News - Destruction of Kosovo’s* cultural heritage

The Council of Europe is deeply concerned about the recent developments regarding the treatment of cultural heritage in Pristina.

On Monday 17 May, the Hatunije mosque was completely demolished. This mosque was identified as a historical monument of Old Pristina, as part of the pre-inventory carried out by the Council of Europe in 2000, with the support of the European Commission. Further initiatives, taken by competent authorities to compile an inventory for heritage in Kosovo, also included the mosque.

The loss of this building, which formed an intrinsic part of Old Pristina, is highly regrettable.

On several occasions, the international community, including the Council of Europe, has underlined the need to conserve a priori all testimonies of heritage in Pristina, in view of the scale of past destruction and the permanent threats to the historic environment.

All those responsible for the city's old buildings – private owners, public authorities, religious communities and institutions of all levels – are encouraged to manage this heritage in order to prevent the destruction of historic sites until appropriate regulations in the field of heritage protection and urban planning are fully operational, thus respecting the common well-being of all inhabitants of Pristina.

The Council of Europe appreciates the prompt reaction of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport in opposing the destruction of Kosovo’s cultural heritage, and calls for increased institutional co-ordination to ensure coherent actions in implementing cultural heritage legislation.

*All references to Kosovo, whether the territory, institutions or population, in this text shall be understood in full compliance with United Nation’s Security Council Resolution 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo.