Court of Appeals Puts Final Stop to Construction Works on Veliera Square Construction site of the Veliera project in Durrës. Source: Forum for the Protection of Cultural Heritage.

Just like the district and administrative court, the court of appeals in Durrës has decided to halt construction in the archeological zone A of Veliera Square. But despite the successive court decisions, construction continues at a fast pace in the majority of the square. Most of the underground construction has been completed, and currently work is being done above ground. The same is happening in front of port entrance and on the national road where an underground tunnel is being constructed.

Civil society representatives have asked to the Durrës’s prosecutor’s office to take action against the Municipality of Durrës, which continues to work on the square, disrespecting court decisions.

Mirela Jorgo, lawyer and representative of civil society, states that instead of construction work with concrete there should be archeological excavations. She asked to the prosecutor’s office to hold all of those who violated the law on the preservation of cultural and archeological heritage criminally responsible.

Render of the Veliera project.
Render of the Veliera project.

Construction on Veliera Square started in November 2016. At the center of the project is a 200 sq.m. concrete sail. The project will cost around €18.3 million, 40% of the 2017 budget for Durrës Municipality.

Veliera project is designed by the Italian architecture firm Archea Associati of convicted architect Marco Casamonti. Casamonti has designed also the National Arena, another government project mired  in scandals.

The Veliera Project will touch the legally protected archeological zone, where work cannot be conducted, this determined with a Decision by the Council of Ministers (VKM) no. 237 of March 23, 2011.

Citizens and civil society representatives have continuously objected to this project, saying that the project risks the ancient cultural heritage of Durrës into concrete.