TO BE OR NOT TO BE…THE CULTURAL MONUMENT QUESTION
The “Kulla e Gjon Marka Gjonit” in the city of Shkodra was/is known as the property of Gjon Marka Gjoni (Gjomarkaj), heir of Prince Preng Bib Doda.
In 1945 the property was seized for political motives by the communist regime and Gjon Marka Gjoni was declared ‘enemy of the state’.
In 1973, the time when the home was deemed a ‘Cultural Monument Category I’, the heirs of Gjon Marka Gjoni (Gjomarkaj) were all unaware of the institutional acts, put in place at that time, on the categorization of their home as a Cultural Monument Category I object, since it had been sequestered by the communists.
The decision to designate our home as a Cultural Monument was made at a time when the family of Gjon Marka Gjoni had either been killed, imprisoned, encamped at Lushnja, exiled and politically discriminated against. A family who has a place in the history books of Albania but yet not a word is mentioned in the schools. A family who lost and suffered tremendously under the regime. A family who has accumulated cultural values through the centuries.
We, the living heirs of Gjon Marka Gjoni, DO NOT accept nor recognize the status bestowed on our great home made during a time of great suffering; while the home was in possession of the communist regime and was being utilized by them for their own greedy purposes.
Current Law 27/2018, Article 32, para 4 (e): National Cultural Heritage Registration Institute (NCHRI) grants movable and immovable cultural properties REGISTRATION CERTIFICATES.
Current Law, 27/2018 on Cultural and Heritage Museums, Chapter II, Section I, Article 57 clearly states:
1. The properties defined in paragraph 1 of article 50 of this law, which were created more than 50 years ago in case of movable property and more than 70 years ago in case of immovable property, are subject to the provisions of this section until the VERIFICATION PROVIDED IN PARAGRAPH 2 OF THIS ARTICLE IS COMPLETED.
2. UPON THE INITIATIVE OR REQUEST OF ENTITIES OWNING THE PROPERTY AND PROVIDED WITH THE RELEVANT DATA, the ministry responsible for cultural heritage and specialized institutions verifies the existence of artistic, historic, archaeological and ethnographic interest for properties in paragraph 1 of this article, based on general feature data provided by the NTCHC with the purpose of ensuring uniformity in assessment, and in accordance with the procedure provided in this law.
Current Law, 27/2018 on Cultural and Heritage Museums, Chapter II, Section I, Article 60 clearly states:
1. The verification procedure is concluded with the issuance of the NCHRI, NCHI or NTAC head order, which makes reference to the committee decision and includes the verification of the cultural interest or lack thereof. THIS ORDER IS COMMUNICATED TO THE APPLICANT ENTITY AND SPECIALIZED INSTITUTIONS.
We, the owners, have NEVER made such a request, NOR have we ever received any order by the institutions referenced above.
We, the owners, were NEVER provided with any documentation or CERTIFICATE on the status of this property by the Ministry of Culture.
We, the owners, NEVER approved any restoration that may have been done to this property; restoration which would have been a consequence of the destruction inflicted on the property while under the communist regime.
We, the owners, NEVER approved the addition of a gable on the original roof line, which undermines the status of any building deemed a cultural monument. A gable which was added under the communist regime reflecting their communist flag (albeit the star over the eagle has since been removed).
Pursuant to Law 27/2018, Article 57, para 1 and 2:
I am requesting all case files in possession of the Ministry of Culture, relating to the application and verification process for the “Kulla e Gjon Marka Gjonit”, be forwarded to me, immediately.
Pursuant to Law 27/2018, Article 5 ‘Definitions’ and Article 70, para 1 and 2:
I am requesting the ORIGINAL (1973) CULTURAL PROPERTY CERTIFICATE, which MUST include all the elements referenced in paragraph 2 (a – e) of Article 70.
If the State wishes to have this home placed in a Cultural Monument Status they must rescind the current ILLEGAL ‘Cultural Monument Status’, not recognized by the family, revoke any claim they feel they have to the property and proceed with a NEW request by the family, if they so chose, conforming to current Law 27/2018, instituted during Democracy.
To have deemed our home a Cultural Monument during a period of atrocity toward our family and the Albanian people is an insult to the memory of our grandfather, Kapidan Gjon Marka Gjoni and family members who were killed and suffered under that very despicable regime.
As of this day no apology has been made directly to the legal heirs of Kapidan Gjon Marka Gjoni, children of his sons: Mark Gjon Marku, Ndue Gjon Marku and Nikoll Gjon Marku, for the losses and suffering the family endured during the 50 years of communist regime. Yet, you want a right to our home by pretending it to be a ‘cultural monument’!
This letter has been forwarded by me to the appropriate institutions:
Ministry of Culture; US Ambassador Yuri Kim, Tirana; UNESCO and the European Commission, European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA), Brussel, Belgium.
Bianca M. Gjomarkaj