The European Investment Bank Institute and Europa Nostra, the leading heritage organisation in Europe, have published a technical and financial report to restore 12 Post-Byzantine religious buildings in south-east Albania listed among The 7 Most Endangered heritage sites in Europe in 2018.

The European experts write that these exceptional churches “merit to be restored as cultural heritage as well as for the potential tourism benefits to this undeveloped region”. “An opportunity to fund such works is becoming available and this should be taken by ensuring that a sound dossier and programme are prepared and various improvements in resourcing, quality and coordination are adopted as recommended,” they continue. According to the report, the overall rehabilitation project for the twelve religious buildings is estimated to cost about 4.3 million euros.

The group of twelve religious buildings is located in Voskopoja and Vithkuqi in the Korça region in south-east Albania  and comprises ten churches and two monasteries, the earliest dating from the late 14th century and most dating from the 17th and 18th century. These churches represent a new architectural and unique form of basilica combining the Byzantine and Ottoman traditions. The frescoes are the most representative of 17th-18th century ecclesiastical art in the Balkans and are masterpieces of the post-Byzantine style.

The EIB Institute facilitates the transfer of know-how and experience between different partners and countries in the heritage conservation field. It cooperates with Europa Nostra to identify those under acute danger of neglect or destruction. This innovative cooperation mixes the cultural expertise and lobbying work of Europa Nostra with the technical appraisal and rescue planning skills of the EIB. The EIB experts carry out on-site missions and produce technical reports on the viability and phasing of the project recuperation as well as on the funding options.

The missions to the other European heritage sites listed in 2018 will be held by the end of 2018 / beginning of 2019. The technical and financial reports will be released a couple of months after the missions.