Page 58 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 58

Gojko Subotić
garrisons of Turkish askers that fraternities provided with board and lodging, just as they were paid by the “hereditary chieftains” from certain albanian clans to defend them.
in 1912, when Serbia and Montenegro finally liberated Kosovo, Metohija and the entire territory of Old Serbia, not a single islamic shrine was demolished or desecrated— not the Bajrakli Mosque in Prizren, the imperial (Fetih) Mosque in Priština, the Hadum-Mosque in Djakovica, or Murad’s Turbeh on the field of Kosovo in which an icon lamp burns today on the site where Sultan Murad i was killed. Nor have any of the residences, towers or struc- tures of historic import suffered, the best confirmation of this claim being the Sinan Pasha Mosque in Prizren, built exclusively with stones and fragments of architectural dec- oration brought from the Holy archangels; the Orthodox population and the authorities of the Kingdom of Serbia did not allow their demolition. “a ruined shrine is still a holy place”—states a notice from that period—“and to de- molish a place of worship that has become a shrine of an- other faith amounts to committing an evil deed. Revenge is contrary to God’s justice, always more pressing and at- tainable than human.”
During World War ii when the territories of Kosovo and Metohija were an italian protectorate the local alba- nian authorities attempted to demolish the memorial church in Djakovica along with the charnel-house of Ser- bian soldiers fallen in 1915. This act was prevented by the italian military command. after the war, in 1950, the church- -charnel-house was nevertheless pulled down by the local government on the basis of a petition with signatures ex- torted from local Serbs, chiefly members of the Commu- nist party. at the same time, none of the 18 mosques and 12 tekias in Djakovica were touched. Such an act encouraged attempts to devastate Devič, damage Dečani and desecrate Gračanica and the Hermitage of St. Peter of Koriša. Finally, under circumstances which were never officially explained, on 16 May 1981, the large dormitory of the Patriarchate of Peć burned to the ground.
in our times, the shrines in Kosovo continue to hold the attention of historians, art historians, archaeologists and conservators. a considerable number of them have been protected, and the work undertaken has brought to light new and valuable discoveries. The future of these cul- turally significant enterprises will depend on elementary living conditions and a readiness to put into effect interna- tional obligations contained in the convention on the pro- tection of world cultural heritage adopted at the United Nations Conference held in Vancouver in 1976. article no 9 reads as follows: “The right of each country is to be, with full sovereignty, the inheritor of its own cultural values which are the fruit of its history, and it is its duty to trea- sure them as values representing an inseparable part of the cultural heritage of mankind.”
The Sacred Land: Art of Kosovo,
The Monacelli Press 1997, pp. 223–240.

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