Lumbardhi Foundation welcomed the local ceremony of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards this Sunday. Among this year’s winners is the project “Lumbardhi Public Again”, within the category Citizens’ Engagement and Awareness-raising.
The handover of the award took place in the Lumbardhi open air cinema – Kino Bahce in Prizren with the participation of guests from the EU Office in Kosovo, regional representatives of Europa Nostra, civil society activists, etc.   
Veton Nurkollari from DokuFest thanked Europa Nostra for recognizing the efforts and the joint show of solidarity to save the Lumbardhi cinema, as he recalled many challenges faced to preserve this important cultural space.    
“In the beginning it didn’t really look as it was possible. What looked possible was a solidarity, first of a smaller group and then it became bigger with a petition, with joining forces not only here in Prizren but with more than 50 NGO’s in Kosovo who joined our plea and our fight to recognize that this is a very important space, very important part of cultural memory of this city and that it should be preserved and it should continue to do in a years ahead”.
Sali Shoshi from CHwB Kosovo, organization that nominated the project “Lumbardhi Public Again” for the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards, stressed how all the efforts to preserve the Lumbardhi cinema were inspiring. “The story of Lumbardhi is unique and it’s a model it should be shared in Kosovo. We have so many sites like Lumbardhi that have so much of collective memories and are threatened by circumstances, by transitions, and they need our help to preserve them, preserve the stories and share them with the world”. 
Head of the EU Office in Kosovo, Tomáš Szunyog said that this initiative can be an exemplary effort for the other locations in Kosovo, in Western Balkans region and in Europe as a whole, when it comes to upholding the notion of shared European heritage. 
“Today we are handing over the European Heritage Award / Europa Nostra Award to the “Lumbardhi Public Again” project. I would like to emphasize how important this collective achievement resulting in salvaging the Lumbardhi cinema and converting it to a cultural hub of Prizren has been for the EU. This is an example of true and admirable effort…”  
Secretary General of Europa Nostra, Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović with a video message congratulated all who have contributed to this successful story, with a special mention to its lead champions DokuFest and EC ma ndryshe, while thanking also CHwB for nomination of this project for the award. 
“You have managed to save your beloved local cinema from privatization and demolition and you have successfully reclaimed it as a protected cultural heritage site open to all. You transformed the Kino Lumbardhi into a thriving community creative hub and gathering place and it has thus became a powerful vector of sustainable local development for the city of Prizren”.    
Sadi Petrela from the Gjirokastra Foundation said that this price will be a big stimulus for Lumbardhi and other stake holders in order to keep up the good work in preserving the cultural heritage values and using them for the local development. 
Ares Shporta director of Lumbardhi Foundation thanked everyone who was part of this journey, which still continues. “DokuFest this year asks us How to survive? Lumbardhi has been a story of survival throughout his history”.   
The main Awards Ceremony will take place on 26 September in Prague.  

Photo Credits: Kushtrim Haxha