Elisa MIHO | Kristiana KUMI | Julia DEMIRAJ
(Catholic University “Our Lady of Good Counsel”, Tirana, Albania)

Keywords: Unwanted Heritage; Socialism; Mausoleum; Albania; digital documentation;

The communist regime that governed Albania during 1944-1991 has left considerable architectural remains that are now disappearing according to new urban developments. The project presented here will explore the perception of the monumental heritage of the socialist regime starting from the monument of “Piramida”. For the first time in Albania, a futuristic and avant-garde architecture was built, too modern and too innovative for the time. Embedded in the urban context of Tirana, the function of this building was being the mausoleum for the Chairman of the Communist party “Enver Hoxha”, a place of (obligatory) pilgrimage for the citizens of that time. It was designed in 1988 by the dictator’s daughter Pranvera Hoxha, his son-in-law Klement Kolaneci, Pirro Vaso and Vladimir Bregu. This building is raised on platforms and stairs which create a square that looks like a pedestal holding for the Pyramid. According to its architects, the top view, goes in harmony with the shape of Mount Dajti. In the years that brought great socio-political changes, it was used as a cultural and social center that over the years has been much neglected and eventually has been transformed as a sort of place of “modern archaeology”. For the new generation the “Piramida” is something that has always been there, a part of the affective geography, or a contextual horizon, both a foreground and a background in which people feel free to be themselves. From the point of view of the generation that has lived during socialism, the value of the heritage of the dictatorship was unavoidably connected to the memory of the time spent living during the regime. These features contribute to the production of a well-rounded image of the life under the regime in all its facets, and to a better comprehension of post-socialist societies.

Relevance for the conference: The project will present the untamed truth of the discontent of the people over the mausoleum at the beginning of the democracy, but eventually accepting it as a part of the nation’s past.
Relevance for the session: The project will shed light over the pure reality of the socialist architecture in Albania.
Innovation: This project will be the first one to visualise the controversial heritage of the socialist architecture in Albania, for the international scene.
• https://web.archive.org/web/20140224113116/http://www.balkanweb.com/gazetav5/newsadmin/preview.php?id=55071,
• http://revistas.jasarqueologia.es/index.php/APJournal/article/view/66