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Albania’s Integrated Management (AIM) World Heritage Site of Butrint

Butrint is one of the world’s exceptional archeological, cultural and ecological landscapes, as testified by its inscriptions as a World Heritage Site (1992), a National Park (2000) and as a Ramsar site (2002). In the framework of the implementation of the new cultural heritage reform in Albania, the Albanian-American Development Foundation (AADF), in partnership with the Albanian Ministry of Culture, is collaborating on the creation of a new dedicated foundation that will govern the archaeological site of Butrint. In this context, the new engagement will provide a fresh management model through the establishment of a dedicated foundation, its operation through a site business plan and the new Integrated Management Plan.

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  • 12.13.2022

    Shortlist for Butrint National Park visitor center international design competition announced

    Shortlist for Butrint National Park visitor center international design competition announced

    The first phase of the international competition for the visitor center in Butrint is closed. The four finalist teams are (in alphabetical order of the leading studio):

    - Kengo Kuma & Associates (Japan) with CHwB Albania, YOKE, Esmeralda Agolli, Ervin Paci, SOLARON Albania, iMEPS Engineering & Consulting, and R-Team Engineering;

    - Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects (Finland) with Geometria Architecture, doxiadis+, Ralph Appelbaum Associates, Giorgos Papazafiriou, and Sitowise

    - Philippe PROST / AAPP (France) with Michel Desvigne Paysagiste, William Van Andringa, Terrell Group, ECO + CONSTRUIRE, and CL Design

    - William Matthews Associates (UK) with Barker Langham, Harris Bugg Studio, Structure Workshop, and Atelier Ten.

    These architect-led teams will now create concept designs. The new center is intended to be a gateway to the wider National Park as well as help the Butrint Management Foundation better manage rising visitor numbers for the WHS focused on the ancient city of Butrint, which is recognized as Albania’s chief cultural attraction.

    The new center will welcome and orient visitors and serve as an educational forum and community-gathering place, as well as a regional hub for other nearby natural and cultural visitor attractions.

    Proposed designs will respect the WHS and Outstanding Universal Values as well as the wider National Park, being sympathetic to the landscape and built cultural heritage.

    The anonymous competition submissions will be judged by a jury of local and international experts, including representatives from the Butrint Management Foundation.

    The international visitor center competition is funded by the Albanian-American Development Foundation (AADF) and organized by the British company Malcolm Reading Consultants for the Butrint Management Foundation, under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture.

  • 09.23.2022

    Launch of the International Design Competition for the Visitor Center of Butrint National Park

    Launch of the International Design Competition for the Visitor Center of Butrint National Park

    Within the support for the implementation of the Butrint National Park Integrated Management Plan, AADF is funding the organization of the international design competition for the visitor center at Butrint.

    The competition is organized by the British company Malcolm Reading Consultants, a company with long experience in organizing international competitions (, with support of the Ministry of Culture, AADF, and the Butrint Management Foundation.

    This is a two-stage international design competition comprising an open Expression of Interest period followed by a design stage for a shortlist of four competitors. The deadline for stage one submissions is 14:00 GMT+1 Monday 24 October 2022.

    For more on the competition, please follow THIS LINK.

  • 11.16.2021

    Signing of the Butrint Cultural Heritage Management Agreement, between Ministry of Culture and Butrint Management Foundation

    Signing of the Butrint Cultural Heritage Management Agreement, between Ministry of Culture and Butrint Management Foundation

    On November 16, at the National Theater House the Ministry of Culture and the Foundation for the Management of Butrint (Foundation) signed the Management Agreement on the future management of Cultural Heritage of Butrint.

    The Management Agreement comes as a result of the implementation of the Integrated Management Plan for Butrint National Park approved by the Albanian Government on July 22, 2020. The purpose of this agreement is the good administration of the Butrint World Heritage Site through a Dedicated Foundation established between the Ministry of Culture and AADF as its strategic partner based on the Law of Cultural Heritage and Museums, 2018. On the Foundation’s Board of Directors, together with the two founding institutions, the fifth member is reserved international experts who will further guarantee the preservation and protection of the archaeological heritage of Butrint.

    For the implementation of the new management model at Butrint, AADF has committed the necessary funds, to be invested in accordance with the vision of the Integrated Management Plan, so that the BNP is recognized “…as a sustainable management model for sites with cultural and natural elements, becoming a hub for the regional tourism offer and providing visitors with a unique experience, engaging local communities and financial institutions, while also serving as a model for other parks in Albania”.

    In her opening speech, the Minister of Culture, Mrs. Elva Margariti thanked the AADF as the Strategic Partner in this new challenge and the valuable contribution of AADF in the cultural heritage system of Albania.

    The AADF Board Chairman Mr. Michael D. Granoff emphasized the importance of creating a new modern management model at Butrint that the rest of the world can emulate.

    As part of the Management Agreement, a Cooperation Protocol was signed between the Foundation and the Institute of Archeology to regulate the upcoming relationship between the two institutions, whereas, the Chairman of the Board of the Foundation Mrs. Elva Margariti and Co-CEOs of AADF Mr. Martin Mata and Mr. Aleksandër Sarapuli signed the Grant Agreement that AADF will disburse to the Foundation for the implementation of the business plan and performance of the Foundation.

    According to the law on cultural heritage, under this management model, the public ownership of cultural asset remains unchanged. The Ministry of Culture is responsible for and ensures the protection of cultural asset values owned by the state, even when co-managed with third parties. Under this model, the administration of universal wealth (included in the UNESCO World Heritage list), may only be undertaken with the approval of the Albanian Parliament, thus ensuring sustainability and transparency.

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