Ancient Towers and Homes

Abdullah pasha Dreni’s house

This is a three storey house shaped like a tower with embrasures, which belongs to the selamlik of Abdullah pasha Dreni’s palaces. Currently, the first storey cannot be distinguished from outside because of the elevation of the level of the main road, which through the bridge of Islam Bey connects two parts of the city.

Besides architectural values, this building has also historical importance, because marshal Mehmet Ali Pasha was killed in this building. He had arrived to Gjakova to give away to Montenegro and Serbia Albanian lands foreseen by Berlin Congress.

Albanian League branch in Gjakova called its forces consisted of 10 thousand fighters, who settled in the houses inside the city, which had turned into a military barrack. Citizens opened their granaries and their baskets for providing food for them; city mills were working non-stop to provide flour, while bakers were producing bread non-stop for the freedom fighters. Gunsmiths were working day and night to ensure weapons and ammunition, while some houses were dedicated for treating injured people, where barbers and traditional healers were taking care of saving lives of the injured.

After unsuccessful discussions in the besieged house of Abdullah pasha Dreni, the branch leader, from 1-3 September 1878, the war began lasting until September 6th, where Mehmet Ali pasha, Abdullah pasha Dreni, Bajram aga Rrustemi and ottoman soldiers were killed by the besiegers, while from the League side, 400 volunteers were killed.
In this tower house, the Museum of Gjakova Branch of Albanian League has been established.

Sylejman Vokshi’s house from XIX century

Stone tower house built by the National Hero Sulejman Vokshi, a distinguished activist in the Albanian National League, initiator for establishing the Albanian League of Prizren (June 10, 1878) and a distinguished political and military leader, member of its Central Committee, head of the Commission for Finance and head of the Albanian League Branch in Gjakova. He was one of the organizers of the fights against Mehmet Ali pasha. As a member of the Military Headquarters of the League, he was one of the leaders of Albanian fighters in the battles for protection of Plava and Gucia.

In the Provisional Government of the League (1881) he was the commander of armed forces, with whom he extended the authority of the League in Skopje, Prishtina, Mitrovica, Luma, Guci, Vushtrri, Presheva etc.
He led the army of the League in the harsh battles against Dervish pasha in Shtime and in Slivova and at the end in Morina Gorge, where ottoman army was defeated.

After the crush of the League and the dissolution of its government, he continued the resistance trying to rejoin League branches until 1885 when he was arrested perfidiously by marshal Vejsel pasha.

He was sentenced by ottoman courts around 20 times because of his patriotic activities. Finally he was given a death sentence, but due to the pressure from Albanian National League, the sentence was changed to life sentence.

In the justification for protection of this facility it is stated that S. Vokshi was a distinguished leader and a commander of armed forces of the Prizren League, and that he dedicated his whole life to fighting for national liberation, which led to imprisonment and deportation for 15 to 20 times, and in 1885 the Extraordinary Court of Prizren gave him a death sentence.

It is under protection by law since 1980.

Mustafa Vokshi’s tower house from XIX century in “M.Frashëri” street

Two storey brick tower house of S. Vokshi’s brother, Mustafai, an activist of the Albanian National League.

This is where his son was born, Beqir Vokshi, participant in anti-ottoman insurgencies  in 1910-1912 and all other popular events until 1918, when the Committee for National Protection of Kosovo was established, where he represented Gjakova as a member of the Committee, later he was elected as an assistant to the Secretary of the Committee.
He gave a great contribution in preparing statistical information, necessary for denouncing Serb terror in Kosovo.

He was a commander of the Neutral Zone of Junik until 1923.
He left some patriotic poems as manuscripts.
He was decorated with the Order for Patriotic Activities of the 1st Class.

Sabrije Vokshi, when she was still young, joined the resistance movement against Serb occupation, helping his brother, Beqir, in the Neutral Zone of Junik until 1923.

Unable to live in Gjakova she moves with her family in Tirana, where she joins the democratic movement in Albania. After 1935 she assists the illegal activities of her nephew, Asim, until he goes to Spain.

She participated in antifascist demonstration in the verge of occupation of Albania by Italy. Her house was the base of the illegal movement, which resulted in her imprisonment, and afterwards deportation to Junik. She continued her illegal antifascist activities until she joined the partisan units. In Bujan Conference she reported about the help of women to NLAW.

Being dissatisfied with the situation in Kosovo after NLAW, after the annulment of the Bujan decisions, the political persecutions start again, discharging her from all the functions and isolating her until after the Brioni Plenum. Mother Bija was turned into a symbol of patriotism of Albanian woman, she was turned into inspiration for many poets and rhapsods, one of which wrote: “Mother Bia, you’re a woman, you’re a mother, you’re a grandmother… you’re Albania itself…” 

National Hero Asim Vokshi, the nephew of Beqir and Bije Vokshi, after he finished his studies in Italy, he joined the democratic movement in Albania, which culminated with the Insurgency of Fier in 1935, where he participated and was imprisioned. After the imprisonment he continued the illegal fight, publishing in 1936 the democratic magazine ABC. He was killed in Spain leading a Garibaldi followers unit.

The martyr Dërgut Vokshi, Asim’s older brother, joined the democratic movement in Albania and in Kosovo, NLAW. He was killed in Landovica in 1943.

Hysni Koshi’s tower

Built in XIX century, located in the Bazaar it presents a three storey tower house made from stone. It is one of the rare cases preserved in the city.

In the shallow justification of the decision for protection of this monument it is stated that fortification tower houses in Dukagjini Plain were built by Albanian craftsmen, that they have special architectural characteristics, that they are distinguished for their closed qualities that give them certain protection and fortification features.

It is under protection by law since 1980.

Clock tower

Rapid development of craftsmanship and trade pushed the need for issuing an order that would set the working time in cities. Gjakova, as a city with booming economical development had a clock tower, located in the center of the city, in the Clock Area, which was burnt in 1912 by Montenegrin military forces.

A new clock tower exists today.

Tasim Bey’s tower

Three storey brick made tower house, built in the beginning of the XX century, the only preserved one in Kryezius’ sarays, one of the most famous families of Beys in Gjakova, which through its architectural means represents a strong family, a rich family, “a strong hosue”, called tower, adapted to the needs of civic life, preserving partially the external looks of a real rural tower.

Ismet Curri’s tower

Two storey brick made tower house, in Hanka neighborhood, in which the decorated ceiling with carved wood done by Gjakova’s wood carvers, is still preserved.

Shahin Kryeziu’s house

Characteristic two storey house with closed stall, built within the saray of Abdullah pasha Dreni, after it was burnt on September 6, 1878.

The house of Rexhep Haxhi Ismailit from XIX century

It was built around 1830. It presents a high achievement in civic building with a stall in Kosovo. It has two floors and two interesting stalls. It has an interesting heating system. The ceilings are decorated with carved wood. 

In the poor justification of the decision for protection of this building it is stated that it is a very interesting architectural building, which holds all the features of old city building architecture. Regional museum has been established in this building.
It is under protection by law since 1955.

Qamil Haxhibeqiri’s house

A house with a stall from XIX century, located in Hanka neighborhood, in which the living room has been partially preserved with a ceiling decorated with carved wood, the musandra with decorated doors based on the designs from that time and also with the door of the room decorated as well as per the ornaments of that time.

Hasan Polloshka’s house

In the location for cereal harvest there is a preserved open stall of a premise with a corridor. The stall is shaped like a rectangle, covered in the upper part with a board ceiling. The stall is a continuance of the corridor and the garret, which by the mid of XIX century did not fit in with the new demands of life oriented toward civilization.

Tailor shop, the office of tailors in Grand Bazaar

A building with the shop in the first floor, while in the second floor there was the office of the tailors, which at the same time was the office of the Gjakova Branch of Albanian League. That is where the League decided to request in peace form Mehmet Ali pasha to stop on his way to Montenegro and to go back, making sure that there will not be any consequences for him or his escort. In the contrary his way forward would be hampered with guns.

Categories: Kultura

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