Water is a fundamental element of Islamic culture and the need to purify themselves before the prayer and religious celebrations is made in special baths - near mosques - called hammam. The hammam is usually a large public service building, but there are particular types of small dimensions and for the exclusive use of a wealthy family or, as in the case study here presented - related to the Islamic complex of Xhemal in Delvina (Albania) - an integral part of a religious centre. Characterised by a singular complexity, the monumental site of Xhemal is composed of some aboveground tombs, a mosque, a tekke, two türbe, a fountain and a hammam indeed, as well as of ancient tall plants (cypresses and plane trees). The building, already listed by the National Institute for Cultural Monuments of Albania, has been the subject of a study carried out by prof. Valter Shtylla at the end of the 70s and classed as a hammam from the medieval period. Provisionally measured only in its plan, it is today in a state of serious deterioration, while an example of great interest. For this reason and, along with the entire complex, since 2008 it has been an object of study by the University of Bergamo and Enna Kore, within the research group formed by the Milan Polytechnic and the University Ca' Foscari, in the framework of the program “Albania tomorrow” co-funded by the Cariplo Foundation, in collaboration with the municipality of Delvina. The complex has recently been subjected to a complete laser scanning survey in order to develop a well-planned preservation and valorisation programme.
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