The Ministry takes the "Hydroelectric Power Plant" into operation to reopen its doors

It's been a while since the monument that the state protects as the "Hydroelectric Power Plant - Museum of Electrical Economy" in Prizren has been receiving images from the restoration process and promises that a museum is being added to the country, even though it has been bearing this epithet for almost half a century. The government has already approved the request of the Ministry of Culture to use this property managed by the Forestry Agency of Kosovo, promising that "it will be accessible to all citizens". Heritage experts emphasize that the state should think about museum management

The Ministry of Culture has taken several steps regarding the "Hydroelectric Power Plant" in Prizren. In addition to the restoration and curation of the exhibition, the property that houses what the state protects as the "Hydroelectric Power Plant - Museum of Electroeconomics" has been taken into use. He did this through a government decision. But according to cultural heritage professionals, the state should think about museum management.

The Government has already approved the Ministry of Culture's request for the taking into use of the property in the Gënçar Cadastral Zone, Prizren Municipality, managed by the Forestry Agency of Kosovo.

"The project of restoration interventions in the Hydroelectric Power Plant in Prizren, a monument of cultural heritage, has been developed in cooperation with international partners, and now the Ministry of Culture is taking steps to fully operationalize it, so that the monument in question is accessible to all citizens", it was written in the announcement of the Government after the 188th meeting last week, as well as in the decision.

During the past year, actions were taken there for the restoration and conservation of the building through a project where MKRS cooperated with UNDP. For this year, according to the Law on budget allocations, MKRS has planned a 60 euro investment in this monument, all this after a request for emergency intervention from the Regional Center of Cultural Heritage in Prizren as rainwater was entering the building.

Sali Shoshi, who leads the Kosovar foundation for cultural heritage without borders, "CHwB Kosova", says that the institutional approach is in order, but the most important thing is the vision of MKRS on what will be done next. "CHwB Kosova" was a partner in the implementation of the restoration project.

"What kind of museum it becomes, who is the audience, how sustainable is it, in relation to management and operation, external operator or regular employees", are the issues raised by Shoshi. Until now, there has been an employee engaged with a temporary contract in this museum.

In April, the Minister of Culture, Hajrulla Çeku, after a visit to this monument, made an announcement that a museum is being added to Kosovo, without showing at all that it existed four decades ago.

"A unique museum is being added to Kosovo", Čeku captioned an announcement on Facebook. According to him, in a few years, the headquarters building in Prizren lives for a century. He had written that what once marked the spirit of modernization in architecture and the moment of electrification and industrial development for the city, today is in the final stage of restoration.

"Immediately after the conservation interventions, the actions for the functionalization of the plant's museum begin", wrote Çeku.

The building is designed on the ground floor and first floor. The notes show that access to the building is from the north side through the reinforced concrete bridge, built simultaneously with the construction of the building. On the ground floor, according to KKTK, there are two spaces: the place where the generators are located and the machinery space.

"After being converted into a museum, the machine room was used as an exhibition space, where the exhibits that show the development of the electrical economy in Kosovo are displayed. Access to the first floor is through the external stairs, located on the eastern wall of the building," the description reads. On the first floor, according to the data, there is the caretaker's room of the plant, which after being converted into a museum was used as a buffet, roof space and storage.

"However, on the second floor, part of the roof is flat and was used as a summer terrace. In the yard, next to the bridge and the river bank, there are the old substation and sanitary units built near the complex. The Austrian architect has chosen the most suitable place for the use of water and has tried to adapt the industrial facility to the environment by giving it the shape of a castle as inspiration from the Upper Castle that is located nearby. At the same time and in the same style, three substations were built that distributed electricity throughout the city of Prizren", the description reads.

According to KKTK, the plant supplied the city of Prizren with electricity from 1929 to 1973.

"In 1979, this important building for the industrial history of the city was transformed into the Kosovo Electricity Museum. During the adaptation of the building into a museum, restoration work was done on the building and the courtyard. The Electricity Museum located in a historical building 'elektrana' represents a unique example for Kosovo, for the treatment of industrial objects as cultural heritage. The museum operated until the mid-80s", the description reads.

During the visit that was made to the monument last April in the framework of the International Day of Monuments and Localities, Tomas Szunyog, the EU ambassador in Kosovo, and Maria Suokko, the permanent representative of UNDP, were together with Minister Čeku.

The museum and the cathedral of Our Lady Help of Christians have been restored through the project financed by the Service for Foreign Policy Instruments of the European Union (FPI) and implemented by UNDP, called "Cultural Heritage as a Driver of Intercommunity Dialogue and Social Cohesion".

"Kosovo's rich cultural heritage is our connection to the past and our teacher for the future. It talks about tolerance, friendship and coexistence, which are more than necessary in the world we live in," Ambassador Szunyog said. "Through the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance, and the Foreign Policy Instrument, the EU has assisted in the restoration of 56 cultural heritage sites, including, among others, mosques, churches, archaeological and cultural sites and museums, and we will continue to contribute to the preservation of Kosovo's cultural heritage for all communities and generations to come", he said. In the announcement of the UNDP, in contrast to the Minister Čeku, it was shown that the "Prizrenasja" hydroelectric plant was built between 1926 and 1928, supplying Prizren with electricity until 1973, and in 1979 it was transformed into the Museum of Electric Energy.