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Lapidar density in Albania in 1970.
Lapidar Density in 1970

Based on data from the State Archives, we were able to construct the following heatmap of the density of lapidars in Albania per region in 1970, that is, when most lapidars had already been built. [caption id="attachment_3177" align="aligncenter" width="440"] Lapidar density in Albania in 1970.[/caption] This map...

  • Mother Albania towering over the hill
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  • Minister of Defense Mimi Kodheli
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  • But Enver was not allowed in this time…
  • First Secretary of the Labor Party Muharrem Xhafa
The Day of the Martyrs

[gallery ids="3155,3158,3159,3164,3163,3162,3160,3165,3166,3168,3169,3167"] Traditionally, May 5 is the day on which martyrs of the fatherland are commemorated all around Albania. This specific date was chosen as it was on May 5 that national hero Qemal Stafa was murdered. Today I went to have a look at the ceremony...

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“Lapidari,” the Script

[gallery ids="3132,3134,3135,3136,3137,3138,3139,3140,3141"] A while ago I posted a link to the film-poem "Lapidari," whose screenplay was written by Viktor Gjika. Below I include the photographs of the original screenplay and the technical scenario that I made in the Film Archives....

Naum Prifti – Lapidarët anës Rrugës

One of the other articles kindly sent to me by Raino Isto, Naum Prifti's text "Lapidarër anës Rrugës" (Lapidars along the road), published in Ylli from November 1966. At some point he describes a car trip from Elbasan to Pogradec (where there are indeed quite some lapidars...

Matthias Bickert on different attitudes toward cultural heritage.
Workshop at the University and new research assistants
[caption id="attachment_3063" align="aligncenter" width="440"]Matthias Bickert on different attitudes toward cultural heritage. Matthias Bickert on different attitudes toward cultural heritage.[/caption] Today Matthias invited Vincent to give a guest presentation at the University of Tirana, MSc Geography program in a class on cultural landscapes. After a thorough introduction to the development of the concept of cultural landscape, different attitudes and theoretical stances toward it, and practical examples from the Albanian context, where cultural landscape policy still very much needs to be thought through and developed, Vincent introduced the Albanian Lapidar Survey from his practice as artist working in the field of monumentality, and public artworks such as lapidars as a locus of intervention and research. He also introduces the details of the research methodology and different field work strategies involved.
We found it: the Institute for Military Geography in Tufinë!
Looking for military maps
[caption id="attachment_3051" align="aligncenter" width="440"]We found it: the Institute for Military Geography in Tufinë! We found it: the Institute for Military Geography in Tufinë![/caption] One of the most important ingredients for successful field work is good maps. The maps of Albania currently available on the market  contain gross inaccuracies and don't have the right scale to display all the dusty backroads that Google Maps and Wikimapia seem to indicate. The only publicly available maps with some detail are the 1:50,000 Soviet Topographical Maps, downloadable on Bunker Trails. The downside of these maps is that they are based on Italian data from the 1930s and are in Russian. It therefore contains few roads built during communism and you need to be able to read the Cyrillic transliteration of Albanian in order to make sense of them.
Muharrem Hoxha at an election meeting of the PPSH in the library of National History Museum
Meeting Muharrem Xhafa and Pajtim Hoxha of the PPSH

[caption id="attachment_3036" align="aligncenter" width="440"] Muharrem Hoxha at an election meeting of the PPSH in the library of National History Museum[/caption] Archeologist Iris Pojani, who had also brought me into contact with Thoma Thomai, was also kind enough to put me into contact with someone else, First...

Thoma Thomai
A meeting with sculptor Thoma Thomai

[caption id="attachment_3012" align="aligncenter" width="440"] Thoma Thomai[/caption] Today I met with sculptor Thoma Thomai, an Albanian artist who worked on several monuments from the communist period such as the memorial in Barmash and the Skënderbeg monument on the road to Krujë, which was massacred during its "reconstruction."...

Viktor Gjika & Esat Ibro – “Lapidari” (1986)

The Central Albanian State Film Archive is currently digitalizing most of its materials, including the wonderful short documentary "Lapidari" by scenarist Viktor Gjika and director Esat Ibro. The documentary constructs a mythology of an Albanian lapidar monument, developing from grave mound on a battleground to...