The Old town of Ulcinj-MontenegroTranslated by Anida Resulbegu

“The Old town of Ulcinj is very important part of the European level” announced the famous French architect Benjamin Moutou. Indeed only through archaeological exhibits, ethnographic and art collections of the Museum of Ulcinj, the life of this city founded 25 centuries ago could plastically be monitored. There are still visible layers of great culture and civilization that have left their mark in this captivating urban vessel. That’s why Moutou brought an important conclusion by recommending to Ulcinj citizens and to policy makers that one euro invested in cultural heritage will be returning 7-9 euros.

Although the praise of Old town with its history and tradition is justified, on the other hand already three decades it seems it was so little done in reconstructing this area but also valorizing in economic terms. This is perhaps best seen at the example of the Museum.

When mentioned funds for maintenance and further development of museology, as well as work on the protection of exiting cultural goods, everything is regularly ended on the promises. Therefore it is logical that the ethnological collection is already showing signs of neglect, in the Church-Mosque area and Balsic Tower is visible state of neglect and disrepair.

The President of the Society of Friends of the Old town “Kalaja” Ismet Karamanaga says that employees of the museum complex with their work make a contribution. “It is simply incomprehensible that the museum is closed on Saturdays and Sundays, when there are numerous visitors which would certainly want to familiarize themselves with our cultural heritage” he emphasizes.

Perhaps for the Old town are coming better days, because of the pre-season larger number of tourists than last year but it is also important to mention the last week study presentation of the historical heritage, and proposals of this historical unit in Ulcinj for restoration and renovation. This study was under the coordination of Professor Moutou, created by his two younger French colleagues Etienne Barthélemy and Christopher Rodolausse which was presented on Tuesday at the Venice Palace in Ulcinj.

The aim of this, as they said, is to assist the reconstruction of this unique area and that it could better valorize cultural and economic needs. French architects who were doing this study in collaboration with the Municipality of Ulcinj and the Foundation “ Petrovic Njegos” emphasized that they are trying to reconnect Old town with the sea. They suggested that the local administration should create an architectural office that would especially deal with the Old town.

“The time has gained momentum, so this important urban agglomeration value on the east coast must be understood and utilized both for tourism and local population” said Karamanaga by noting that the added value of the Old town is because it is inhabited with people.

“Unless something in this direction is not quickly done, it is certain that the process of collapsing, degradation and banalization of our city will even more strongly continue” says Karamanaga and reminds that after the devastating earthquake on 15th of April 1979, the then city leaders proposed that all Old town inhabitants should move out of their damaged homes. They argued that “ the fortress can no longer create conditions for modern life’. Few of them obeyed, and many of them who stayed regretted because for over 30 years they are facing harsh conditions. It became the standard that with the first rain or storm, 45 families with about 170 inhabitants have problems with electricity, telephone, internet connection followed by unlit streets, trash and poor cobblestones in most parts of the fortress.. A third of the demolished houses in the earthquake in the Old town has not been restored yet.

The harbor, represents a whole for Ulcinj with Old town, there are few houses that were not immediately restored. The local government has considered that it is the right time to stop with violence and lay down the rules for planning and constructing in this area. In middle of January the Mayor of Ulcinj Fatmir Djeka announced an international competition in architectural and urban design for the harbor. It is a challenge for architects shows the fact that even ten of very good architects signed up for the competition. Winners of the contest should soon be published.

Franco Ferara Ulcinj-Montenegro

Otherwise, for the upcoming season it is expected that the Old town should sumptuously be illuminated. However, in the past six months the famous Italian Photographer Franco Ferrara visited Ulcinj who reached an agreement with the Mayor of Ulcinj Fatmir Djeka. In the first phase will provide lightning for eastern and southern parts, while in the second phase there will be the north side and the other part forward the sea.

Ferrara said that the Old town deserves such a thing, and Ulcinj citizens will be more proud of him immediately after the first phase of the project.