From: Alice Elizabeth Taylor
Europa Nostra Urges Albanian Government Not to Destroy National Theatre

Europa Nostra, ‘The Voice of Cultural Heritage in Europe’ has reiterated its call on the Albanian government to abandon its plans to destroy the National Theatre in the centre of Tirana.

“We urge the Albanian government to abandon plans to destroy this important symbol and to seriously consider the full potential for the cultural and social enrichment that the Theatre embodies,” they said in a letter to the Alliance For The Protection of the National Theatre.

The group is a part of the pan-European Federation for Cultural Heritage and has consultative status with UNESCO and is recognised by the European Union and the Council of Europe as a voice on matters of cultural heritage. The organization’s main goal is to place heritage and its benefits in the mainstream of public consciousness and to making heritage a top priority at European and national levels.

Europa Nostra spoke of their concerns regarding “tensions” between activists looking to preserve their city’s heritage, and local governing bodies. Referring to the recent police interventions against peaceful protestors, the group said this was “worrying”.

Calling the Theatre a “heritage site of great cultural and architectural importance in Europe”, they reiterated support for the campaign to preserve not just Albanian, but European cultural values. 

Removing the theatre is an act that deliberately ignores the recognised architectural and urban significance of the building as evidenced by scientific research carried out by scholars, according to Europa Nostra. They added that the theatre building is significant for the history of both Tirana and Albania.

Europa Nostra also announced that the National Theatre has been nominated as one of the Seven Most Endangered 2020- a campaign that identifies endangered sites in Europe and mobilises support to find a “viable and sustainable future” for them. 

The group offered to “continue dialogue with Albanian authorities” in an effort to find a solution that answers the needs of all concerned parties.