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The reuse of problematic industrial remains the example of the Spaç prison, Albania

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11:00 AM, Mercredi 31 Août 2022 (20 minutes)

The operation of the Spaç mine as a prison labour camp in the mountains of the north-eastern part of Albania, exemplifies measures a totalitarian leadership establish in order to control the population and put away citizens that are perceived to be a threat to the state. Spaç represents the consequences of an increasingly pathological conviction during the 1960s up to its closure in 1989, on invasion threats from the outside and rebellions from the inside. 

For a couple of decades it has slowly melted into oblivion and an increased state of dilapidation. Through the activities of a number of former prisoners the site was declared as a monument under Albanian law in 2007, however without governmental funds for preservation or any other measures. In 2013 the Swedish foundation Cultural Heritage without Borders (CHwB), through its Albanian office in Tirana, initiated workshops and dialogues with stakeholders. This process has continued from 2017 led by CHwB Albania, now an independent national NGO, with measures aiming at stabilising structural parts of the site. 

The Spaç prison labour camp as heritage is conceptualised in the article in reference of changing motivations, interests, and strategies, over time for heritage designation, as well as the challenges formulated by the intimacy between heritage practices, place branding, destination development and the tourism industry. 

Bo Lagerqvist


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