Gjirokastra (in UNESCO) is an ansamble of values. The castle, its coblled stoned streets, churches, mosques, its people and the legends are a really important part of these values. But “Xheneti” house is a distinctive virtue of this ansamble. Situated in the centre of the historic part of the town, the house is at the end of the ottoman market on the west side. It’s the “entrance” to “Palorto” neighbourhood, it possesses the view of “Varrosh” neighbourhood and it’s absolutely the most important monument of “Teqe” neighbourhood. In UNESCO’s file the building is considered the most special element of Gjirokaster. The charachteristical bulding stands out for its monumentality, its defensive and ceremonial character. The authors who have been working in this bulding notice its structure made of engraved stone and wood, but also its strategistical position and the mass-usage of solar power.
The architecture of the museal part of the town is a mystery, something for the scientists all over the world to study. Each day different aspects of the town that time has hidden from us are being discovered and documented. Obviously “Xheneti” is a symbol to all, it resembles to a two-winged prototype, with three floors (one of which is under ground). The monumental gate, the ”zapane”(the outside room), the ceiling and door ornaments are clearly unique. The house has had some construction phases. Time to time it has been reverted or transformed until the end of the 18-th century (according to Prof.E.Riza), when it started to look more as it is now. But why does this big family of Gjirokaster have this particular name? Why are the entrances, the arches, the ceilings and the backgrounds decorated with Hebraic (jewish) symbols? The minute you enter this house, you will find yourself drawn into the big enigma of the mysterious town. One of the biggest values of the house is the perfect restoration that has had. It is absolutely the merit of the restoration workers, the engravers, the artists and of course the merit is also of the investor Vangjel Vardhami.
Every researcher or visitor entering this house can feel the “visage” of life of the famous family “Xheneti” 250-300 years ago. But also they are drawn by the curiosity to discover what has been unknown for so long and that will always somehow be a mystery. In the “Episkopal” and “Kadastral” registers of Hadrianopol and the Ottoman Empire we have found no clue at all. Are they a converted family or just random visitors? What has been their position in the centre of the town and the market? The “zapane” (the outside areas) destined for the servants and animals show the nobel level of this family. The inside yard indicates the intimacy that the family wanted in their everyday life. Why are there two sets of stairs? – There’s one set of monumental stairs and a hidden inside set of stairs. In the ground entrance you can see the large water supply, and also on the right the natural refrigerator room. The “sofa” of the second floor is the area with the most space from which you can go anywhere in the “Xheneti” house. This is where all the members of the family were united to spend the most important days and nights. The house is filled with natural light and the balcony, which gets the first sunbeam and possesses an amazing breathtaking view of the town. That’s where the famlily would showcase their newest luxurious purchases for all the town to see. On the right of the “sofa” is the “oda”(a big living room), the heart or epitome of a charachteristical house. That’s where all the honored guests would come and where the dead would leave the house, that’s also the place where future-related decisions would be taken and in its walls has been portrayed and “coded” the history of the family. In the shelves have been put the luxurious utensils , and in the wardrobe(musandara) have been put the Persian rugs and in the ceiling the chandeliers bought in Selanik. The winter room’s divided from the “sofa” by windows with wooden railings on them. Whereas on the left there’s the couple’s room. Before that, you’ll notice the praying room. In this massive maze of the house “Xheneti” there are even hidden rooms that are visible once you pass the portable stairs which are called “qepengji”. These stairs are used to go up the roof whenever there’s a moving stone or a problem with the structure. In today’s condition , “Xheneti” house shows an unbelievable and rare example of scientific restoration of this building. The authentic materials, the amazing work of the local craftsmen and the decoration with furnishings of its period make this house a perfect laboratory for researchers. The mystical effect of every single object of the house makes it quite attractive to visit. The modern comfortability invites tourists from all over the world.