Ruecker returns land to High Dečani

UNMIK Chief Joachim Ruecker has ordered the Dečani municipal assembly to return the High Dečani monastery a section of land taken from it a long time ago.

Source: Tanjug
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According to Priština media, Ruecker’s decision has rankled local authorities in the town because the land in question was “was taken from state companies by an arbitrary decision of the Serbian regime in 1997.”

According to the Serbian Orthodox Church’s cadastral records dating back to before the Second World War, the High Dečani monastery owned 808 hectares, 208 of which were farmland, and 600 hectares woodland.

It was left with only 60 hectares after the war, half farmland, half woodland.

A house containing an electrical power station that the monastery built for Dečani’s inhabitants and a second building that was later turned into a rest home, were also confiscated from the monastery.

When the land was seized, the monastery had no say as to which parcels it could retain, and so the 30 hectares left to it included 15 hectares in Istinića near Dečani, where a number of private houses had already been built.

Similarly, the monks were left a further nine hectares of ravine near Dečanska Bistrica, instead of the nine hectares of fertile land at the back of the monastery itself. That land was allocated to a bee-keepers’ cooperative that did not even need the land, and the cooperative subsequently rented the land out to peasants.

Dečani was returned 25 hectares of land near the monastery in 1997.

All real estate built on the land was also returned together with the land itself. These include buildings used by the bee-keepers’ cooperative and a derelict hotel called High Dečani.

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