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Architectural Heritage in Kosovo: A Post-War Report
This is a discussion responding to this publication in the ArchNet Digital Library: Herscher, Andrew, András Rieldmayer. 2000. Architectural Heritage in Kosovo: A Post-War Report. First published in US/ICOMOS Newsletter 4 (July-August 2000).
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Architectural Heritage in Kosovo: A Post-War Report
Well, I'm interested in seeing those sites myself before I die. I have seen some before the situation escalated, but I was too young then, and didn't find it as interesting as I would find it now that I am studying architecture.

Also, I don't want this heritage to have the same fate as the Buddhas of Bamiyan, even though much of it has already had the same fate. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhas_of_Bamiyan

Here are some of the links where you can see the status of these sites. Some of you may treat these as a pro-Serb articles, but this is the truth. Still, feel free to find this information from alternative sources if you don't feel like trusting these.

http://www.rastko.org.yu/kosovo/crucified/default.htm
http://www.kosovo.com/destruction.html
http://www.tenc.net/churchpics/list.htm

On "Crucified Kosovo", you can see a separate page dedicated to each of these sites. These pages also contain a before and after picture of the site.

It should be noted that many of these sites were vandalized even after the area was put under the UN protectorate.

Dusan Bosnjak
Architectural Heritage in Kosovo: A Post-War Report
I think that the other side of the facts should be seen. Recent events shows that a new problem is Christian Orthodox heritage in Kosovo, that is in danger from Albanian rebels.


"Kosovo Albanians might attempt to continue systematic destruction of the Christian Orthodox heritage in Kosovo, but they must be aware that in the flames and ashes of our churches, holy icons, frescoes and relics, their chances of joining the cultured and civilized democratic world will burn out, too." - Fr. Sava to Admiral Gregory Johnson, the commander of the Southern wing of NATO forces.
Djordje Tesic
Architectural Heritage in Kosovo: A Post-War Report
And a link: Kosovo News
Djordje Tesic
Architectural Heritage in Kosovo: A Post-War Report
Djordje,

Given that the Serbs tried to ethnically cleanse the cultures of non-Serbs from the former Yugoslavia, this report about Kosovo is like the old saying of "The pot calling the kettle black."

Yes, ethnic cleansing is bad, but "Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones."
Frank John Snelling
Architectural Heritage in Kosovo: A Post-War Report
I think, or at least what I would like to discuss is how important is to protect that heritage.

I am a Serb, but as far as I am concerned, we can put aside the fact that it is "Serbian" heritage to make the discussion unbiased.

I would like to know if people admit and treat these objects as important world heritage. Even though some are treated as such by UNESCO, they are constantly under risk of vanishing completely like so many others from that region.

If the atribute "Serb" can be put aside, they should be treated as rare and important examples of Byzantine-style religious architecture and heritage.

I don't know if it's possible to avoid any political discussion which will almost certainly lead to a flaming discussion, since it's a very unstable subject.

You have to understand that what happened in Yugoslavia was a civil war, and all the facts about what happened in such a war probably won't be known any time soon, if ever. But what we might know from history is that every side is equally innocent and equally guilty in such an affair.

This being said, I think that we can avoid flame, if we stick with certain objects and simple facts. If there was a 9th century monastery containing frescoes from that period, if it has been spared by many invading armies and survived 5 centuries of occupation by the Ottoman empire, and is now gone, that would make a good discussion subject.

Dusan Bosnjak
Architectural Heritage in Kosovo: A Post-War Report
First, I would like to say that I'm still standing behind that first post of mine, but I forsee that the ethnic aspect will be so dominant and will deflect the awful thruth about the danger for Serbian Ortodox hertiage survival in Kosovo.

The situation in Kosovo has changed since that "Post-War Report" by Andrew Herscher and Andras Riedlmayer, so that made me obliged to inform everybody about the situation as it is now, especially after the Kosovo Pogrom that happened on March 17-20.

During these three days, around 30 churches have been either completely destroyed or seriously damaged by Kosovo Albanian rebels, and that makes me ask myself, "is this the end of Serbian heritage in Kosovo?"

This is not a question about rebuilding those churches, as we all know that those churches were representative examples of Byzantine-style religious architecture, and many famous frescos are forever lost.

So my accent was on protecting and maintaining churches that remain in Kosovo. The problem is this:
"Czech media confirmed that Czech soldiers guarding the shrine were forced to leave the church, which was destroyed together with the cemetery. A Czech officer confirmed in The Prague Post that he was deeply shocked by the fact that the Albanians dug up the human remains of the Serbs from their graves and scattered the bones."
In this lines you can see the hate aimed towards Serbian heritage, and the inability of KFOR and other "peace-keeping-forces" in Kosovo to protect themselves, Serbian people, and then finally the churches.

And again, I would like to ask you to visit the site I mentioned above.
Djordje Tesic
Architectural Heritage in Kosovo: A Post-War Report
Let's stick to architecture in this forum. There are enough news paper and tv forums for political talks.

As far as the Bamiyan Buddhas are concerned, well, I don't know what to say. It's too great a loss for the history of mankind.

But we should have international laws, uniformly applied all over the world, regarding the safety of historical monuments... and, well .. insurance agents can provide insurance against damage due to regime change ... :-)
Chitradeep Sengupta
Architectural Heritage in Kosovo: A Post-War Report
Djordje,

If you can present a balanced picture of what happened in the former Yugoslavia to both Serbian and non-Serbian cultural artefacts, then I would be interested to read it.

But destroying the Ottoman Bridge at Mostar and destroying the library in Sarejevo are the tip of the iceberg of far too much cultural destruction.

Unless you are prepared to present a balanced picture, not many people will have sympathy for such a narrow view.
Frank John Snelling
Architectural Heritage in Kosovo: A Post-War Report
It was Croatian artillery which destroyed the bridge in Mostar, so there you have it, three different objects, destroyed by three different sides.

But the Ottoman bridge at Mostar is being reconstructed, while the remains of the Orthodox churches are turned into meadows.
Dusan Bosnjak
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