Francesco Vietti

UNESCO and the dictator. Cultural heritage, totalitarianism and mobility in Albania

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Albania boasts three World Heritage Sites: the Butrint National Park and the Historic Centres of Berat and Gjirokastra. This article critically presents the history of these sites during the period of the Italian occupation, the subsequent dictatorship of Enver Hoxha and the so-called «post-socialist transition». The research hypothesis is that the concepts of mobility/immobility can be an original key to investigate the link between cultural heritage and totalitarianism in the Albanian context. The result of the analysis shows how the process of patrimonialization in contemporary Albania, while challenging the patrimonial policies implemented by Fascism and Communism in the XX century, recovers some elements, reworking their meaning with the intention of defining the new tourist image of the country. The study is based on the analysis of documents preserved by the National Historical Archive of Tirana and on an ethnographic fieldwork carried out in Butrint, Berat and Gjirokastra.


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