According to civil society activist Alida Karakushi, during a hearing of the Parliamentary Committee of Education, Media, and Culture yesterday Minister of Culture Mirela Kumbaro has confirmed that 41 tons of concrete will be poured into the Butrint National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, on the acropolis near the Venetian Tower.
During the session no further information was provided by the Minister on who is building in the National Park, and what will be built, information that should be mandatorily be made public. The only images made public so far are a few digital renders shown by Minister Kumbaro during an interview with News24.
Minister Kumbaro failed to reveal any concrete information about the project except a few generalities and a press statement that no new buildings were built in Butrint, but that only old ones were restored:
No new building is built in Butrint National Park, the existing spaces are being adapted with temporary structures in accordance with all parameters envisioned by the UNESCO conventions.
According to Minister Kumbaro’s statement, no new buildings will be built. However this claim is clearly contradicted by the decisions of the National Restoration Council (KKR) and National Archeology Council (KKA). On May 15, 2017, the KKR approved the project for “Rehabilitation and construction of service points in the antique city of Butrint, Saranda,” drafted by the Institute of Cultural Monuments. This project includes new buildings.
The same description is also found in the KKA decision of May 25, 2017, which approved the project for “Rehabilitation and construction of Service Points in the antique city of Butrint – Saranda.” The project was approved on the conditions that the underground of the building sites would not be touched.
The Butrint National Park has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1992, and was included in the lists of Monuments at Risk in 1997. In spite of the claims of Minister Kubaro, the UNESCO denied having received any details of the new construction plans, and has requested the Ministry of Culture for more information to decide whether this project is in fact up to UNESCO standards.