The project of the restore of the Lead Mosque started because of the insistence and care of the catholic intellectuals of Shkodra.
A year ago Nationwide Reconciliation Committee received a letter from a catholic intellectual group of Shkodra district requiring support to sensitize the official opinion and to compile a project for restoring the Lead Mosque and putting it in function. The letter had their availability to give their contribution up to its final inauguration. Nationwide Reconciliation Committee had some contacts with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Culture Monuments Institute and Turkish government representatives in Tirana. Their proposal and idea that the mosque be restored under the care of Catholics was welcomed by Albanian institutions and the Turkish state representatives. Nationwide Reconciliation Committee thanked in media all the citizens who welcome and supported this initiative by their letters.
The Lead Mosque
The Lead Mosque in Shkodėr is one of the most prominent monuments of our national (OSMAN) culture. It has been left with no protection and no cultural and religious function. Though the Mosque has a good constructive condition and it is situated in the middle of Shkodėr Muslim citizens community, it cannot be used because it has been surrounded by waters and the silt layers. Shortage of funds and Muslim community poverty made impossible the protection and putting the mosque into function. Drainage canal closing brought great damage even on the other Islam cult objects around the mosque and area families. At the proposal of Shkodra catholic intellectuals, protection of the environment and mosque restoration will be made under the care of Nationwide Reconciliation Committee in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Culture Monuments Institute and Turkish state. The Catholic and Orthodox Clergy will be invited in its inauguration.
In the studies of the Albanian Islamic architecture history the mosque is included in the third period of XVII century second half. This very rich period with monumental buildings in the entire country is characterized by urban centers economic growth, formation of local feudal class and Islam culture flourishing in Albania. In architecture and city planning local tradition started to be felt with the creation of Albanian designing offices, independent of Istanbul. This is the stage when the local tradition selects the architectural type of mosques with a dome. The dome model gave the possibility for variation in planning the dimensions and space for the other elements like the gallery and the minaret. They allowed beautiful plastic and decorative solutions in their interior and the facades and their integration in the city environments bringing closer the clock towers.
The Lead Mosque is representative of this mosque type, but f a special type. It represents the classical Osman type style realized in Istanbul be architect Sinani in the 16th century. It symbolizes the economic and cultural power of its builder, Mehmet Pasha who intended by this mosque to give to his city the Capital splendor. He realized the mosque in 1773 and he incised finalization time on the second mosque door CONSTRUCTION DATE OF THE HOLY MOSQUE BY THE BENEFACTOR MEHMET PASHA YEAR 1187 (Hegira). Mosque composition distinguished well the functional parts, the gallery like a closed court, covered by a series of domes, the praying hall in a square from (9.15m x 9.15m) the central dome, half spherical, supported by a high polygonal tambour, a special for Mihrab which indicates the direction of the Holy City f Mecca.
The slim minaret completes the monumental aspect from outside, on the entrance right side. Two carved stones arcades link with rhythm the straight frames and windows lines with the arched domes, minaret and arches movement.
With these qualities, the mosque is seen from afar, before entering Shkodra city. It is also seen from Rozafa castle, in the precipice hill crown near it. For its great historical and artistic values Lead Mosque was declared Culture Monument.
Worn out by the time, it is expecting a complete restoring and assessment intervention. The biggest problem is elimination of water collected around it after blocking the filtering canals because of illegal constructions. Clearing of canals would protect the other objects near the Mosque, like the mausoleum grave (tyrbe) and the castles surrounding walls. The families around the mosque have no possibility to contribute in repairing the situation therefore they cannot carry out their religious rites during the whole year since Shkodra center is very distant for them.
The old Muslim quarter and the protection of the Lead Mosque
Qafe Quarter is the oldest in Shkodra city. This quarter together with Shkodra Castle comprise Shkodra city ancient history. In the quarter there are some culture monuments existing until today. Among the principal ones and in very good condition is Lead Mosque. There are also traces of another mosque, 200 m far, a mausoleum grave (tyrbe) and the Rozafa Castle and Tepe Hills surrounding wall ruins. They are confined by Rivers Kir and Drin. The old houses have been built on the hill slopes whereas a part of the Culture monuments have been built on the field. After 1997 many buildings have been constructed on the field. Lead Mosque and other monuments were neglected. The monuments and the houses area were protected from water before by a drainage canal, opened from North to South, under the quarter main street. This canal collected all the slopes water and flow into River Drin. This canal track passes along the land slope. With the private land distribution, new constructions on fields, creation of inner streets, not cleaning the drainage canal caused water blocking which flood the monuments area. In some parts the canal is total closed, in some areas it remains as a trace ands in the unimpaired areas it remains has been covered by thorny bushes. The Mosque level is 90 cm below the land level, which is filled with mud and stilt brought by floods. In these conditions the mosque and the court around it are always in water. The Muslim inhabitants around the mosque have welcomed Shkodra catholic intellectuals proposal for the restoration of this mosque and they have promised the National Reconciliation Committee to contribute voluntarily in the drainage canal construction. They express their availability to pay the financial contribution to the Catholic Church and they propose to make the inauguration on Christmas Eve.