Preserving the Past, Envisioning the Future: Kavaja’s Cultural Revival

March 12, 2024

“Revive the Past to Drive the Future” project, implemented by the Community Development Center under the EU4Culture grants programme, celebrated its final event. This initiative supported the preservation and potential of Kavaja tangible and intangible cultural heritage, with the aim to create lasting results combining storytelling, traditional costumes and songs with cultural heritage sites in Kavaja. 

Thanks to this initiative, the city’s intangible cultural heritage was brought into the spotlight, showcasing important work done to preserve and promote local traditions. Local cultural heritage experts, officials, educators, youth, and women came together to breathe new life into these local cultural assets through the development of three videos emphasizing different aspects of Kavaja’s cultural heritage. 

The first video focused on the inspiring story of Kristina Koljaka, a Kavaja native who became Albania’s first sculptor, narrated by Suzana Varvarica, a renowned visual arts expert and arts critic, whilst the other two showcase a traditional song and dances like “The Carpet Dance” and “The Pottery Dance”. These dances were chosen as they highlight another important element of Kavaja’s rich cultural heritage; its tradition of carpet and pottery production, as an art form.  The multimedia products were filmed at some of the most important historical and tourist spots of Kavajë, such as the Clock Tower, the Mosque, the Portico, the Democracy Monument, and the coastline and Carine Beach, promoting the city’s most remarkable landmarks.

Information boards have been placed around Kavaja, providing QR code links for the multimedia products and background information about them. This is a great opportunity for anyone to explore these treasures with a simple click.

Another successful element of the project is the development of the innovative Wheelmap. Thanks to this map, tourists and residents alike can now discover which cultural heritage sites are accessible, ensuring that no one misses out on what Kavaja has to offer.

“From the inception of the project, our vision was clear: to breathe new life into the local community, fostering sustainable development and cultural tourism. This was only made possible through the partnership with the community and Municipality of Kavaja. We are deeply grateful to UNOPS and the European Union for trusting us to unveil the unearthed intangible cultural treasures of Kavaja, previously hidden or overlooked. Informational boards across the city will make these treasures known and accessible to all, both citizens and tourists alike. From the inspiring journey of Kristina Koljaka, Albania’s first sculptor, to the wonderful melodies of old Kavaja songs and the graceful dances that represent the city’s traditions, our initiative celebrates Kavaja’s spirit in all its glory. Our actions today are crafting a legacy that fosters a deep sense of identity and belonging in Kavaja for the generations to come.” noted Fabiola Laco, Executive Director of CDC.

“Together, we uncovered the cultural and historical gems of Kavaja. This was made possible through dialogue and joint engagement with our implementing partner, the Community Development Center ‘Today for the Future’, supported through the EU4Culture grants programme funded by the EU and implemented by UNOPS in partnership with the Ministry of Economy, Culture, and Innovation. The products developed by this project will be carefully preserved and further promoted to help revitalize our community. I personally believe that beyond the opportunity to promote Kavaja’s cultural heritage, this project has fostered sustainable development by raising awareness of the city’s tourist sites, from rural landscapes to coastal views. These efforts are expected to spur tourist interest in Kavaja and economically empower the Kavaja community.” noted Fisnik Qosja, Mayor of Kavaja Municipality.