Photos from Albania

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In the Alpet Shqiptare, the Albanian Alps

Bajram Curri, in Albania's north east, close to the border with Kosovo, is a small town of about 5,300 people near Fierzë and 15 kilometres from the Drin or Lake Koman ferry terminal of Bregluma. It is the centre of the Tropojë District and used to be called Kolgecaj; this region has always resisted all central government, including the communist dictatorship of Enver Hoxha in the early fifties.

Statue of Bajram Curri
 
Outskirts of Bajram Curri
 
View from Bajram Curri
 
Lumi i Valbonës
 
Cliff along the river
 
Herding goats
 
Along the Valbona river
 
Lumi Valbonë
 
View from Valbonë
 
Prokletije mountains
 
Water mill
 
Old mill along the river
 
Boy on the cliffs
 
Cliffs near Dragobi
 
Dragobi village
 
Albanian Alps near Dragobi
 
Snow peaks, Alpet Shqiptare
 
Cliff along the river
 
Tunnel, Valbona river
 
From the bridge
 
Bajram Curri outskirts
 
Bajram Curri mural
 
Election poster
 
Posters on the wall
 

People of Tropojë, 13 kilometres further north east and 7 kilometres from the border, were displaced and settled here in 1952. Kolgecaj was then renamed Bajram Curri, after the great Albanian nationalist, born in Gjakova (now in Kosovo) who lived from 1862 to 1925. He played a leading role, from the League of Peja (now in Kosovo) in 1898 onwards, fought against the Greeks when they tried to take over the country in 1917 and in 1920 against insurgents during an attempted pro-Serbian coup. He was an opponent of fellow tribal leader Ahmed Zogu, later King Zog I, and led many bloody encounters against him. Sentenced to death by King Zog in 1922, he was pinned down in Dragobi Cave, 15 kilometres from the present town, by Zog's police and was gunned down, fighting to the end, pistol in hand, surrounded by his loyal followers. A large bronze statue of Bajram Curri now stands in the town that bears his name.

A dirt road follows the narrow Valbona river to the village of Valbonë, 22 kilometres to the northwest in the Alpet Shqiptare, the Albanian Alps, the wild mountains along the Kosovo and Montenegrin borders. There are views of the river, the Lumi i Valbonës, with its rapids, snowcapped mountains, small farms, herd of goats led along the road. The road leads through the small mountain villages Margegaji, Shoshani and Dragobi: the site of the cave where Bajram Curri was gunned down.

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