Statement on the cultural heritage site in Mitrovicë/Mitrovica

February 4, 2022

JOINT ANSWER to be attributed to: European Union in Kosovo/EUSR, UNDP, and Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Sports (MCYS)

The European Union in Kosovo/EUSR, UNDP, and Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Sports (MCYS) strongly condemn and have zero tolerance towards any form of racism, discrimination, prejudice or ethnic belonging which attempts to justify or promote racial hatred and discrimination.

Tolerance, peace, and respect for all human beings are at the heart of shared values of the European Union, UNDP, and Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Sports (MCYS).

This project, which aims at renovating the House in question, is a joint effort   under the scope of the European Union (EU) Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) -funded “Cultural Heritage as a Driver for Intercommunity Dialogue and Social Cohesion” project. It will be implemented by UNDP, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Sports (MCYS) with whom UNDP signed a cost-sharing agreement to renovate this object.

Preservation and rehabilitation of cultural and religious heritage is driven by the need to ensure its existence for posterity, focusing on architectural values of such sites.

For background, the House, located in the centre of Mitrovica, was built in 1930 by Austrian architects and workers.

Since 1945, the building has been publicly owned and used as a health care centre, a shelter for homeless families, orphanage, and at one point in time it served as a municipal building.

The building belongs to the modern Western-European style and is the first one of its kind in Mitrovica, with numerous external decorations, typical for its style. The house is in the temporary list of protected cultural heritage sites in Kosovo.

Despite it being declared a cultural heritage monument, the house has fallen into disrepair. The planned restoration will ensure that its architectural values are restored, and the house is once more re-claimed for the community. Once restored and functionalized, the house will serve a dual purpose: the ground floor will provide a space for cultural and community events whereas the first and second floor will house the Regional Centre for Cultural Heritage. The Cultural Centre, once fully renovated and functional will serve as a hub for local communities to come together, explore ideas, promote inter-culturalism, tolerance and connectivity.

Besides, the values that the House will bring to local communities, the house has extraordinary values for the culture, architecture of the region and society in general.

The EU, UNDP and MCYS take into account with concern the controversy connecting the building´s past and are currently working on alternatives for the future benefit of the local community and inter-community dialogue.