- ropean Red list species of mosses have been recorded. Fungi In the Bjeshket e Namuna/Prokletije area 145 species of makromyceta have been identified,mostly in the vicinity of Visitor- skog Lake and Hridskog Lake (Peric B. Peric O. 1997).Among the important spe- cies listed are: Amanita aspera, Boletus sa- tanas, Cantharellus cinereus, Catathelasma Imperiale, Geastrum triplex, Gomphus cla- vatus, Hydnellum ferrugineum, Hygrocybe punicea, Hygrophorus pudorinus, Mutinus caninus, Sarcodon imbricatus, Sarcodon leu- copus and Strobilomyces floccopus. Vascular plants As the result of topographic diversity and altitudinal belts, a high climate variability is evident and two main vegetation belts could be seen in this area: - mesophyllous broadleaves or mixed for- est belt, here we especially find Beech (Fagus sylvatica L.), White fir (Abies alba Mill.) and Balkan pine (Pinus peuce Griseb.), Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karsten.), Sessile oak (Quercus petraea (Mattuschka) Liebl.) and - the Alpine pastures belt with Sesleria comosa Velen. and Panicled Fescue (Fes- tucetum paniculatae (L.) Schinz Thell.) (Proko et al 2007). Bjeshket e Namuna/Prokletije has been identified as floristically the richest moun- tain massif in the Balkans,more important than Pindus or Šarplanine (Stevanović 1996). The number of species of high mountain flora of Projkletije is estimated to be 2,000. Approximately 40% of the high mountain flora of the western and central Balkans is present in Prokletije. It also includes about 60% of the Central European mountain species (Stevanovic 1996). Among alpine and glacial relics we find Dryas octopetalla, Saxifraga aizoi- des, S. androsacea, Primula minima, Geum reptans, Pedicularis verticillata, and others 20
  20. 20. (Stevanović et al 1995).In addition to the Central European (Alpine) species, the Bjeshket e Namuna/Prokletije is charac- terised by oro-Mediterranean floristic elements (e.g., Amphoricrpus autariatus Sti, Edraintrhus graminifolius aggr., Poten- tilla speciosa, P. apennina, Saxifraga sem- pervivum, Saxifraga marginata, Sesleria robusta, Cetranthus slavnicii, Aubrieta cro- atica, Achillea frasii, Euphorbia capitulate and Anthyllis aurea). Examples of species of tertiary alpine origin include Wulfenia blecicii, Anemone narcissiflora, Leontopodium alpinum, Toz- zia alpina, Cicerbita pancicii, Pinus peuce, Veronica bellidioides and of oro-mediter- ranean origin Drypis linneana, Daphne oleoides, Potentilla apennina and Pinus hel- dreichii amongst others (Bulić et al 2003). The flora of Bjeshket e Namuna/ Prokletije includes a large number of phyto-geographic elements that can be divided into 11 main areal Groups (Stevanović 2006): 1. Cosmopolite; 2. Holarktic; 3. Eurasian; 4. Arctic-Alpine; 5; Boreal; 6. Central European; 7. Mediterranean-sub-Mediterranean; 8. Mediterranean-sub-Mediterranean- Pontich; 9. Pontik–South Siberian; 10. South European Mountains and; 11. Central European Mountains. The most species-rich floristic groups are the Central European, Mediterranean- sub Mediterranean, South European and Euro-Asian areal ones (Bulić et al 2003). Invertebrates In the Bjeshket e Namuna/Prokletije mas- sif the following zoogeographic elements have been identified with regard to in- sects: Central European-Siberian (60%), Oriental-Ponticus (30%) and the Medi- terranean (approximately 10%). There are about 60 endemic species of insects (17 species of Coleoptera; species of the genera Carabus, Calosoma, Leistus, Nebria, Bembi- dion, Trechus, Deltomerus, Paradeltomerus, Synuchidius, Tapinopterus, Molops, Amara, Pterostichus, Stenochromus, Omphreus, Ca- lathus and Zabrus Trechus; eight endemic species in the genus Molops, 6 in the genus Pterostichus, 6 in the genus Nebria and 4 Omphreus species). Knowledge of the in- sect fauna of Prokletije is becoming more apparent. Biodiversity 21
  21. 21. Special species of Orthoptera include Balkan endemics such as Psorodonotus il- lyricus illyricus Ebner 1923; Psorodonotus illyricus macedonicus Ramm 1931; or Gom- phocerus sibiricus Linneus, 1767, a glacial relic, or a representative of boreal fauna: Psophus stridulus Linneus 1758. In the Bjeshket e Namuna/Prokletije re- gion a relatively large number of endemic species of water mites (Hydrachnidia) has been identified (Pešić 2002). It is worth noting that the species found in this area Rutripalus limicola Sokolow, is the only representative of the family Rutripalpidae Sokolow on the Balkan Peninsula. A hundred and thirty species of day but- terflies have been recorded (Lepidoptera: Papilionoidea and Hesperioidea). The fauna of aquatic snails (Gastropoda) has been investigated only sporadically. A characteristic species of this group is Bythi- nella opaca luteola (Radoman 1976), com- mon in the upper part of the River Lim and springs above Plav Lake. Freshwater mussels (Bivalvia) are practi- cally not studied. Mammals Indigenous ungulate species comprise wild boar Sus scrofa, chamois Rupicapra rupicapra and roe Capreolus capreolus. Among the small mammals in the area there are the Eurasian shrew (Sorex ara- neus), the Alpine shrew (Sorex alpines), the Eurasian Water Shrew (Neomys fodiens), the Mediterranean Water Shrew (Neomys anomalus), the Blind Mole (Talpa coeca), the Lesser Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros), the Mediterranean horse- shoe bat (Rhinolophus euryale), Geoffroy’s Bat (Myotis enmarginatus), Myotis Myotis and others. 22
  22. 22. Examples of typical rodents are the Eur- asian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), Bank Vole (Clethrionomyes glareolus), Chinomyes nivalis, Spalax leucodon, Apodemus flavi- collis, Mus musculus, Apodemus sylvaticus, Ratus ratus, Myoxus glis and Dryomyes nit- edula (Bego F. 1997). Ornithofauna - bird species High mountain regions, valleys, forest ecosystems, mountain lakes and rivers in Bjeshket e Namuna/Prokletije are very important habitats for the ornithofauna (Bino et al 1996). Plav Lake has a remark- able ornithofauna especially with regard to migratory water birds (Amidžić L. 1999). In the area of Bjeshket e Namuna/ Prokletije, 161 species of birds have been recorded to date. The most significant are: Ardea cinerea, Platalea leucorodia, Anas crecca, Gypaetus barbatus, Neophron perc- nopterus; Gyps fulvus; Haliaeetus albicilla, Circaetus gallicus, Accipiter gentilis, Accipi- ter nisus, Buteo Buteo; Aquila heliaca Aquila chrysaetos, Hieraaetus pennatus Hieraaetus fasciatus; Falco Naumann; Falco tinnuncu- lus, Falco subbuteo, Falco biarmicus Falco peregrinus, Bonas bonasia, Tetrao urogal- lus, Alectoris graeca, Perdix Perdix, Cotur- nix coturnix, Scolopax rusticola, Nucifraga caryocatactes; Pyrrhocorax graculus, Monti- fringilla nivalis; Loxia curvirostra and oth- ers (Bino et al 1996). More than 43% of the total Montenegrin ornithofauna is found in the Bjeshket e Namuna/Prokletije area. Herpetofauna - amphibians and reptiles Bjeshket e Namuna/Prokletije is an im- portant centre of herpetofauna diversity. Out of 40 species of amphibians and reptiles in the area, 9 are endemic species (Haxhiu, I. 1998). The Bjeshket e Namuna/Prokletije mas- sif represents the southeastern-most bor- der of the black newt species (Salamadra atra). In some streams the Greek frog is Biodiversity 23
  23. 23. found (Rana graeca),an endemic species to the Balkans. Other herpetofauna species are: Salan- madra salamandra, Triturus alpestris, T. vulgaris, Bufo bufo, B.viridis, variagata Bombina, Hyla arborea, Rana ridibunda, R. temporaria, R. graeca, Anguis fragilis, Lacerta agilis, L. vivipara, L. mosorensis, Podarcis muralis, Elaphe longissima, Coro- nella austriaca, Natrix natrix, N. tessellata, Vipera ammodytes and V.berus (Haxhiu, I. 1998). Opportunities for biodiversity conservation There are three National parks in Bjesh- ket e Namuna/ Prokletije, one in Mon- tenegro and two in Albania. A proposed fourth National park in the area has been put forward to be located in Kosovo. The Theth National Park in Albania was declared as such in 1966. It covers an area of 2,630 hectares and is located along the Thethi River. The Valbona Valley Na- tional Park in Albania was declared as such in 1996. Taking in 8,000 hectares, it is also called the “Gem of Albania”. It is made up of the Valbona Valley and the Valbona River. In the relevant Ministry, there are plans to set up a large National Park in Albania which would cover an area of 144,000 ha.The park on the Koso- van side would include an area of 50,000 ha covering the high alpine areas and the Rugova Canyon and rivers of importance. The Montenegrin part of the Bjeshket e Namuna/Prokletije range was declared a National park in 2009, comprising an area of 16,000 ha. Illegal deforestation today is still a major problem. Large mammals such as wolves, chamois, foxes, badgers and wild boar without regard to National park boundar- ies are hunted. Demography The very sparsely populated area of Bjesh- ket e Namuna/Proketije is home to Al- banians, Montenegrins, Serbs and Bos- nians. At the edges there are some settlements: the Albanian Koplik and the Montenegri- an Tuzi in the west near Scutari Lake, Plav and Gusinje in the northern valley of the upper Lim River in Montenegro, Bajram Curri, in the eastern Bjeshket e Namuna/ Prokletije. Even the somewhat more distant, larger cities of Shkodra, Podgorica, Gjakova/ Đakovica and Peja/Peć create their sphere of influence. More than 150,000 people influence the area directly and more than 500,000 live within a distance of 100 km from its centre. 24
  24. 24. Map source: Transboundary mountain massifs of Prokletije/ Bjeshkët e Namuna in Montenegro and Albania - assessment of the most valuable areas for biodiversity IUCN categories of existing protected areas I II IV V Biodiversity 25
  25. 25. Roads Roads are important for human develop- ment, but they also facilitate the access to natural resources and their (unsustain- able) exploitation. The most important roads in the Bjeshket e Namuna/Prokleti- je area run from Vermosh to Shkoder, Thethi to Shkoder, Valbona to B. Curri, Plav to Podgodica and Rugova to Peja. On the Albanian side of the mountains the roads are mostly gravel roads with very low density. Throughout the moun- tain range of Bjeshket e Namuna/ Prokletije, there is a dense network of paths and hiking roads meaning that the area may be considered lowly frag- mented. Map: Hiking trail Montenegro-Albania-Kosovo 26
  26. 26. Cultural Heritage “Cultural heritage is a group of resources inherited from the past which people identify, independently of ownership, as a reflection and expression of their constantly evolving values, beliefs, knowledge and traditions. It includes all aspects of the environment resulting from the interaction between people and places through time” (Faro Convention - Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society, 2005)
  27. 27. Cultural heritage While the Prokletije/Bjeshkët e Nëmuna area is primarily recognised for its excep- tional natural characteristics, this seem- ingly inaccessible highland area is replete with rich and diverse layers of cultural heritage. The distinctive natural characteristics, fea- tures of the terrain and climate make living conditions in this area difficult. Notwith- standing this, the area has been inhabited since ancient times. Life here has contin- ued not only in accordance with the spe- cific characteristics of the natural environ- ment, but also with the changing historical and socio-economic circumstances. Throughout history,the area of Prokletije/ Bjeshkët e Nëmuna has been under the influence of various historical and cul- tural factors, which have left significant traces in both the material and spiritual cultures of the area. The cultural heritage of Prokletije/Bjesh- kët e Nëmuna is characterized by rich and diverse layers of movable, immov- able, and an intangible heritage, which all contribute to the overall outstanding cultural landscape of Prokletije/Bjesh- kët e Nëmuna. Cultural landscape The most valuable part of the cultural heritage of Prokletije/Bjeshkët e Nëmu- na is certainly the cultural landscape in its entirety. On the basis of the broader understand- ing of the concept of cultural heritage, which includes all aspects of the envi- 2828
  28. 28. ronment resulting from the interaction of people and places through time, the cul- tural landscape represents the most com- prehensive category of cultural heritage. Cultural landscape “represents the combined work of nature and of man” (UNESCO Operational Guidelines for the Implemen- tation of the World Heritage Convention). While the subject of cultural landscape, as the most complex and broadest part of the cultural heritage, has still not been prop- erly treated neither in Montenegro nor in Albania, it is certainly one of the most valuable features of the area in question. Network of settlements Many conditions determine the forma- tion and development of settlements, key amongst these are natural and geographi- cal conditions. The position and develop- ment of larger settlements was primarily influenced by the natural conditions of the broader area, i.e. surroundings and also by the historical, social and economic flows (changing of civilizations, new communi- cations, new means of transportation, eth- nographic circumstances etc.), while the position of villages depended mainly on the local, topographical conditions. The network of settlements within the territory of Prokletije/Bjeshkët e Nëmuna consists of: • settlements of urban character (urban settlements, small towns); • villages; • settlements of temporary/seasonal char- acter (‘katuni’/‘konak’)’. The settlements in the area have been de- veloped on naturally suitable terrain, in 29 Cultural Heritage
  29. 29. the zones formed by glaciers (forms of re- lief resulting from the work of ice masses, formed during the last Ice Age). During the Ice Age (approximately 2 mil- lion years ago), the area of Prokletije/ Bjeshkët e Nëmuna was the location where the largest glaciers of the Balkan Peninsula originated. Parts of these glaciers met and created the great glacier of Plav and Gus- inje, whose length was 35 km. The “head” of this glacier was in the zone occupied today by Plav Lake, the largest glacial lake in the Balkan Peninsula, where a large mo- raine Amphitheatre has been deposited. The most suitable locations for villages are found in zones formed by glaciers and glacial valleys with moraines, particularly the end or terminal basins of old glaciers which, form green islands. Katuni/ kon- akët are located in the valleys of old glacier and around moraines, in cirques sheltered from wind, as well as on cirque terraces. Katuni / Konakët As the primary activity of the popula- tion of the Prokletije/Bjeshkët e Në- muna area was cattle breeding, seasonal movements of livestock were an integral part of life and they brought about the formation of seasonal/temporary sum- mer pasture settlements known as ‘ka- tuni’ in Montenegrin and ‘konakët’ in Albanian. During the summer, cattle breeders moved their livestock to higher zones of the mountain, where the graz- ing was more abundant. In these zones, they built their temporary settlements. Today, in the Montenegrin part of the Prokletije/Bjeshkët e Nëmuna area there are 100 permanent settlements, including urban settlements such as Rožaje, Plav, Gusinje and Andrijevica. In the Albanian part of the project area, there are approximately 140 villages in the 10 Communes of Shkodra (Kelmend, Shkrel, Shosh, Pult, Shala and Temal) 3030
  30. 30. and Kukës Region (Margegaj, Tropoje, Bujan and Lekbibaj). Among this con- figuration lie numerous valleys such as those of Vermosh, Lëpushë, Cemit, Perrroi I Thate, Selcë, Nikc, Bogë, Rrjoll, Shalë, Kir, Drin, Fan, Valbona, Gashi, Nikaj and Mertur etc. Viewed from the tourism perspective, the most important settlements in the area are Vermosh, Selca, Boga, Bajza, Razem, Thethi, Valbona, Nikaj Mertur, Bujan, Rragam Curraj i eperm, and Curraj I poshtem, Cerem ect. The Bjeshket e Namuna area is close to the two im- portant urban settlements of Shkodra with its natural beauty and monuments representing 2400 years of the city’s his- tory, and Bajram Curri. Traditional routes and connections Since ancient and medieval times, the wider region of the Prokletije/Bjeshkët e Nëmuna Mountains have been one of the most significant barriers between the Adriatic Sea and the continental hinterland. Depending on the situation, that barrier could be an obstacle or it could provide much needed protection. Caravans in the Balkan Peninsula, a me- dieval way of transportation of goods with horses and mules, ‘kiridžiluk /kar- van (caravan trade) have been mentioned often in studies of the area. The outposts located along these roads developed into thriving caravan towns, where various crafts and professions to support‘kiridžije’ (carriers of goods by horses) flourished. Caravans traveled from Shkodra, some- times from Kotor and even Dubrovnik and Podgorica to the northern areas, all the way to Peja (Peć) and sometimes fur- ther onwards. These journeys usually took two to three days. One of the main caravan roads in modern day Montenegro is the well-known Zeta road, which once connected Shkodra and Prizren, leading along the Drim River val- ley and bypassing the area of Prokletije from the south and east. Another one, the Via Anagasti, led from Dubrovnik to Brskovo and Polimlje, via Trebinje and Onogošt. Throughout the Prokletije/ Bjeshkët e Nëmuna area there were other roads. These however were not so signifi- cant for commerce but represented strate- gically important communications points as they offered the possibility to control the trade routes. The roads that passed Cultural Heritage
  31. 31. through this area were a direct connection between the Zeta plain and Polimlje. One of them passed over Medun, Orahovo, Koštica and Rikavac, descended down to Velipolje and led further to Gusinje and Plav. Another followed the Cijevna River course, crossed over Tamara, Jasanova and Ješnica, descended down to Velipolje and joined a route leading via Kuči. There are several caravan’ roads and paths in the Albanian part that date back to the Middle Ages and indeed some of them are even older than this. Some routes in- clude: Shala Valley to Nikaj Mërtur and the second one to Kelmend; Theth-Plavë (via Qafë Peja); the Valbone Valley to Dukagjin (Theth), Rajë-Upper Curraj, Kelmend-Valbonë-Gjakovë and finally Guri i Zi Shale-Shkodër. The northern Albanian caravan routes were controlled by Albanian chieftains. After the 19th century, these communica- tions points lost their importance. How- ever, traces of former roads still exist to- day. They are maintained to a degree that does not reflect their potential value in the broader sense, but only enough to serve as access roads leading to some remote vil- lages, katuni/ konakët, lakes or mountain tops. Immovable heritage sites Although the cultural heritage of Prokleti- je/Bjeshkët e Nëmuna is undoubtedly significant and complex, only a few im- movable cultural heritage sites from this area have been officially protected both in Albania and Montenegro. Of these, few buildings of traditional architecture and distinctive rural ensembles have been listed. 3232
  32. 32. Of the 357 officially protected immovable cultural properties in Montenegro, only six are situated in the area encompassed by the project. All of these can be found in the municipality of Plav: Redžepagić Tower and the Emperor’s Mosque in Plav, Vizier’s Mosque and St. George’s Church in Gusinje, and the former Brezojevica Primary School and the Monastery of Brezojevica. In the area encompassed by the project in Albania, out of over 2000 cultural monu- ments protected by the state, there are 11 protected cultural properties, and all fall under the first category: Kulla of Mic Sokoli, Kulla in Theth, the House of the Bujan Conference, the Tamara Bridge, and the Ethnographic museum or the House of Lulash Keçi in Theth, as well as the Bridge over the Prroi i Thatë, the Bridge of Navreda, the House of Ndue Mark Kola in Theth, the House of Shkurte Ali Çar- daku in Breglum,the Kulla of Zef Kopeku in Theth and the House of Martin Camaj in Temal. Archaeological sites Despite the rather difficult living condi- tions in the Prokletije/Bjeshkët e Nëmuna area caused by the distinctive natural char- acteristics and climate, various historical and cultural influences have left significant traces in this area. In the Montenegrin part of Prokletije/ Bjeshkët e Nëmuna there are two impor- tant prehistoric archaeological sites. • The Archaeological Site in Vezirova brada consists of prehistoric drawings in white colour, depicting hunters and Drawing source: “Bronzanodopske gravire u Maji Popadiji na Prokletijama”, Pavle Mijović 33 Cultural Heritage
  33. 33. painted on the rock located near the abandoned ‘katun’ in Koljendarska Bra- da. • Gravure “Great Mother (Magna ma- ter)” is located on the Maja Popadija Mountain, near the abandoned katun Volušnica, at 1.700 m. latitude. It is a engraving on a stone block dating to the Middle Bronze Age. There are very few prehistoric graves in the region, yet, according to the archaeologist Pavle Mijović, this is the unique cave art in the Balkans from the post Paleolitic age. There are several significant archaeological sites on the Albanian side. These include coins from the Illyrian Period, specimens of jewelry and paintings in the cave, to the fortifications, castles and bridges: • Selce is found a treasure of Illyrian coins. Prehistoric paintings made with coal in the Lule Ndreut cave, in Grishaj of Vukli • In Okol quarter, Theth, in 2005 two small pieces of possibly prehistoric pottery were found in the rockshelters above Okol. • The Grunas Settlement, in Theth, Shala Valley is a fortified prehistoric settlement (9th century B.C.) reoccupied in the Me- dieval or Modern period, There is oldest quarters in Theth, a small architectural complex. • The road station, Rosujë can be found 6 km to the south-west of Bajram Curri and is situated on a hill with two crests overlooking the Valbona river valley. It appears that it might have been occupied from the Early Iron Age to the 5th cen- tury AD. The site was first defended in the 4th century B.C. A cult building has also been identified along with domestic buildings with cob walls and clay floors. In the Roman period, a watch tower was constructed and at a slightly later date the circuit wall was refortified. Within the defended area, there are substantial traces of buildings dating to the Roman and late Roman periods. • The“Fortification of Kratuli”,is located on a rocky hill in the Boks village of Postribë. The surrounding walls are made from large blocks highlighting its capacity as a military control point established by King Gent (2nd century B.C.). • The Late Antique Castle, Dragobi, Shoshan, also called “Kalaja e Këlcyrës” (also known as Kalaja e Shoshanit), is located near Dragobi village. It dates 1st- 5th centuries A.D. 3434
  34. 34. • The Medieval Castle of Dakaj, Shala Valley is located above the Shala River near the village of Nënmavriq. It may have served in the late medieval period, (14th to 15th century) as the residence of local feudal lords. • The Medieval Castle, Selimaj was built during the Scanderbeg period 14th cen- tury and called“Kalaja e Lekës”. • The Medieval fortress, Cernicë is located on a narrow rock outcrop overlooking the confluence of the Bistricë and Val- bonë rivers, providing strategic control over the two river valleys. The fortifica- tion incorporates an area of 0.07 ha? and comprises a circuit wall with at least two towers. The walls were constructed from water-rounded stones from the river bed with a thick mortar bond. • The Bridge of Mes (Ura e Mesit) built by Mehmet Pashe Bushati 1770 cross the Kir river about 6 kilometers from the village of Mes. It has 13 arches with dif- ferent sizes and is 108 m long. Situated along the ancient trade route between Shkodra and Kosovo, it was traversed by Romans and Venetians. It is not only historic but stunningly beautiful. • The castle of Drisht is situated on a rocky hill, next to the Kiri river. It has an Irregular space of four angles and is composed of the castle and fortified city,As the fortification of early Middle Ages the fortress has two entrances from the east and west sides, and the castle only one entrance. Religious sites Religious buildings reflect the culmi- nation of the building experience and expression of the area. They were con- structed in accordance with traditional knowledge and skills, made with locally available building materials, but also influenced by social and cultural trends from outside. In the area of the project there are Christian (Catholic and Or- thodox) and Muslim religious effects. The oldest date back to the Middle Ages where they were mainly built in settle- ments and in villages. Naturally in less accessible mountainous areas where ‘katuni’/’konak’ were built, there are not so many religious objects. 35 Cultural Heritage
  35. 35. Churches and monasteries Both Orthodox and Catholic churches dif- fer from those found in other sites and are usually quite simple buildings, built from stone in a traditional type of architectural style. Usually, they are single-nave build- ings with an apse and a belfry in the form of a bell-cote or a bell tower, sometimes freestanding. The oldest preserved religious building in the Montenegrin part is the Orthodox monastery of Brezojevica on the Lim Riv- er. According to tradition, it was built in the Middle Ages, while the first mention of it in writing dates back to 1566, when its HolyTrinity church was fresco painted. The Holy Trinity church is a simple, single nave building with a semicircular apse and a narthex on the western side. In the area of Andrijevica, a specific type of domed church was built between 1884 and 1887 - the church of the Holy Arch- angel Michael. It is a larger, single-nave building, with a central dome resting on a polygonal tambour, a semicircular apse, rectangular side choirs and a bell-cote.The same form is present in the Church of the Holy Ascension of Our Lord in the village of Kralje, built between 1898 and 1904 on the foundations of an endowment from the 12th century. The Church of the Holy Ascension of Our Lord, built in the vil- lage of Konjusi in 1823 on the site of a 12th-century temple and the church of St. George built in Gusinje in 1926, presum- ably on the site of an earlier building, are built in the prevailing type of single-nave churches with a semicircular apse and a bell-cote. The oldest Catholic churches in the Mon- tenegrin part are found in the area of Zatrijepče. In Stijepovo, there is a restored church of Our Lady of the Rosary - Zoja Rružare, built, according to sources, by “The Holy See” in 1648. In the area of Gruda, there was a church of St. Martin built in Lofka in 1638, the oldest in Male- sija. The Church of St. Anthony in the village of Dolja, near Gusinje was built between 1933 and 1936. The Church is larger and is a single nave building, with a polygonal apse and a bell tower on the main facade. Many churches built in the 20th century are located on the sites that, according to tradition, were previously occupied by other religious buildings. In Hotska Ko- rita, the former‘katun’which has become a 3636
  36. 36. permanent settlement, two churches have been built recently: the Catholic church of St. Stephen - Kisha e Shen Shtjefnit built in 1999 on the site of an earlier chapel and the Orthodox Church of St. Stephen built in 2005. The Albanian population early embraced Catholicism and the main part of the Bjeshkët e Nëmuna area population re- main catholic despite the challenges over the centuries, the other part of the popula- tion converted to Islam during the period of the Ottoman Empire. After 50 years of communism (1944-1991) when religion was not allowed to be practiced most of the religious buildings were destroyed, or misused and not properly maintained. Today in Albanian part of the Bjeshkët e Nëmuna/Prokletije area we find the foundations of the old religious churches and mosques and the new ones built after 1991. The church of Shën Gjin in Theth dates back to the late 18th and early 19th cen- turies. It is modeled in a traditional style – a simple cubic form, with an apse and a hipped roof covered with wooden shingles. The church was abandoned and almost destroyed during the communist period. It was restored in 2006 by members of the Catholic community of Theth who are liv- ing in the USA. Several of the presumably older villages are associated with Catholic churches: at Abat (either Shën Shtjefni or Shën Gjin) and Dakaj/Nën Mavriq (Shën Veneran- da?), the age of the church of Shën Kolë [St. Nicholas] at Breg Lumi is unclear). The southern edge of Shala territory was marked by the Shën Gjergj (St. George) Church. The ruins of the church dedicated to Shën Premte (i.e. Veneranda) in the Qet neigh- borhood has been investigated. Little re- mains of the church today except some dry-stone foundation walls. However the route is still well marked by wooden cross- es and the saint’s feast day is celebrated on July 25th. The ruined church may be that referred to in the commentary to Padre Gaspari’s 1671 map: “between Nicaj and Pecaj, where the bajraktar lives, the ruins of a church given the name San Prende by the local inhabitants are still visible.” A church of Shën Veneranda is marked on the 1689 Cantelli map on the left bank of the Shala River, along with an un-named church at “Murichi”, i.e. Mavriq, on the right bank. The ruins of the Shen Gjergji church in Pshtan of 1644 close to Grabom are still extant. 37 Cultural Heritage
  37. 37. Shkodra Cathedral known as St Stephan Catholic Cathedral or Kisha e Madhe was built with the decree issued by the Otto- man Empire in 1851 but real work started 1858. Initially the cathedral was 74 me- ters long, 50 meters wide and 23.5 meters tall, with the capacity of 6000 people. In 1909 Kole Idromeno, painted the vault. It can still be seen today, especially that of Lady of Shkoder, followed by two an- gels dressed in Shkoder folk costumes and Rozafa castle in background. In 1990 the Cathedral was reopen and was visited by Pope John Paul II in 1993. Other churches in the Albanian part of Prokletije/Bjeshkët e Nëmuna are new constructions carried mostly after the communist period, but in some cases preserving the old and local architectural elements. Examples of these include: the Churches of Vermosh, Selcë, Tamarrë, Vukli and Shkrel. Mosques Mosques began to be built in the 15th cen- tury, when the Ottomans conquered the region. Some of the mosques were built at the behest of the ruling Sultan, while some were built by regional rulers (Pashas or viziers). Many mosques were endowed by local feudal lords (beys and landown- ers, wealthy merchants and craftsmen), while in small urban districts and villages, mosques were built by family clans or tribes. A mosque complex could contain buildings used for different purposes, such as: a Harem with‘mezaristan’(a cemetery), Muvekithana’ (a building for star observa- tion and measurement of the exact lunar time), Mekteb and Medresa (Moslem reli- gious schools) and ‘Musafirhana’ (a guest- house and‘imaret’ - a public kitchen), etc. The Old or the Emperor’s Mosque in Plav, according to some sources, was built in 1471, which makes it the oldest mosque in the area. Other sources state that the mosque was built in the 18th century with the money donated by Sultan Abdul Hamid (1774-1789), and was therefore named the Emperor’s Mosque. The pres- ent-day appearance of the mosque dates back mainly to the 18th century. The Vi- zier’s Mosque in Gusinje was named after its founder, Skadar-Vizier Kara Mahmud- Pasha Bušatlija. The mosque was built in the mid-18th century, either in 1745 3838
  38. 38. or 1765. Especially valuable is its ‘sofer- luk’ (a porch) with carved wooden parts and blind arcades. The other mosques in Montenegrin part of Prokletije/Bjeshkët e Nëmuna area are: Redžepagić Mosque in Plav (1774) financed by Fatima, the wife of Skadar-Vizier Kara Mahmud-Pasha Bušatlija, as a token of her gratitude to- wards her father Redžep-aga; Šabović Mosque in Plav (1880); Čekić Mosque in Gusinje (1687); mosque in Gornje Vu- sanje (1710); Đonbalić Mosque in Donje Vusanje (1910); mosque in the village of Martinovići (1800); the Lower or Kuči Mosque in Rožaje built in the late 18th and early 19th century. The Old Dragobi Mosque in Albania, built in the early 20th century, located on the road to Valbona,has a square form and a roof covered and constructed of wood. Lead Mosque (Xhamia e Plumbit) in Shkodra was build in 1773 by the Alba- nian pasha Mehmed Bushati, the vizier of Pashalik of Scutari at that time. The lead Mosque has an Ottoman architecture, and took the name of Lead Mosque because all of its cupolas were covered by lead. The mosque is built with hewn stones of almost the same size, which create a pleas- ant construction symmetry. On 1990, the Lead Mosque reopened after 23 years of imposed atheism. During the 20th century, some of the ex- isting mosques in the area of Prokletije/ Bjeshkët e Nëmuna were renovated and some additional ones were built. Mosques with wooden minarets 39 Cultural Heritage
  39. 39. These mosques were built in the northern part of Montenegro, and the majority are preserved in the Plav and Gusinje areas. They were built of stone and covered with hipped roofs, while the wooden minarets were placed directly on the roofs. In the area, there are two types of mosques with wooden minarets: a simple mosque with only a basic form and a more complex type with a wooden entrance porch.In mosques of the more complex type with a porch,the prayer hall and the porch were connected under the same hipped roof. The porch often had two floors and was decorated with woodcarving. On the second floor, a religious school was situated. They often had a gallery supported by wooden pillars called ‘mahfil’/mafil, which was also used by the muezzin to pray. The ‘mahfil’/mafil was mainly used by women. As a rule, a small wooden minaret was placed on the right side of the roof. On its top, there was an open gallery, a pulpit (‘šefer’). Some parts of the minaret, especially its gallery were richly decorated. Traditional architecture The houses of traditional architecture are always created in “harmony with the compo- sition, appearance and vegetation of a land- scape” (Jovan Cvijić, the Balkan Peninsu- la). There are basic differences, according to the type of house and the material used, between the houses built in larger settlements and those built in villages or ‘katuni’/’konak’. Houses were built either from wood or stone, or with a combination of these two materials. The simplest forms of tradi- tional buildings were in ‘katuni’/’konak’, log cabins with rectangular ground plans, covered with gable roofs. ‘Katuni’/’konak’ were built of stone or wood, or, in their combination. Sometimes, ‘katuni’ dwell- ings were small mobile buildings called ‘kućeri’, which were built on sledges, so that could be moved from one place to an- other and in spring pulled to mountains by oxen. In villages, houses were also built depend- ing on the material available. They were usually single or two-storey buildings of 4040
  40. 40. small dimensions, with simple, rectangu- lar ground plans and covered with gable roofs. In the courtyard, there were usu- ally some wooden utility buildings, such as grain barns (‘ognjar’ or ‘mutvak’) which were used as a bakery for kneading dough and baking bread and dairy production. In the Albanian part of Prokletije/Bjeshkët e Nëmuna there is a typical Theth dwelling, a two-storey house stone building with a dormer roof covered with wood tablets, typical in alpine construction. In larger settlements, housing was under the strong influence of architecture that is more traditional, available materials and climate conditions, but also due to differ- ent ways of life prevalent in the area, in addition to other external influences. In towns founded in the Ottoman period, houses were built under oriental influ- ences. Usually the ground floor was built of stone and the first floor made of wood, in the style of log cabins or a ‘bondruk’ (wattle-and-daub) construction. In areas where wood was the predominant build- ing material, houses were mainly built of wood. Rožaje in Montenegro was one of the most interesting examples of a settle- ment with wooden houses. Unfortunately, only a few examples of that wooden archi- tecture have been preserved today. Kule/Kulle (Towers) Some of the most characteristic features of the traditional residential architecture in theProkletije/BjeshkëteNëmunaareacan be evidenced in Towers (“kule” in Monte- negrin and “kulla” in Albanian language). They were built both in towns and villages, usually as high, compact stone buildings, with small windows and loopholes. The most important aspect of these was their defensive function, although they also had 41 Cultural Heritage
  41. 41. residential and commercial roles. Towers were built as a form of fortified dwellings from the Middle Ages onwards.Their con- struction continued until the beginning of the 20th century, with some modifications over time. The majority of surviving tow- ers in this area were built between the late 17th and early 20th centuries. Originally, only the wealthiest members of the population built towers. This was in order to ensure their personal security and the security of their property. In addi- tion to their defensive function, the towers served to express the wealth and power of the families who owned them. Various local influences and characteris- tics in the different areas, often situated a small distance apart, led to the emergence of different forms of architectural design of these towers. Factors such as the way of life, social conditions and origin of the population influenced the inner arrange- ment of space in towers, while geographic, topographic and climatic conditions deter- mined the manner of their construction, design and materials used. Towers in the Prokletije/Bjeshkët e Në- muna area can be divided into two groups: Older towers, built during the 17th and 18th centuries, in all probability similar to medieval towers, and newer towers, built during the 19th and early 20th century. Older towers Older Towers served primarily a defen- sive function, and they differed from those built afterwards in their lofty proportions, height and a projecting top floor. Only a few examples of these towers remain. In Albania, these are the Tower in Theth, Se- limaj and the ones in Nikaj Mertur. The tower in Theth was built on a natural rock, at the entrance to Theth village, overlook- ing and dominating the river with a road on one side and the whole valley with the village on the other side. In Montenegro there are the Redžepagić Tower in Plav and Ganić Towers in Rožaje. These were built at locations of strategic importance. Redžepagić Tower was built in the oldest 4242
  42. 42. part of Plav, near a medieval fortress and on a rise, offering a view of the surround- ing area and the possibility to control it. Ganić Tower is situated at the entrance to Rožaje, in the immediate vicinity of a rock, (Ganić rock), which represents an impor- tant natural motif around which the town of Rožaje developed. Older Towers had square ground plans with approximate dimensions of 7 x 8 m. In relation to the area they covered, these towers were rather tall and slender. The tower in Theth was completely built of stone, two stories, with extensive carved decorations on the cornerstones and some lintels. These towars are also marked by certain defensive designs, with the ground floor reserved for animals, sometimes with the only access to the second floor being an internal ladder, while others used a narrow external staircase (of wood or stone) to an elevated entrance. While Redžepagić and Ganić towers combined stone and wood, with their ground and first floors executed in stone, and the top floor, locally called “čardak”, made of logs. The defensive stone tower in Theth is also known as the Kulla of the Blood Feud,as it was designed to provide refuge in the case of blood feud. Murderers held here were protected from deadly revenge, for months and sometimes for years, until the debt was paid or the feud reconciled through tribal mediation. That is why the tower has small windows (frengjis), loopholes and what became known as“murder-holes” projecting from each side of the third floor. The tower has a gable roof and very simple interior, with each floor reached by a trap- door and a ladder. It is interesting to point out that these “fortification” techniques are highly idio- syncratic, and specific to the nature of the blood feud in northern Albania. None of these features were designed to withstand determined siege, or to provide commu- nal defense. They were for individual, and in fact, individual male protection. Since women were exempt from attack un- der the Kanun (Book 3, Chapter 5, Sec- tion 28; Gjeçov 1989:38), they were free to come and go, bringing food and water to what were essentially refuge forts, not fighting platforms or strategic defenses. 43 Cultural Heritage
  43. 43. The towers in Montenegro are of a more developed kind and represent the transi- tion from defensive towers to towers offer- ing pleasant living conditions. Generally, the ground floor of these towers was used as a night shelter for animals and for stor- ing food, while the upper floors were used for living. Sometimes, in order to make a tower as inaccessible as possible, the en- trance was on the first floor. In that case, an external staircase would be used, which could be removed during night. On the first floor, there was a kitchen and utility rooms (hamam, a toilet and mutvak - a bakery/furra), situated in bay windows. Bay windows were also used for throwing out waste water, because towers did not have sewage fittings. The towers had very small window openings and loopholes in the walls. The top floor - čardak was a more comfortable and open space, with larger windows providing a beautiful view of the surroundings. In the čardak, there was a guest room known as musafir oda. The roof and mezzanine structures were made of wood and the roofs were hipped, steep and covered by shingle. Newer Towers built in the 19th and 20th centuries The towers built in the 19th and 20th centuries had a rather more residential than defensive function. They usually had a wider square ground plan, with ap- proximate dimensions of 10 x 11 metres and consisted of a ground floor, two floors above it and an attic, so that they almost took the form of a regular cube. The roofs were steep, often at a 45-degree angle and were covered with shingles. During the assessment carried out within the area of the Prokletije/Bjeshkët e Në- muna project, numerous towers of this kind were identified and mapped both in Montenegro and Albania. In Montenegro, roughly 30 of these towers were identified: 5 in Rožaje, 7 in Plav, 4 in Gusinje, while others can be found in different villages around Plavsko Lake. In Albania, about 100towersof asimilarkindwereidentified in Nikaj- Mertur, Breglum, Temal, Theth, Pult, Shale, Bujan, Selimaj, and Rragam ect . Besides the best-known Tower of Mic Sokoli in Bajram Curri, there are the House of the Bujan Conference (1816), the tower of Binak Alija, in Selimaj, the tower of Smajl Arifi, the tower of Azem Hoxha in Kocanaj, Nezir Meci in Babin There are other towers in the Shkodra area such as the house of Shkurte Ali Cardaku in Breglum, the house of Martin Camaj in Temal,the House of Ndue Mark Kola and the Kulla e Zef Kopeku in Theth. In addi- 4444
  44. 44. tion to these towers, whose original struc- tures are still visible, there were probably many others that were transformed over time. Much like the Older Towers, the entire ground floor of newer Towers was used as a stable and had an entrance and an in- ner staircase leading to the upper floors. On both the first and second floors, there was living space consisting of large rooms, while on the second floor a čardak/ çar- dak (enclosed porch) was constructed. The čardak, which could be built of either stone or wood, had a raised floor, and it was the most comfortable and beauti- fully lit part of a tower. Below the rows of čardak/ çardak windows, benches were arranged, from which a beautiful view of both nearby and distant mountains could be enjoyed. The whole area of the attic was used for defensive purposes. The towers in Rožaje had the ground and first floors made of stone, while on the sec- ond floor a wattle-and-daub (bondruk) construction was used. The second floor usually had a centrally placed semicircu- lar or rectangular projecting construction, called divanhana, made of wood and deco- ratively carved. The towers of Plav and Gusinje were built entirely of stone, and had stone or wooden čardak/çardak placed asymmetrically in one corner. A character- istic element on some of these towers is a relief inscription in Arabic, containing the year of construction of the tower, often found above the portals. In addition to lo- cal characteristics and the way of life, the manner of construction of towers was also influenced by master builders - it is known that the towers in Gusinje were built by builders from Debar, Macedonia. One of the most characteristic newerTow- ers inAlbania is Kulla of Mic Sokolit 1809 a typical three-floor kulla, equipped with 70 loopholes where 26 are made of stone and 44 of wood in order to control the tower’s surroundings in four directions. Its first floor was used as an animal shel- ter, and is connected to the second floor through an internal wooden gate. The sec- ond floor has a large room (markeze) and was used for women. The third floor was where men came together and would be 45 Cultural Heritage
  45. 45. accommodated. In front of the room for the men is Dyshekllek/karrakoll- made of stone where the men could relax and enjoy the surrounding beautiful view. This room also had an entrance from the exterior of the house, with stairs positioned to the west of the house.. The garden was sur- rounded by a large, high wall in order to create the appearanceof a castle. The typi- cal interior arrangements of the oda e bur- rave/guests room had shilte around the edges and the fire place in the middle. Mills Watermills were used for grinding grain and were usually located near rivers or springs. They are typically simple build- ings with vaulted openings in their lower parts through which water passes in order to drive the mill mechanisms. Some of these are still in use. In the Montenegrin part of Prokletije/ Bjeshkët e Nëmuna, there are two very well-preserved watermills, in Vusanje, by the Ropojana River (no longer in op- eration), and at Ali-Pasha’s Springs. The mill at Ali-Pasha’s Springs is part of the residential unit and it is situated on the ground floor, with the living quarters on the first floor. In the Albanian area, more than five wa- termills are still in operation (all for corn). They are kept running by a particular neighborhood, although in other cases responsibility for the maintenance of a mill is shared among a group of neighbor- hoods. Of these we could mention the one near the Theth Tower on the Shala river- bank and the watermill in Vukël. The mill in Vukël is built on the Cemi riverbank. Its roof was made in the style of traditional architecture and used to be wooden. The Jasanova mill close to Selca is the most advanced mill. There they are using an au- tomatic breaking system. In the Valbona river the mill of Rragam is operational and the mill close to the vrella e Shoshanit/ source of the Shoshan River is under re- habilitation. 4646
  46. 46. Movable heritage Movable heritage can be any natural or manufactured object (single item, a group of items or a part of a collection) of heritage significance. It provides us with historical information about people’s experiences, ways of life and relationships with the environment. Examples of mov- able cultural heritage in the Prokletije/ Bjeshkët e Nëmuna area can still be found in situ – in traditional houses, mills, re- ligious objects, etc. in addition to the col- lections of movable heritage items kept in museums. In this area many traditional crafts were developed by blacksmiths/farkëtar, tin- smiths/teneqepunues, nalabanti/nall- ban (farriers), furundžije/bukëpjekës (bakers) and carpenters/marangoz who produced wooden implements for agri- culture (plows, rakes, wagons, sledges, etc.) and household dishes and utensils (vagan - a type of wooden dish, karlica - a wooden trough usually used for making dairy products, stap - a butter churn and burilo - a wooden water container). Wood crafts developed, including decorative art styles. In Albania even today there are many well-known artisans practicing the skill of working with wood producing instruments such as the flute, çifteli, etc. and useful wooden elements for houses, such as ceilings, doors, windows, etc. In textile crafts, the greatest diversity and richness is evident in the manufacture of rugs and national costumes. Rug-making is particularly well developed. The Monte- negrin area typically reflects oriental influ- ences. In Albania, the blankets and carpets made by Vek are prominent. Of the items made by women, the most interesting are qylyma, different dine, tirq, xhybleta and gjypnere. 47 Cultural Heritage
  47. 47. Museums There are only a few museums situated within the Prokletije/Bjeshkët e Nëmu- na area, but museums in other areas also house movable heritage from this area. In the Montenegrin part of the Prokletije/ Bjeshkët e Nëmuna area there is a Home- land museum “Ganić kula” in Rožaje which was established in 1991. Its con- struction replicated the Ganić Tower from 1798. A monument of traditional architecture is a symbol of the town and features in the official coat-of-arms of the municipality of Rožaje. The holdings of the Homeland Museum are classified into three thematic units: textiles, household items and tableware from the 18th to the 20th centuries. In Berane, situated in the Prokletije/ Bjeshkët e Nëmuna area buffer zone, is the Museum of Polimlje, a regional museum for the territory of Gornje Polimlje, en- compassing Plav, Andrijevica and Rožaje. The Museum holds archaeological, eth- nographic, artistic, numismatic, heraldic, nature collections and photographs. The Ethnographic Museum of Montenegro in Cetinje is part of the National Museum of Montenegro, holding extremely valuable movable heritage items from all over Mon- tenegro including the Prokletije/Bjeshkët e Nëmuna area. There are four state museums in the Al- banian area: the Museum of Bajram Curri and the Ethnographic Museum in Theth, Hostorical Museum in Shkodra and the “Marubi” National Photo Gallery. The Museum of Bajram Curri is located in a building inaugurated in 1985. There are mosaics and mural paintings depict- ing most important historical events and tombstones found in Shoshan. The mu- seum is under renovation, and is expected to open soon. After its re-opening it will be the largest museum in the north east- ern part of Albania, with a large selection of ethnographic objects as well as a history pavilion. The Ethnographic Museum in Theth is situated in a traditional building of stone construction with a wooden roof, Çar- dak, an outside stone staircase and small, distinctive bow windows, suggesting that it was built to provide defense against in- vaders. The left side of the entrance is built into a rock. The first floor served as a shel- ter for livestock and the second floor was residential. Today the museum building is easily spotted and visited by those who travel to the centre of Thethi, while the 4848
  48. 48. houses nearby offer a rich variety of every- day objects with passionate explanations given by the local inhabitants. The Historical Museum of Shkodra was founded in 1949, based on collec- tions gathered by the jezuits and Fransis- can monks at the end of the XIX century and also on private collections donated by Shkodra families. The museum is housed inside a monumental XIX th century building, the massive family house of Oso Kuka, a wealthy middle class merchant. The house itself, constructed in 1815, is as interesting as the museum surrounded by fortified walls,the building is a typical merchant’s home, attesting to Shkodra significant role as a prime mercantile’ city along the ancient trade route between the mediterranian Sea and Kosovo. Inside, the museum exhibits a typically ornate guest room and a basement with a small archeol- ogy exhibition featuring an early Christian plate of David,artifacts from the greek and roman periods. In the garden a visitor will find a Roman tomb and a Venetian stone well.On the second floor of the museum is the archive and library with very precious publications from the seventeenth century, and ethnographic materials with many ob- jects from the daily life of the population of the Shkodra area and of the Bjeshket e Namuna areas. The National Photo Gallery“Marubi” in Shkodra was created in 1970 after Gege Marubi donated to the State his personal archive of three generations with about 150 thousand negatives in different for- mats in glass slabs, dating from 1858 to 1959. Today, owing to other contributions of important photographers, the archive amounts to 450.000 negatives.This makes it one of the richest photo galleries in the Balkans, where 2000 negatives are related to Montenegro. In addition to museums, the treasuries of religious objects also hold some valu- able examples of movable heritage, but they have not yet been systematically re- searched. In Montenegro, there are exam- ples of movable heritage items of religious character housed in the Brezojevica mon- astery, in mosques in Plav and Gusinje and in churches in Gusinje. In Albania, there are some examples of religious collections housed in churches in Theth (Shale Val- ley) and Selca (Kelmend). There are also some private collections in this area. In Montenegro, for example there are two private collections in Plav, a private Ethno Museum owned by Zahid 49 Cultural Heritage
  49. 49. Ljaljić and a collection that belongs to the Redžepagić family, which is not available to the public. In Albania, there is a State Ethnographic Museum in Bujan, managed by Mic Sokoli’s relatives in addition to a large private Ethno Museum in Shkodra housed in the “Tradita Gegë and Toskë Hotel”. Traditional costumes Traditional costumes possibly reflect to the greatest extent the regional or national identity of a nation, group or ethnic com- munity,being clear indicators of status and social position and ethnic and religious af- filiation. The traditional costumes of the Prokleti- je/Bjeshkët e Nëmuna area were mainly made of wool and sukno/gajtan (heavy cloth), as cattle breeding was a primary source of subsistence and influenced the culture of dressing. The main raw material was mainly hand-made by women. With a distaff/furkë in their hands, while shep- herding the flock,or sitting by the fire,they spun yarn for knitting or weaving on the loom. Wool was usually woven into raša (woolen cloth) in primarily white or dark colours. This cloth was used for the pro- duction of male and female haljeta/xhokë (a jacket), various overcoats and cloaks, struka (a type of cloak), rough blankets, covers and rugs. Wool was also knitted into socks, gaiters, gloves, jaketa/zhgun/ dollama (a type of jacket) and sweaters. Often, goat’s hair was mixed with wool in order to make a good quality of raw ma- terial for rough rugs, covers and cloaks. Hemp and flax were also widely used in clothes making.Linen obtained from these raw materials was durable and strong and mostly used for making shirts and un- derclothes and also different fabrics for domestic or economic use. Cotton was used for production of the so-called hin- tano platno (a type of linen), woven in diverse thicknesses and colours and used for making shirts, pants, kerchiefs, bošče (vails) and towels. Leather (from calves, pigs and goats) was used for making foot- wear, mainly opanci/opinga (type of peas- ant footwear) and silavi (leather belts). In addition to home-made fabrics, the urban population also used factory-produced materials for making certain garments. Wealthy people used to wear haljetke (jackets) made of čoha (waterproof cloth), velvet, satin, or thin woolen, cotton and silk fabrics. Traditional costumes were made at home, by women, or by terzije/xhokaxhinj (tai- 5050
  50. 50. lors) and abadžije (specialized for a specific garment known as aba). Special attention was devoted to the decoration of clothing. By studying the embroidery sewn in wool- en and cotton thread in various colours or silver and gold threads and appliqués made of leather, čoja/cohë and beads, it is possible to get an idea of the creativity and inventive spirit of people who made these decorations. Weapons and jewelry were integral parts of the national costume, and, at the same time, its decorative elements. Men usually carried a pair of pistols and a yataghan tucked in silav/brezi me rrema (a leather belt with partitions), and a long rifle over the shoulder. Apart from these weapons, they carried arbija (a tool for tamping gun- powder), a bandolier, an oilscan, as well as čibuk/çibuk (a long-stemmed pipe), a tobacco bag and a tinder-box. Depend- ing on religious affiliation, female jewelry consisted of simple brooches, đerdana/ gjerdan (necklaces) made of strings of gold-plated coins, silver belts and buckles, earrings, bracelets and rings. From the Albanian perspective, the most original piece of women’s clothes is Xhubleta - a skirt narrow at the waist and very wide at the bottom, with a bell, fluttering as a woman walked. It is made of narrow felty strips interwoven with white silky strips and it hangs on a shoul- der blouse by means of two wide belts, open over the chest to reveal the trim- mings of the blouse. Different areas have different decorative characteristics of the Xhubleta. A women would be buried to- gether with the xhubleta she got married in. In the 18th century the xhubleta would have many colors, but at the beginning of the 20th century its color became almost black for women and black and white for girls. The silver jewelry, the friseur and the haircloth join the beauty of the highland girls. The costume of the catholic women has cloak and trousers as well but their colour is black. The garment consist of a light silken fabric blouse,woven on a home loom, camisole and dark cherry, blue or red. This garment is accompanied by sall- man, a sort of headband ornamented with various patterns. Catholic women are very careful about their appearance, they color their hair in black and apply a very special coiffure with curls on the front of the head. 51 Cultural Heritage
  51. 51. A typical males costume is Çakshiri/Çak- shir, a white shirt with a collar without comers, white tirqe/trousers, a woolen red, or black waistcoat, broad sash and a doublet trimmed with golden thread. The garment of tirq of highlanders, with trou- sers closely fitted to the legs, ornamented with black lace and the tight waistcoat made them seem taller and more agile. The weapons complete the traditional masculine clothing. A range of accesso- ries are found in men’s garment such as dounblet studs pipes and golden watches. These clothes are preserved mostly in ar- eas of Kelmendi and Nikaj-Mërtur; while in Theth their originality has in the main, been lost. In Montenegro the most characteristic costumes are those of the Orthodox popu- lation of Andrijevica (Vasojevići area), the Muslim population of Plav, Gusinje and Rožaje areas and of the Albanian popula- tion inhabiting the foothills of Prokletije. Everyday objects in the interior of traditional houses A typical old village house had two rooms. One was usually better furnished, with a clay oven, a wooden bed, šiljte (rugs/covers), low wooden chairs and three-legged chairs/shqeme. The central part of the other room, which was called a ‘home’, usually had a clay floor and hearth, often situated by the wall.Over the hearth, some houses had a fireplace. From this, verižnjača, verige/veksha/vargonj (chains) and cauldron were suspended over the fire. Some hearths did not have a chimney. The hearth also had a demir-odžak or pri- jeklad/tangari/pirostija (iron stand sup- ported on four legs), whose function was to support the logs burning on the fire. The hearth also had sadžak, (a metal sup- port on three legs, which served to put the vessels on when cooking). In a corner of the room, there were two or three wooden shelves/sergjenë to store čanak (bowls) made of baked earth,different kinds of jars and other clay dishes, frying and baking pans, coffeepots, ewers, đđugumi/xhygy- mi (a copper vessel for liquids), naćve (a kneading trough), ččekmedža/shportë/ arka e bukës (a breadbox), burial/bucela (wooden water containers), special vessels for milk – štruglja/sahan (a wooden pail) to produce milk, a kettle, used for cook- ing milk and karlica/garuzhde (wooden trough for making dairy products) or large clay enameled čanak (bowl) for making cream. 5252
  52. 52. Milk was curdled in a kettle and processed into various dairy products: soured milk, cheese, cream, butter, metanica (type of milkproduct),whey,sourandsweetcream. Generally, food was prepared in a simple way, without adding spices or additives. Food was usually cooked in a cauldron that hung on chains above the fireplace, or baked in crepulja/ponica (earthenware dish) under the iron pan buried in embers, baked on a tile buried in embers and ashes or barbequed. The townhouses of the Muslim popula- tion had several rooms and a hammam (Turkish bath), with some additional oda- je za musafire/oda e miqve (guest rooms) in the case of wealthier families. These houses were large, comfortably furnished dwellings, with facilities for maintaining personal hygiene, i.e. banjice/banjë (ham- mams) and wooden washstands for ritual hand washing, furnished with fireplaces, brick stoves, sergeni/sergjenë (built-in closets), shelves, sehare (chests for keep- ing things in), wooden doors and wooden arched partitions, which represented the borders the female servants were not al- lowed to cross while serving. Below the windows, which were built in a way to allow an unobstructed view of the surroundings, built-in minderluci/minder (wooden benches), covered with woven sećije (furniture covers), were arranged. The floors were covered with woven car- pets. Besides stoves, mangale/mangall (braziers, brass containers for holding fire) were used for heating. They consisted of a stand with handles and a lid and, if necessary, could be taken from one room to another. Pieces of wooden furniture were richly carved and fully satisfied the aesthetic standards. Copper dishes used in the town houses, e.g. various types of ibrici/ibrik (ewers), đugumi (copper ves- sel for liquids), sahani/sahan (bowls) and sinije/sofra (low tables) were mainly pro- duced by craftsmen and were elaborately ornamented. 53 Cultural Heritage
  53. 53. Intangible heritage Intangible cultural heritage encompasses folklore, i.e. spiritual and social culture of a nation. It includes customs, beliefs and superstition, common law, folk art (music, poetry, and dance), language, folk literature and oral tradition. “The Intangible cultural heritage means the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills - as well as the instru- ments, objects, artifacts and cultural spaces associated therewith - that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals rec- ognize as part of their cultural heritage. This intangible cultural heritage, trans- mitted from generation to generation, is constantly recreated by communities and groups in response to their environment, their interaction with nature and their history, and provides them with a sense of identity and continuity.” (UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the In- tangible Cultural Heritage, 2003) The area is a rich tapestry of oral folk lit- erature, expressed in both prose and vers- es. From ancient times, the people have expressed their feelings through folk po- etry and dance. Even today, heroic poetry is created, and this epic tradition is car- ried on in almost every home. Decasyllable meter was used in heroic poetry and these poems were usually sung by guslari/lahutë (singers who play the gusle), usually in a drawling voice, to the accompaniment of a string instrument called gusle in Monte- negro and lahuta (bunga) in Albania. The manner of singing varies from area to area. The people of the Vasojevići area in Montenegro sing in short syllables, with more firmness in the voice and with the last syllable lasting longer,while the people in Albania sing with a strong emphasis and in a high-pitched voice. The guslari from the Rožaje area in Montenegro have their own style of singing, in which the tone of voice changes depending on the feelings expressed by the poem. Epic poems usu- ally speak about shepherds, peasants, re- lationships with relatives and godfathers, condemning the violence and corruption of Pashas, Beys and tyrants. 5454
  54. 54. Another important traditional musical in- strument in the area is tamburitza as it is known in Montenegro or Çiftelia,inAlba- nia. It was introduced by the Turks in the 15th and 16th century and widely accept- ed, particularly by the Muslim population. In Montenegro, the tamburitza is mainly used in the area of Plav and Gusinje. The songs accompanied by the tamburitza are usually sung at weddings, celebrations and folk festivities. In Albania the Çiftelia has several variants, such as dyzen, karadyzen, tamërr, accompanying lyrical songs and dances. In Albania, another traditional musical instrument, which accompanied songs and dancing was the flute/cyla. Dance and games were also very popu- lar among the people. In the Rožaje area in Montenegro, various ora/vallja e bur- rave (hora dance) were enjoyed and en- tertaining games were often played, heav- ily influenced by shepherds and mountain life. The Muslim people in this area never danced or sang during the religious holi- days and rituals. This was because it was believed that singing and dancing would attract džinija/xhindet (evil supernatural beings or devils believed to possess hu- man beings). Sometimes, some particular dances, such as pred goč, pred def, uz tep- sij and, uz kaval, were danced. A very old and traditional dance performed only by the Muslim people is called Alaturka. The Albanian dances of this area are quite spe- cific and unique. There are several tradi- tional kinds of dances in the northern part of Albania, specifically the vallja e logut (dance of logu), presja me tagana, and the dance sung in a circule,“Two goat kids to- gether on a mountain” . The most famous choreographically is the dance of swords as danced by two men, each holding a sword and imitating a fight between two enemies. The vallja e logut (dance of logu) and presja me tagana are folk dances with erotic lyrics,and are performed by a couple (male and female). The dancers start in front of each-other, move in a circle from the right, the one after the other, move close, then move away from each other. These two dances allow the participants to improvise and fantasize, while they are not accompanied by musical instruments which is different from those danced by the Muslims, Serbs and Montenegrins. They are performed by only two dancers (either two men or two women), follow- ing Albanian customs. Šota is a dance per- formed by both men and women,although the male and female performances differ considerably in style. A dance with yatha- gans or guns is an exclusively male dance, today usually known under the name Borba za djevojku (Struggle for the Girl), and very often used to start weddings cel- ebrations. The Albanian version of this 55 Cultural Heritage
  55. 55. unusual dance is called Vallja me Jataganë and is mostly seen in the area of Rugova in Kosova. Usual occasions for dancing and singing among the Orthodox people were weddings, feasts of patron saints, fairs, posijela (traditional outdoor parties),prela (spinning-bees), mass scything, harvesting and sheep shearing. The most traditional and according to many the oldest, is a dance called Curica (A Little Girl). Kolo is a dance in which everybody could take part, men, and women, children, old and young. Kolo is based on the formation of a circle, with couples dancing in bouncing steps in its centre. Mountain games were intended only for men and the majority were war-like in character with some entertaining ele- ments. The most characteristic were the stone toss, the long jump, running the tracks of different lengths, džida (jav- elin) throwing, crowbar throwing, target shooting, karijanje (hands pulling) and wrestling. Another typical Albanian game for the long winter nights was “loja e ka- pucave” the game of the heats. There are 10 heats and the object of the game was to find the hidden ball. The folklore elements still present in Al- bania worthy of mention are cradle songs for children (expressing a mother’s wish for her child), wedding songs celebrating a couple’s beauty sung by girls and accom- panied by a flute, songs of the brave reveal conflicts of habitants with invaders. The later songs are commitment songs sung without instrumental accompaniment and have very high vocal intonation. In the feasts, the Kenget e shpotise, Putir-o /teasing songs are sung without instru- mental accompaniment, they include all the people in the celebration and create a entertaining environment. Customs, beliefs and superstition Customs, beliefs and superstition are an important part of the spiritual cultural heritage. Customs are a group of defined rules of conduct, appropriate actions and procedures that are carried out in order to carry out an activity successfully. They are inherited, handed down from generation to generation and accompany people in their everyday work and behavior. They can be divided into three basic groups: social, economic and religious cus- toms, although they often intertwine and mix. In the area of Prokletije/Bjeshkët e Në- muna there was a widespread belief in 5656
  56. 56. the existence of various mythical and su- pernatural beings: witches, more (blood- sucking witches), fairies, devils, vampires, zduhače (supernatural beings - humans or animals, who protect their environment from evil) giants, etc. The Kanun of Leke Dukagjin was codi- fied during 15th century; these set of laws regulate all aspects of the Albanian popu- lation’s life in the Bjeshket e Namuna area, including here economic organization of the households, hospitality, brotherhoods, klans, boundaries, work, marriage, land and so on. The Kanun applies to both the Catholic and Muslim population of Bjesh- ket e Namuna. The most controversial rules of the Kanun specify how murder is supposed to be handled, which often in the past and sometimes still now lead to blood feuds that last until all the men of the two families involved are killed. These rules have resurfaced during 1990 in the Northern part of Albania, since people had no faith in the powerless local govern- ment and police. The most characteristic social customs are those related to birth, marriage and death. As it was generally accepted that to bear children is the main purpose of a marriage, numerous wedding customs are related to the actions aimed at obtaining plentiful offspring, like throwing grains and coins over the newlyweds, or the bride carrying nakonjče (a male child) over the threshold of the groom’s house. In the past, it was common for parents or elders of two families to arrange a marriage be- tween their offspring while they were still in childhood, in order to strengthen the friendship between the families. Among the Muslim population,a wedding ceremony usually took place before the wedding celebration, in accordance with šerijat/sheriat (Islamic Law). A typical wedding custom is the one called kna, per- formed in the bride’s house on the night before the wedding. It involves dyeing the bride’s hands with henna. Before applying henna, a mattress was taken from sehara/ prikë (the bride’s dowry) and a male child was put on it in the hope of the bride bear- ing male children in the future. No matter how desired and expected the pregnancy was, the future mothers were expected to appear shy. When the pregnancy became 57 Cultural Heritage
  57. 57. apparent, the pregnant woman used to feel ashamed before her household and did not appear before outsiders. During child- birth, men were sent away from the house while an experienced woman assisted the delivery. The birth of a female child was usually received with dissatisfaction, while the news of the birth of a male child was made known by firing a rifle or a gun. There are numerous customs related to death and burial. Among the most char- acteristic of these amongst the Orthodox population are wailing and lamentation. There were tužbalice/vajtoca (professional women mourners), and also lelekači (male mourners), usually elderly men, skillfull at listing and praising the virtues of a deceased person. Women usually wept, wailed and lamented, and sometimes beat their chests and scratched their faces. The lamentations sung by men have more epic elements, and they are usually composed in decasyllable meter. Among Muslims, customs related to death and burial are characterized by simplicity and modesty of all performed actions, including the equipping of a deceased person for burial, wake, burial itself and daća/dreka e mor- tit (funeral feast). Unlike Christians, the Muslims do not have the custom of bow- ing to the deceased, because, according to the rules of Islam, one can bow only to God. Instead, they pay a tribute to the de- ceased by observing a minute of silence. In Albania, gjëma/gjama is a collective mourning,mostly done by men.According to the Albanian Kanun, it is performed in four phases during sunset. Initially all the men begin the mourning between 100- 500m away from the deceased person, who is placed in an open space. At the first stage they take off their heavy clothing, they start to pound the ground with their feet, shouting at the same time hou, and recalling the name of the person. Then, at the second stage they march towards the person for another 50-100m and they suddenly stop, waiting for the sign of their group leader. In the third stage they scratch their faces and throw drops of blood towards the body of the deceased.In the fourth and last stage they run towards the person, kneeling and touching the ground with their foreheads. The whole process lasts for about 20min to one hour. Customs with collective character (legal customs, hospitality, collective celebra- tions, etc.) were obeyed in accordance with a common understanding. At one time, vendetta was widespread. It was believed that a person killed would not have peace in the next world until revenge was taken. The avengers searched for the murderer and killed him or a close male member of his family (a brother or a son). Women were exempt from vendetta. Religious customs are linked to fixed and defined events and days and they are per- formed at a defined time. Among the Christians, the most impor- tant holidays are: • Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, com- memorating the birth of Christ; 5858
  58. 58. • The Easter, celebrated in honour of Christ’s resurrection; • A Patron Saint’s feast (Krsna slava) (typ- ical custom observed in honour of the saint considered to be a protector of the family) For the Muslim people, the most impor- tant holiday is Bajram (Bairam, Bayram). There are two Bairams: the Ramadan Bai- ram celebrated at the end of the Ramadan feasting; and the Kurban Bairam celebrat- ed two months and ten days later. The common characteristic of economic customs and customs related to work is to ensure the success and progress in re- lation to the work undertaken. It was be- lieved that work should begin on a certain day of the week that was considered to be lucky. Given that cattle breeding was the main economic activity, special attention was devoted to livestock. Therefore, vari- ous predictions relating to weather,or even good or bad years, were related to animals and they were unavoidable in the ritual life of a family. Food/ culinary traditions In general, food in the area was prepared in a simple way, without adding spices or additives. In the Montenegrin part of the project area, the most common dishes were polen- ta, cicvara/qull (a dish made of flour, eggs, butter and cheese), roasted and boiled meat, chowder, fresh cabbage or sauer- kraut. Bread was the main food, usually made of rye, barley, and maize or wheat flour. Various types of pies (with cheese, cabbage, potatoes, spinach or meat) and mantije (a kind of pie with minced meat) were baked under the iron pan.When din- ing, people used to sit on low, three-legged chairs or just on the floor, around a low sofra (table). When staying in the katuni, trpežnjak (a piece of woollen fabric) or krug (a board of circular or rectangular shape with a short handle) was used in- stead of sofra. It was the duty of the head of a household to slice and serve bread and meat, while the housewife was responsible for serving other food. Various brandies were produced, including plum brandy and brandies made from fruits (wild pears, cornelian cherry, apple or juniper berry). Mead was a valued drink and was made from a mixture of honey and water. The culinary tradition of the Albanian side of the project area is based on grain, livestock products, meat and vegetables, The most popular meals in the Albanian 59 Cultural Heritage
  59. 59. part were bread and bread on brine, and bread in cereme or different kinds of pies – such as flija/pie with cheese and but- ter, pie me nena bjeshke/ with mountain herbs and the pie of kshndellave (Christ- mas) pumpkin pie.Chestnut has been very important in the Tropoja area / kshtenj bacrunge maize flour boiled in butter and boiled milk. Meat boiled, or roasted on a spit or as pasterma. Characteristic is the tradition of preparation of zahire e dim- rit/ the process of storing the food for the long winter: drying meat,pickling cabbage, cucumber, grinding maize or wheat flour. Popular cookery preserves tradition, and people use soups, dishes with vegetables without meat, dishes with meat, sweets, milk with snow, lamia bread, honey thyme. During religious and feast ceremonies such as the “feast with friends”, each fam- ily offers roasted meat on a spit,appetizers, sweets and drinks including wine and raki. The catholic population of Albania, would use raki and wine in their weddings while the Muslim population used sweets and pomegranate juice. 60
  60. 60. Bibliography/cultural heritage/ Albania, main sources • Edith Durham, Brenga e Ballkanit, 1997 • Selim Matoshi, Tropoja Djep Kulture, Tirane, 2008 • Zef Gjeta, Dukagjini, Tirane, 2008 ‰ߌ