Recent data indicates that the cultural heritage of the Ottoman Era in the Balkans is greatly threatened; many of the existing Ottoman period buildings have been destroyed. Furthermore, historians have established a link between the use of history and the potential of interethnic violence in the region. A Balkan Tale aims to stimulate public discourse about the history of the region and to contribute to public access to and the preservation of its cultural heritage.
A Balkan Tale is a Goethe-Institut project, produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. It is produced by Anemon, in partnership with over ten Balkan NGOs. Christina Koulouri is the senior historical advisor, while a series of established historians are also participating, including Mark Mazower. Leading contemporary photographers from the West Balkans (Kamilo Nollas-Athens, Jutta Benzenberg-Tirana, Ivan Blazhev-Skopje, Samir Karahoda-Prizren and Ivan Petrovic-Belgrade) have created images of Ottoman period monuments with a contemporary perspective. The photographs include the most important mosques, churches, public baths, aqueducts, houses, bridges and poor houses in each country, capturing each building’s unique historical features as well as its current state. Guided by the region’s finest historians, the exhibition re-examines the significance that this common history has for us today. At the same time, the exhibition challenges us to look beyond our national boundaries and to explore our common Balkan history.