A Window on Korçë

Balkans

 Korçë in Albania has been a Muslim town, an Orthodox Christian town, a Communist town; ethnically Aromanian, ethnically Greek, ethnically Albanian: variously under the rule or occupation of Ottomans, Greeks, French, Italians, Communists … and now Albanians. Its history is so complex and diverse that I don’t know where to start. So instead I’ll show you its old bazaar, now become a tourist area of restaurants and cafes; its 15th century mosque, and its Resurrection Orthodox Cathedral, built only in 1995, to replace the one destroyed in the Communist era.

Then we’ll mooch round the old town near where we stayed. This was a prosperous place during the later Ottoman period, but as its residents decamped to safer places, such as the United States during the early years of the twentieth century, the area became neglected. I hope this will change. These attractive houses set along cobbled streets (note the fossils in the cobbles!) are well worth saving.

I’d visit  Korçë again, for its easy charm, its appetising restaurants, its museums. I wish I could take you round the icon museum, The National Museum of Mediaeval Art, but photography was forbidden. Two days wasn’t enough to explore this town.

I think my header photo, from the old town, deserves a place in Ludwig’s Monday Window.

52 thoughts on “ A Window on Korçë

      1. Maybe not if you look at it that way. 🙄 but I like the texture of the wall and the colour blue that the shadow gives… and the broken shutters.

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  1. These fascinating towns that are and have been at the crossroads of empires. Interesting to visitors, but must have seen difficult times for the inhabitants over the centuries. No wonder some departed for the USA,

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    1. I know. It’s a region that hasn’t ever been left in peace. Which makes it sound as if it’s been victim to that well known Chinese curse ‘May you live in interesting times’

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      1. Norman Wisdom was awarded the freedom of Tirana and was an entertainment legend in the country. Also Patrick Leigh Fermor (a hero of mine) was a liaison Officer in Albania during the war.

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  2. What a fascinating place and such a mix of cultures! It reminds me of some places in Sicily that were occupied and occupied again and again…I hope it does have a come-back and another life.

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  3. Amazing to get a feel for the place now, before the come back years begin. Some lovely gates there too… i like a good gate!

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  4. Charming! A few slats missing – like so many of us as we get along in years – that adds to the nostalgia and serenity. Wonderful photography. Thank you very much!

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    1. Honestly, Andrew, I think you should. It’s an interesting country, you won’t be mobbed by fellow tourists, and luckily many Albanians speak workaday English. A whole sight better than my Albanian anyway!

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      1. Some time ago we went to Montenegro in a hire car and we thought about crossing the border but the Foreign Office web site advice put us off. It said roads were poor, Albanian drivers were aggressive and were quite often armed. We stayed in Montenegro which was also rather frightening.

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      2. Oh. The roads seemed fine, and we never felt threatened in any way. We were advised it was extremely safe for us to be out and about at night, and that’s the way it felt.

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  5. Ismael Kadare seems to be fairly prolific, and I have a couple of his books on order from the library. Yes, I need to know more. A troubled and fascinating past.

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  6. What a charming place to visit, Margaret! Thank you for taking us – and I must say I Love that window in your header. I can easily understand you would love to return some day!

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  7. Hi Margaret
    What an interesting place! So many influences. We have never been to Albania. Thanks for taking us to Korçë.
    Wishing you all the best
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

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