A Place I Like

 

gjiro.elena.mamani.4A place of wonder it is, the town that I live and work in. And I am not the only one with a unique strong feeling for Gjirokastra. There has not been a single visitor in Gjiro that I have met without vivacious impression. But only few were lucky enough to witness a snow in Gjirokastra. Snow is magic by itself, and it always gives new dimension to everything. Of course to daily life too, traffic jams, lack of electricity and so on, but when I look through my office window and see the view, it all goes away. Time disappears and suddenly, Gjirokastra is a main character from a fairy tale.

– Elena Mamani

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IMG 4310 HDR 1 1 resizeGrowing up I lived across the street from Kalemegdan Park, but I grew up in the fortress. It was the 1980s and large portions of the fortifications were neglected and overgrown with vegetation – the perfect setting for adventures. I met my three oldest friends exploring the underground chambers and peering into sarcophagi. Time has moved on. The fortress is better maintained these days, and adventures have given way to a more organized life. My knowledge and understanding of history has improved a lot too. Kalemegdan is still there, only these days it’s the place where I walk my dog and go running. But its ramparts and moats tickle my fantasy as much as they always have.

– Vuk Tosic

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They stand proudly on the sides of the hill, within the historical landscape of Gjirokastra, Albania. Residential mansions from end of 18th century. Heavy roofs are pressing the stone structures, while the afternoon sun warms the facades. Gjirokastra, a life within the stone and timber structures is slow, yet is speeding up with what it has to offer to local and international visitors.

– Lejla Hadzic

GJIROKASTRA HOUSES

 

The wealth of colour and outstanding artisanship on the ceiling of Helvetian Tekkie in Berat, Albania. Breathtaking view, hidden if we don't look up.

– Rand Eppich

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grocka1grocka3There is a place that I really like between Belgarde and Smederevo in Serbia, called Grocka. It has marvelous position on wavy hills above meandering Danube. When I drive from Belgrade to Grocka certain views stun me every time.

Besides nice scenery Grocka is also hiding a lot of heritage, among which is old successful tradition in growing most delicious fruits and grapes. Where fruits are, there are different kinds of brandies, and where are good grapes there has to be decent wine.

Winemaking is hard work and it takes more than a day, actually it is a whole year effort.

Participating in wine-making is a real joy and every year I try to learn something new from this ancient tradition.

– Srdjan Nastasic

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vrnik kamenolom.3This tiny island Vrnik lies next to the island Korcula in Croatia. Vrnik is irreplaceable place in so many ways. Nowhere else I have sensed such tranquility and perfection.

But this small island used to shine with world-wide fame and glory. It used to be a very well-known limestone quarry. People from Korcula and Vrnik were very skillful working and selling their stone all over the Adriatic area. Most of the important buildings in this area are done in Vrnik’s limestone: in Venice, Dubrovnik, Hvar, Kotor… But also stone from Vrnik could be seen on some remarkable buildings elsewhere, such as: the Town Hall in Stockholm, Hagia Sofia in Istanbul, the White House in Washington, the parliament in Vienna.

I try to visit Vrnik at least ones a year. It makes me keep contact with my inner self.

– Martina Strugar

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kokino4kokino12Even though it might seem that this place is nothing but a mountain peak, it is actually an archeological site Kokino in Macedonia. The archeological site was discovered in 2001. It is claimed to be a sacred site and megalithic observatory. There are a lot of findings from the Bronze Age, like ceramic vessels, molds…

I really like to visit this site because it has a special atmosphere of a consecrated place. It is very peaceful and while there, one can feel isolated from everything, even from present date.

- Aleksandar Elenin

 

 

Gjiro 1Since 2005 the old town was inscribed on the UNESCO Cultural Heritage list. It has a similar architecture as Berat. I am deeply in love with this city. I adore the everyday monotony, maybe it is because I love nature and tranquility, i adore fresh air of the morning and the view of mountains combined with stones. It is like being so far away from the noise, cars, urban life. In the higher part there is the castle and a big wavy flag in the middle of the city. The old pazari that seems to vitalize somehow the life of Gjiro, as you go through cobble-stoned streetskalldremet. One can see house after house and how elders take care of them. It seems that they are the ones who are loyal to the ancient authenticity of the city, and the youth tends to run to the noise and life in bigger cities.

- Ambra Myftari

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Berat 1Since 2008 the old town was inscribed on the UNESCO Cultural Heritage list. Berat is also called a city of 1001 windows. I adore it and I really love to go there.

Why do I like it? I appreciate it because of the history and good vibes going through the streets. I always have a very good feeling at heart after visiting, fresh energy and positivity, all good things. There is a new part of the city and the old one, and while I am visiting the old city, my mind and my body is so in pace, is like I can freely breathe. The mountains around, the river and old architecture are so perfect with each other.

- Ambra Myftari

 

 

There is a bay named Godinje's Bay on Skadar Lake, Montenegro where group of buildings is located, forming the settlement Lekovici that represents unique rural architecture. The architecture is typical for this part of Montenegro called Crmnica, but for the rest of the country it is exceptional and representative, and thus rare in the context of its kind, both in terms of segments and in its wholeness.

Typical Godinje house consists of economical facilities – cellar called “konoba” and multi-level residential part of the building. Cellars are vaulted with stone vaults and excavated in the soil-forming rock room, served to accommodate the long barrels and containers for wine and brandy, to accommodate agricultural and other tools, and sometimes to accommodate cattle, especially in winter. Interiors of the cellars are especially impressive in terms of architecture and construction. Cellars are connected among themselves with a hidden passages through which it was possible to communicate, escape and reach spring Tocak during conflicts and periods of crises. The upper parts of houses are simple living spaces, with quite sizable and opened balconies that were considered an integral part of the living space of the house. Traditional elements such as niches, recesses and hearthstones are included in every house.

godinje balsiciThe most significant building is a summer house of Balsici in the photo. The portal of the house has undergone through numerous modifications from XIV till XX century – extensions, alternations, disappearance or dispersions of construction materials. The cellar of this complex is considerate to be the best preserved part, whose wall thickness is up to 2m, consists of several rooms vaulted with stone volts, abundant arcades and consoles. In front of the house there is a portal containing a decorative stone plastics that are not typical for the vernacular architecture.

Mirjana Lubarda and Andreja Mugoša

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Contact:
 
The South East European (SEE) Heritage network Secretariat
P.O. Box 85
85330 Kotor - Montenegro
phone: + 382 (0)32 302520
fax: + 382 (0)32 302521
 
 

The material displayed on the separate country pages has been prepared by:
Albania: 
Albanian Heritage Foundation
Bosnia and Herzegovina: CHwB Regional Office in Sarajevo
Kosovo: EC MA Ndryshe
Montenegro: EXPEDITIO and Notar
Serbia: Civic Association SUBURBIUM

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South East Europe (SEE) – a region where people cooperate, understand and respect each other on the basis of their cultural differences, believing that cultural, ethnic and religious diversity is a valuable resource.

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South East European Heritage is a network of non-governmental organizations established in 2006. The mission of the SEE Heritage network is to work toward protecting and promoting our common cultural heritage with the aim of encouraging the sustainable development of the region.

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