Lushnja launches 10th edition of Folk Festival

Lushnja launches 10th edition of Folk Festival

TIRANA, May 30- The National Typologic Folk Festival of Traditional Original Dance launched its tenth edition at the city of Lushnja. Eight competing groups participated in this edition, while three other groups greeted the public. This year’s festival brought over

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Armaldo Kllogjeri to hold recital at Tirana’s Amphitheatre

Armaldo Kllogjeri to hold recital at Tirana’s Amphitheatre

TIRANA, May 30- Renowned tenor Armaldo Kllogjeri, who is held as one of the most beautiful and powerful voices of Albanian opera art, will hold the concert “E lucevan le stelle” today at the stage of Tirana’s amphitheater. The recital

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Xhubleta, a forgotten treasure of cultural identity

Xhubleta, a forgotten treasure of cultural identity

TIRANA, May 27- Historian Jaho Brahaj has written how the traditional clothing xhubleta is itself an exhibition with cult and mythological symbols of our culture and our national cultural identity. He wonders whether any of our statesmen will ever design

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Albanian integrates çifteli at the Hamburg Philharmonic

Albanian integrates çifteli at the Hamburg Philharmonic

TIRANA, May 29- Hava Bekteshi who works as an economist at Neustadt near Hamburg, Germany, has migrated from Macedonia to Germany with her parents when she was 14 years old. Albanian autochthonous music and our most famous instrument the çifteli,

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“Onufri” Museum to implement audio guides

“Onufri” Museum to implement audio guides

TIRANA, May 29- The National Iconic Museum “Onufri” in Berat introduced the digital audio guide system on April 23. The Ministry of Culture announced that the audio guide system introduces a new digital model in Albania in order to encourage

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Culture Ministry freezes translation and composition funds

Culture Ministry freezes translation and composition funds

TIRANA, May 26- In its book policy the Ministry of Culture has opened a fund for literary creativity and translation for several years. But this year is accompanied by delays in the call for which the ministry needs to make

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“It is forbidden not to touch!”

“It is forbidden not to touch!”

TIRANA, May 25- The National History Museum and the Institute for blind children “Ramazan Kabashi” organized a collaborative activity titled “It is forbidden not to touch,” with the aim of promoting the rights of children with sight disabilities, as well

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Albania of 1928-31 from the eyes of two Italian diplomats

Albania of 1928-31 from the eyes of two Italian diplomats

TIRANA, May 23- The Center for Openness and Dialogue (COD) within the quarters of the Prime Minister’s office is displaying a special exhibition of 86 photos from the personal archive of diplomats Pietro and Larissa Quaroni about an Albania during

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Qerimaj’s “Arch of Triumph”

Qerimaj’s “Arch of Triumph”

TIRANA, May 23- The “Arch of Triumph of Qerimaj” is a concert that was held in Tirana’s Amphitheater yesterday, and it was a cultural event that brought together nine artists from the renowned Qerimaj family, to whom French musicians that

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International Puppet Fest returns in Tirana

International Puppet Fest returns in Tirana

TIRANA, May 23- The second edition of the International Puppet Festival returns to the Metropol Theater scene on May 25 to June 1. Troops with a long tradition in this theater genre such as China, Spain, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Israel,

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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 30- The National Typologic Folk Festival of Traditional Original Dance launched its tenth edition at the city of Lushnja. Eight competing groups participated in this edition, while three other groups greeted the public. This year's festival brought over 200 popular artists to the stage. The event was organized by the Municipality of Lushnja in cooperation with the National Center for Folklore Activities. The first prize in this festival was won by the Kolonja group of Erseka, as second was awarded Diber’s cultural center, while the third prize was won by the “Dropulli” ensemble of Gjirokastra. The jury also praised different individuals with the career award, best female and male dancers, and so on. Jury president prof. dr. Agron Xhangolli announced the prizes. The positive feature of this festival was the intertwining of folk artists of different ages and the variety of folk costumes. 

The participating groups were presented on stage according to the artistic criteria drafted by the National Center for Folk Activities (NCFA), and after being advised on the terrain by the selection committee. The NCFA works on the identification, protection, popularization and promotion of intangible heritage. It organizes workshops, roundtables and meetings with other cultural-artistic institutions, cultural associations and private groups dealing with art and cultivating intangible heritage. At the same time, NCFA organizes various ethnomusical, choreographic and illustrative publications of intangible culture, and organizes activities devoted to prominent figures of Albanian folk culture, folklore scholars and collectors, performers of melodies, songs and folk dances, masters of artisanship, etc.. The National Center of Folklore Activities is the only state institution specializing in conducting the National Typical Folk Festival and the National Folklore Festival of Gjirokastra. It is a central, specialized state institution, under the Ministry of Culture, and treats intangible spiritual folklore inheritance as a national asset that is preserved and developed in Albanian territories, but also outside state borders such as Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Greece and Diaspora.

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 30- Renowned tenor Armaldo Kllogjeri, who is held as one of the most beautiful and powerful voices of Albanian opera art, will hold the concert “E lucevan le stelle” today at the stage of Tirana’s amphitheater. The recital concert will be accompanied by the 45-instrumentalist orchestra of the Theater of Opera and Ballet (TOB), will be directed by Gridi Kraja, the choir conductor is Dritan Lumshi, and renowned soprano Ramona Tullumani will also be present. The concert will bring  the public brilliant arias from global opera repertoire, Neapolitan songs, beloved Albanian songs hits due years, Spanish, Greek, Russian sounds, etc. 

“For me this is a first recital concert that I do in these dimensions. The repertoire is selected from classical opera music. But not only opera arias, but [...] They pieces composed by Puccini, Verdi, Bellini, Avni Mula, and other authors,” said Kllogjeri. 

Kllogjeri said that the program is conceived so that people can hear familiar opera music pieces to sing along themselves. The concert is built in such a way that people won’t get exhausted, so the focus won’t on powerful arias and duets. According to Kllogjeri every artist has a dream to hold recital concerts, but this time everything is organized within a month. Support in organizing this concert was given by the Tirana Municipality in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture.

Today's concert is a compilation of Kllogjeri’s career in 15 years at TOB, who has been participating in various shows and concerts. Kllogjeri said that artists should have more financial support for their projects and activities. The financial conditions force artists to traipse in order to take control of the funds they need for organizing a concert of such magnanimity.  

“Because having nearly 80 people you need to reward for the job. The only problem is financial support, because outside Albania it works differently, but with us if the support will be greater by powerful businesses, it would allow us to make these activities feasible,” said Kllogjeri. 

Armaldo Kllogjeri graduated from the University of Arts in 2006, majoring in Canto at the class taught by Professor Buran Spahiu. He was distinguished for his special talents. His last performance with TOB was a few months ago with Rudolf's role in the opera “La Boheme.” This year he received the prize as the best tenor of the year by the academy “Kult.” His rich career ranges both inside and outside the country, performing the roles of Duke of Mantua at the opera “Rigoletto,” Cavaradossi at the opera “Tosca,” Alfredo in “La Traviata,” Luigi in “Il Tabarro,” Lekë Dukagjini in the opera “Skënderbeu,” etc..
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 27- Historian Jaho Brahaj has written how the traditional clothing xhubleta is itself an exhibition with cult and mythological symbols of our culture and our national cultural identity. He wonders whether any of our statesmen will ever design and fill the dossier to suggest UNESCO that xhubleta be included in the Assets of Humanity classification. 

In the picture shown here is the prapanik (backward) of the narrow xhubleta, inherited and worked though generations by the women of the Drini shores, the area of ​​Puka and Lekbibaj. It is called prapanik due to the position where the clothing was held, that is on the back of the body, in contrast to the paranik (forward). The prapanik hanging on a colorful line of cloth that hangs beneath Kërdhokllë, also part of the narrow Xhubleta. It is called the narrow xhubleta because it differs from the xhubleta of Malësi e Madhe in some constituent elements, but also additional elements that the latter does not have.

The constituent elements of this typology are indicative of the form distinctions, the richness of symbolism, indications of its longevity. It is thought that Xhubleta is a garment of an about 4000-year-old origin, inherited by Albanians during its development. Xhubleta in all its constituent elements preserves and reveals ornamental cult elements and mythical contents from our spiritual heritage, graphically presented with hues and perfect artistic components. However, the narrow xhubleta is unfortunately disappearing, with very rare preserved specimens.

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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 29- Hava Bekteshi who works as an economist at Neustadt near Hamburg, Germany, has migrated from Macedonia to Germany with her parents when she was 14 years old. Albanian autochthonous music and our most famous instrument the çifteli, has always been an integral part of the free time at the home where Bekteshi grew up. In this way this instrument became for her a means of expressing her feelings, longing and sorrow since her early childhood.

Over time, her çifteli crossed the walls of her home and her family, and she started playing the instrument and introducing it in the schools she attended, in various orchestras, amongst other artists, and wherever else the Albanian economist could find the opportunity to make this part of the Albanian tradition known.

“I have participated in various festivals, in collaboration with musicians of different genres, where I've always included the çifteli. Then I have developed projects with German students, projects in theatres, like the German Theatre ‘Deutsches Schauspielhaus,’ but also outside Germany in cities such as Venice, Lyon, etc.,” said Bekteshi.

But Bekteshi considers her appearance at the concert performed with the famous Hamburg Philharmonic (Elbphilarmonie) as the coronation of her efforts in this regard. This was carried on May 25, under the project “Stadtlied” (City Song) that took place in Hamburg. At Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, she played with her çifteli the renowned “Tingellon teli i Çiftelise” (The çifteli string dings). This is the first time that our most famous instrument is seen and heard at a concert of such sizes. 

“It was something so incredible and I am very grateful that I was able to stay in this giant stage together with so many other professional artists,” said Bekteshi.

She has been chosen as one of the protagonists of this grand concert, for which major German media have reported and written on. They also conducted a portrait on the young Albanian. This concert was preceded by a long and intense preparation through various rehearsals and workshops. There were over 100 participants of different genders, ages, professions and origins. The purpose of this project was to introduce Hamburg as a cosmopolitan and diversified city, where a large number of communities of different descents live and interact.

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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 29- The National Iconic Museum “Onufri” in Berat introduced the digital audio guide system on April 23. The Ministry of Culture announced that the audio guide system introduces a new digital model in Albania in order to encourage similar innovative initiatives in other museums, touristic and cultural sites, enriching the tourist experience in Albania. 

The tourists have the opportunity to discover the museum and its masterpieces in four different languages, Albanian, Italian, English and German. The guide covers the stories of 40 rare works, narrated within an hour and a half. The tourists will have the opportunity to explore, learn, and establish a personal relationship with the works and the museum. “Onufri” will thus be the first museum in Albania that offers such a service to its visitors, according to European standards. It is expected that the performance of the museum will increase, which will be reflected in the number of visitors, but also their evaluation for the service provided. The implementation of the Digital Audio-guide System at the National Iconic Museum “Onufri” is made with the intervention of IntoAlbania (Innovative Tourism in Albania), a project funded by USAID and Sweden in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and the museum “Onufri.” A cooperation agreement was signed for the project in September 2017 with the aim of promoting the Albanian cultural heritage. French company “Orpheo” which is specialized in digitalization and services offered in museums all over the world, is the technological partner. 

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 26- In its book policy the Ministry of Culture has opened a fund for literary creativity and translation for several years. But this year is accompanied by delays in the call for which the ministry needs to make on these funds. A year ago the fund for translating Albanian literature into a foreign language, the ministry call for applications was March 1. But so far in this year, the ministry has made no open proclamations neither for the fund nor for literary composition.  

Found under these circumstances, the writers said that it is not fair that the Ministry of Culture does not report on policies that are being developed to support creativity and translation. Writer Pandeli Koçi said that it is unknown so far with what program will the Ministry of Culture support authors this year. He said that if the call for funding will not open then there will be no programs for various artistic and literary projects. This would affect both the translation and the authors in their creativity processes. He wonders how will the ministry promote the artistic-cultural activities, and why it hasn’t state the reasons for terminating the program if it has decided so, or why there have been no calls for funds this far. 

“What other means will the ministry use to encourage this activity that is vital to Albanian culture? The ministry needs to clarify why there is no funding is available so far, and the secondly, what it plans to fund this practice,” said Koçi. 

Even for another author Vasil Premçi the Ministry of Culture has shown a lack of transparency. He said the writers are excluded from the ministry. Premçi said that issues with splitting the funds have always occurred, because they weren’t distributed with a fair estimate, but rather how the ministry has desired.

Writer Xhahid Bushati on the other hand said he has the impression that the Ministry of Culture is showing more attention to tourism.He said that previously funds for creative writing composition and translation would be called on March, however it seems to him that the Ministry is focusing too much on cultural tourism. This has led the attention to divert from the problematics Albanian literature is facing and children's literature in particular. He said this has damaged Albanian literature because it does not give impulse, thus getting to low readership. 

Regarding this problem, official sources at the Ministry of Culture suggest that book projects are still under review and delays are related to some changes in the ministry's structures. The Ministry of Culture has said it will soon come out with an official announcement about this matter. However, these funds are seen as a help to the authors or the translators, although different authors or publishers have claimed that there should be more transparency and fairer estimates of the applications being made.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 25- The National History Museum and the Institute for blind children “Ramazan Kabashi” organized a collaborative activity titled “It is forbidden not to touch,” with the aim of promoting the rights of children with sight disabilities, as well as supporting people with disabilities to have access to all walks of life, both in cultural centers and other public centers. In the second edition of event “It is forbidden not to touch” another group of children with visual problems got to touch various objects at the National History Museum. 

This activity consists of planned visits to the NHM pavilions by disabled students. The students of the “Ramazan Kabashi” Institute, equipped with gloves given by the staff of the museum, were able to touch the predetermined objects, original objects exhibited in the museum pavilions. The contact with these objects was accomplished with the help of the museum employees, who led the children along the wards, and during palpating the objects gave the description and relevant history for each object. Pre-designed objects to be tackled were secured and fixed to the right height to avoid potential damages. 

The National Historical Museum further writes that it is a welcoming, warm, inclusive, accessible and positive Institution for people with disabilities who would like to visit and work on it. 

“Children with sight disabilities came to experience the world by their hands. At the same time, the ability to touch and feel the original objects is a new way to teach the ancient Albanian civilization,” the museum wrote. 

There are about 5000 objects in the museum's premises, which belong to a relatively long period of time, beginning in the 4th century BC and until the second half of the 20th century. The museum is conceived so that the presentation is made through eight pavilions, such as antiquity, medieval, national revival, independence, icons, etc. Albania's material and immaterial cultural heritage is promoted through the stands of the museum, which provides adequate space for displaying collections.

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                    [post_date] => 2019-05-24 15:01:25
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 23- The Center for Openness and Dialogue (COD) within the quarters of the Prime Minister’s office is displaying a special exhibition of 86 photos from the personal archive of diplomats Pietro and Larissa Quaroni about an Albania during 1928-1931, and its elitary rich families and politicians of the time. The photos were made by the Quaroni couple during their diplomatic mission at the Italian Embassy in Albania in this period of four years and most of them are exhibited for the first time for the public. The photographs of different sizes and are accompanied by two documentaries of the same period, one of them is from the “Luce” archive which is temporarily given for this exhibition, and shows the moment when Foreign Minister Dino Grandi visited Albania. For the first time it is possible to see in its entirety the rich archive of over 780 photographs, digitized for this occasion, and gifted to Albania by their granddaughter Cristina Quaroni. 

In this exhibition the visitor is given the opportunity to discover the Albanian events, people, everyday life, landscapes and traditions, as seen and lived by the Quaroni couple in an historical and social context, which presents a lot of interest: astonishing and authentic scenery, a realistic look not particularly common on political figures and characters who dominated the Albanian scene during the 1920s and 1930s. The diplomatic couple themselves have posed with traditional Albanian costumes, which are also exposed in this exhibition. After the Quaronis come to Albania, they start to get acquainted with the country's elite, they participate in dinners and receptions, and pull the threads of the time’s politics. We remind that Italy of this time is very close to Albania. Among all their daily engagements they also shot about hundreds of photographs of politicians, beys, and large Albanian families. 

During an info-session held at COD which was moderated by renowned journalist Blendi Fevziu, he mentioned that some of the important characters of the time displayed in these photographs rarely appear in our archives, such as the photo of one of the most beautiful women of Albania of those years, Sara Blloshmi, or personalities like Iliaz Vrioni and Eqerem Bej Vlora. Historian Nevila Nika also said on the perspectives these photographs offer in many disciplines, such as “architects can see how Tirana was in 1928, the sociologist or the anthropologist can see the clothing worn then and the social activities, those who study political science can see the politicians of those times.” She added that these pictures offer an important historical context because Albanian photography and its elements has suffered many losses in files and documents due to the various wars our country went through.

[caption id="attachment_141890" align="aligncenter" width="504"]60158720_871725509834259_9166835724480151552_n The Quaroni couple[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_141898" align="aligncenter" width="900"]Cristina Quaroni (left) talking to Alberto Cutillo (right), Italian Ambassador to Albania Cristina Quaroni (left) talking to Alberto Cutillo (right), Italian Ambassador to Albania[/caption]

60681711_875741929432617_2018076085803024384_n

[caption id="attachment_141893" align="aligncenter" width="900"]Prince Leka Prince Leka[/caption]

60788151_875741916099285_3898864495472148480_n

61027659_875822902757853_7416063778816524288_o

[caption id="attachment_141896" align="aligncenter" width="717"]Diplomat Rauf Fico (left_, and former prime minister Koço Kotta (right) Diplomat Rauf Fico (left), and former prime minister Koço Kotta (right)[/caption]

60649609_875730286100448_411054724146528256_o
                    [post_title] => Albania of 1928-31 from the eyes of two Italian diplomats
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                    [post_date] => 2019-05-24 14:48:26
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-05-24 12:48:26
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 23- The “Arch of Triumph of Qerimaj” is a concert that was held in Tirana's Amphitheater yesterday, and it was a cultural event that brought together nine artists from the renowned Qerimaj family, to whom French musicians that have performed the “Gladiator” film’s soundtrack joined. It was a festive concert that brought together three generations of the Qerimaj family on the occasion of the 85th anniversary of birth to musical dynasty’s father, Ethem Qerimaj.

Renowned composer and Ethem’s son, Fatos Qerimaj, said on Tuesday that they will introduce instrumentalists to the Albanian public. The 85th anniversary of his father was paid special attention to, so it would make him [Ethem] happy with an evening on his triumphant career. That is why, Fatos said, the title “Arch of Triumph” was given to the concert an abstraction of his artistic career.

“We have a Tirana suite, one from the North and one from the South. The concert will include all Albanian territories,” added composer Qerimaj, while he noted that special guests at this concert will be the French instrumentalists who have been part of the realization of the “Gladiator” soundtrack.

Renowned French instrumentalist Levon Minassian, who has cooperated with Charles Aznavour, Helene Segara, Peter Gabriel, Tony Levin, Armand Amar and Sting, said he was very happy to be at this concert in Tirana. He plays the duduk, an instrument that has been part of many soundtracks he has performed in, and noted that it was very important that the instrument was even more evident in the gladiator film. The Qerimaj family and the French instrumentalists performed their best repertoire of traditional, Balkan, and European music. 

 
                    [post_title] => Qerimaj’s “Arch of Triumph” 
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                    [post_date] => 2019-05-24 14:47:07
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 23- The second edition of the International Puppet Festival returns to the Metropol Theater scene on May 25 to June 1. Troops with a long tradition in this theater genre such as China, Spain, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Israel, and England, will entertaining both children and all age groups. Albania is represented with two shows “Where the mountain meet the moon” written by Grace Lin, and the musical show “Goodwill” by Elona Hyseni. 

This second edition is organised by Tirana’s Metropol Theater in cooperation with Klau's Film Association. Armela Demaj who is Artistic Director at Metropol Theater said that a second edition which includes international troops is brought for the public follow last year’s success, where the shows were organized in two different locations within the Metropol Theater and at the Skanderbeg Square. One of the festival organizers explained how the selection of works was done and the plays chosen to be performed are so different from one-another, both from the content and techniques. Director Klajdi Ymeri said this confrontation serves not only to the public but also to the artists. 

Some of the representative performances during the festival are “Where the mountain meets the moon,” “Twisting the tail” from Israel, “Catching the puppets” from Mexico, “Ugly duckling” from Poland, “Spring Beauties” from China, “Bravo, Bravissimo!” from Italy, “Time Game” by Spanish writer David Zuazola, “The mirror” from England etc.. The troops will stage two performances each, one during the morning at the Metropol Theater and the other every evening at Skanderbeg Square. 
                    [post_title] => International Puppet Fest returns in Tirana
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            [post_date] => 2019-05-30 17:30:02
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            [post_content] => TIRANA, May 30- The National Typologic Folk Festival of Traditional Original Dance launched its tenth edition at the city of Lushnja. Eight competing groups participated in this edition, while three other groups greeted the public. This year's festival brought over 200 popular artists to the stage. The event was organized by the Municipality of Lushnja in cooperation with the National Center for Folklore Activities. The first prize in this festival was won by the Kolonja group of Erseka, as second was awarded Diber’s cultural center, while the third prize was won by the “Dropulli” ensemble of Gjirokastra. The jury also praised different individuals with the career award, best female and male dancers, and so on. Jury president prof. dr. Agron Xhangolli announced the prizes. The positive feature of this festival was the intertwining of folk artists of different ages and the variety of folk costumes. 

The participating groups were presented on stage according to the artistic criteria drafted by the National Center for Folk Activities (NCFA), and after being advised on the terrain by the selection committee. The NCFA works on the identification, protection, popularization and promotion of intangible heritage. It organizes workshops, roundtables and meetings with other cultural-artistic institutions, cultural associations and private groups dealing with art and cultivating intangible heritage. At the same time, NCFA organizes various ethnomusical, choreographic and illustrative publications of intangible culture, and organizes activities devoted to prominent figures of Albanian folk culture, folklore scholars and collectors, performers of melodies, songs and folk dances, masters of artisanship, etc.. The National Center of Folklore Activities is the only state institution specializing in conducting the National Typical Folk Festival and the National Folklore Festival of Gjirokastra. It is a central, specialized state institution, under the Ministry of Culture, and treats intangible spiritual folklore inheritance as a national asset that is preserved and developed in Albanian territories, but also outside state borders such as Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Greece and Diaspora.

 
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