Restoration and revitalization of the winery of St. Stefan Church in Velika Hoča / Hoça e Madhe

Nov 04 - 2014

The village of Velika Hoča/Hoça e Madhe situated in the south of the city of Rahovec/Orahovac, about 20 km in the west of Prizren and is populated mainly by Serbian community. The village still retains its traditional vernacular appearance with several houses of historic significance although in bad condition. As an ensemble, together with the churches, the wineries and the cultivated landscape represent a valuable and harmonious example of vernacular architecture.

The complex of the church of St Stephen encompasses the church, dedicated to the Holy Archdeacon Stephen, the parish house and the winery. It is located in the center of the village and dates back to the 14th century. The winery of St. Stephen’s Church has been restored several times in history. The exact date of the winery construction is not known. It is assumed that the building was erected in the 18th century. This winery is a protected cultural heritage monument because it testifies a long time tradition of wine growing and production, which is a special feature of the village.

The winery of St. Stefan Church is in a bad condition and as such it need to be restored and reused. The beneficiaries – local community, Village Development Council (VDC) and Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) together with CHwB have identified a new use for the building. This proposal suggests the adaption of the building as a wine restaurant. By tasting wine in its natural environment, it is possible to understand that this is not just a drink, but also a traditional product, full of history and art. Velika Hoča/Hoça e Madhe, a region of wine and grape production, has a lot of potential for tourism development.

The aim of this project is to preserve the cultural heritage values of the village. Thus, to revitalize economic activities through preservation of traditional trades – viniculture, natural and cultural heritage tourism. Furthermore, to promote the full and active participation of non-majority communities as stakeholders in society and finally, to contribute to the post war reconciliation process by using heritage as a tool dialogue.

The project objectives are:

– To protect the cultural values of the winery of St. Stefan Church in Velika Hoča/Hoça e Madhe through restoration and adaptive reuse of the building as a National Wine Restaurant.

– To increase the awareness of local community regarding cultural heritage.

– To involve the community through active participation on the process of implementation.

– To promote the socio-economic development in the village Velika Hoča/Hoça e Madhe through supporting the development of rural tourism.

Through this project, funded by U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, CHwB intends to rediscover the roots of coexistence of culture and humanity. The Winery of St. Stefan Church will become a center for exploring, enjoyment and interaction not only for the local community but also for tourists.

This project has begun on November 2013 and is scheduled to end in April 2015.