The Past and the Future meet in PrizrenAug 11, 2017
Crowds of people gathered inside the Gazi Mehmet Pasha hamam in Prizren on Tuesday afternoon, 8 August. They were surrounded by a photo exhibit featuring images from the Confidence Building through Cultural Heritage Protection (CBCPK) project, funded by the European Union Office in Kosovo and implemented by UNDP. From mosques to churches, from playgrounds to people, this exhibit featured some of the highlights of Kosovo’s Cultural Heritage, representing communities from all over Kosovo.
As a relic of Kosovo’s cultural heritage, the location complimented the event. Built in 1573, the hamam boasted century old stone walls against which the photo exhibit was presented. “Everything we have must be treasured,” says Andrra Nurkollari, a young attendee. “There are a lot of ways to embrace cultural heritage…emotionally, architecturally, everyone sees it from their own point of view.”
The exhibit is a part of a much larger festival currently taking place in Prizren. Dokufest brings together people from all over the world through a shared love of film. This year’s theme is “Future my love.” Just outside the hamam, in which spectators immersed themselves in nearly 500 years worth of history, the rest of Prizren was focused on moving forward into the future.
“I love Paradoxes,” continued Nurkollari as she commented on the contrast between the theme of the exhibit and the theme of the festival as a whole. However the two themes were not as contradictory as people initially anticipated. Part of the CBCPK project’s mandate was to rebrand cultural heritage as timeless, not pertaining to a particular place, ethnicity, and time. In this sense, the exhibit fit perfectly within the context of Dokufest. As summarized by Vanesa Braha, another attendee, “cultural heritage doesn’t have to represent only the past, it is our future as well.”
The Confidence Building through Cultural Heritage Protection in Kosovo (CBCPK) project is an EU funded initiative aimed at promoting inter- ethnic, inter- religious, and inter- community dialogue amongst Kosovo’s diverse population. It facilitates peace building initiatives with the aim of developing a tolerance for diversity and a respect for all cultural heritage. This exhibit was inspired by the #ecokosovo exhibit that took place in February and features photos from both projects.