Photo courtesy of the Municipality of Ferizaj Facebook account.

Former Gymnasium Building Burns – a Day After its Renovations Started

A treasured building that used to be the Gymnasium High School in Ferizaj, has been gutted by fire one day after the Ministry of Culture started renovation of the site.

Photo courtesy of the Municipality of Ferizaj Facebook account.

In the early hours of Tuesday morning a fire spread through the Old Gymnasium High School building, the municipality of Ferizaj announced. 

“The municipality of Ferizaj asks the investigative bodies, prosecution and judicial bodies to conduct a full scale investigation of the case and that the causes of the fire are made public to the citizens,” the announcement continued.

This is not the first time that the old building, one of the few historical buildings left in the quickly developing city, has been burned. Previous smaller scale attempts to burn it down were unsuccessful. 

“A chronicle of a foretold death!” Besim Ugzmajli, a movie director  from Ferizaj, wrote on Facebook. “What has been warned for a long time, happened. An insurmountable shame for everyone, and in particular the shame of the responsible institutions. It seems that everything that the state takes under protection becomes the most insecure subject or object possible,” he added. 

“Negligence by the municipality of Ferizaj and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports burned the building of the former Gymnasium down today,” Sovran Nrecaj, another young movie director from the city continued, adding the hashtag ‘shame has a name’.

Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Hajrulla Çeku commented on the incident, calling it a crime and blaming narrow interest groups for attempting to stop the renovations using mafia methods. 

“We signed the contract for the restoration of the old gymnasium last week. Yesterday they started the work, while today in the early hours of the morning they set it on fire. This is a crime. Those responsible must face justice. The old gymnasium “Ismail Qemali” in Ferizaj will be restored, whether the perpetrators like it or not. Our cultural heritage is more important than your narrow interests. Mafia methods and orders do not stop us,” Çeku wrote on Facebook. 

Photo courtesy of the Municipality of Ferizaj Facebook account.

The municipality of Ferizaj committed to protect the object with all its capacity and legal competence, as an ‘object that represents the value of the cultural heritage of Ferizaj.’ The building will be offered back to the public after the restoration work has taken place, their statement concluded. 

Attempts to burn the building have occurred in the past, but from what Prishtina Insight has observed, responsible institutions have failed to take the object under protection and prevent further incidents. 

The building was constructed in 1928 and belonged to the cultural heritage of the city. 

14/03/2023 - 15:58

14 March 2023 - 15:58

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.