Junik's Kulla as shown through Kallxo’s 360-degree video technology.
Craftsmen from Dibra were well known for the construction of the famous stone towers in Junik, the last of which were built around the 17th and 18th centuries. In the area of Junik around 300 Albanian kulla were built, a series of unique features which contribute to the cultural heritage of Albanians throughout the region.
The kulla were built to serve a number of practical uses across their three stories, which were organised as a family fortification. Firstly, the ground floor was used to keep livestock, with the inhabitants of the towers residing on the second floor. These living rooms were used to sleep and eat, with traditional Albanian dining tables and dishware stored through the corridors.
The third floor was the most important area of the kulla, where elderly members of the family would stay. The structure and setting of these rooms, the oda, were decided according to the importance of the families and neighbourhoods from which the elderly residents were from.
The Albanian kulla were constructed specifically to ensure preparedness for any kind of attack: built around the exterior, small turrets would be strategically placed in order for the residents to observe the kulla’s surroundings and protect themselves from the enemy.
These Junik kulla enacted a fundamental self-governing mechanism for the area, upholding the rules of Kanun for several centuries. Rather than police-like oversight, governance inside the towers was practiced on the basis of the moral values of their inhabitants. It was the duty of each family to ensure that their respective family members would acknowledge and abide by the rules and decisions laid down by the Assemblies of Junik’s towers.
Throughout the Kosovo War of 1998-99, Junik’s kullat were destroyed by military and paramilitary forces. In the aftermath of the liberation of the Republic of Kosovo, only 27 of the towers in this area were restored. To this day, the cultural impact and tradition surrounding the towers of Junik remains strong: visitors come to the Kullat to be served with traditional Albanian food, and to get to know more about the traditions and customs of the area.
*Please choose closed captions to view the video in English.
24 November 2017 - 21:10