Every two years, World Monument Fund (WMF), an international organization dedicated to the preservation of unique cultural sites, calls international attention to cultural heritage sites around the globe that are at risk. This year, the World Monuments Watch includes Spaç Prison, which “isin an extremely advanced state of deterioration, and deserves to be transformed into a modern place of remembrance”. Being on the World Monuments Watch represents, despite the current difficulties of this site, a unique opportunity for its future promotion and preservation, especially by exposing the site and related causes to the national and international attention of specialists, supporters and donors.
The 2016 World Monuments Watch recognizes a new effort involving institutions, civil society, and citizens to create a modern institution of remembrance out of the remains of Spaç Prison. As no other site currently exists as a place of memory for former political prisoners in Albania, there is a pressing need to advance knowledge, raise public awareness, and create a demand for the transformation of this site into a vital touch point, from which Albanians can begin a healthy and productive dialogue about their difficult past
The Head of Cultural Heritage without Borders – Albania, Ms. Lejla Hadžić, pleased with the listing said, “We hope that this is good news for ex-persecuted persons who served their time in Spaç and other similar former labour camps in Albania. Their traumatic experience of suffering shall have a place in contemporary Albanian society. This listing is an opportunity for all of us to intensify the efforts and act in turning the former prison of Spaç into a place of memory, reconciliation with a traumatic past, as well as an educational hub for all of us who have the responsibility to learn about what has happened.”
Comprising products of individual imaginations, testaments to faith, witnesses of tragedy, and masterpieces of civil engineering, the sites on the 2016 Watch are irreplaceable monuments to the human experience. Found in every type of environment, from the pre-Inca and Inca archaeological remains in Andahuaylillas, Peru to Spaç Prison, Northern Albania, the 2016 sites range from prehistoric to modern, and include religious structures, palaces, bridges, cultural landscapes, archaeological remains, prisoner camps, national and industrial complexes and entire neighborhoods.
The Watch list calls international attention to threatened cultural heritage. In some cases it supports an existing plan to address challenges, in others it advocates for the development of one.