Thursday, 2 January 2014

The Via Egnatia in Albania

The via Egnatia is the name of the old trade route from 

Rome to Istanbul. It crossed the Adriatic, arriving in the 

Albanian port then called Epidamnos, later Dyrrachium, 

Durrazzo and today known as Durres. It continued across 

Albania from west to east, travelling over the mountaintops 

as the road still does today, to Elbasan, and then on to Lake 

Ohrid and Macedonia.

The first time I travelled over the mountain road it was still 

winter and we were going to the opening of the new

covered marketplace in Elbasan.

Whitney cuts the red ribbon to open the marketplace and someone hands her flowers

From The Via Egnatia

As we climb up the winding mountain road, heading for 

Elbasan, we leave behind all signs of habitation and are 

surrounded by the wildness of the mountains. The

landscape becomes stark and bare, a sea of brown-peaked 

frozen waves, breathtakingly beautiful. Clearly, we are in 

another world, one that belongs to nature.


 It begins to snow a little, small flurries of white blurring the 

sky with the landscape. The road curls along the top of one 

of the mountains, with valleys falling away on either side. 

Some of the peaks are rocky, slanted and so thin they look 

almost shaved to a point, like giant pencils. Thin cloud 

dances on the mountain-peaks, throwing off a snow as light 

as the reflection of emotion in water.

The second time was in early summer and we were going to 

the opening of a greenhouse at the Zera Jete school.

From Tirana Nights and the Ethem Bey Mosque

The school is in a quiet shady suburb of Elbasan. The gates to the school are of delicate metalwork.

The school is located in a large, high-ceilinged old building that was donated to them by the Church. There is a large yard in the front, and a small garden at the side. On the other side of the yard is an old Orthodox Church. Its grey stonework and shady arches cast an atmosphere of serenity.

The building was lucky to have survived the ravages of the 

communist hunger for destruction and desecration in the 

early seventies. Every time you come across an old 

building in Albania the effect of its beauty is inevitably 

tinged with poignancy for all the other buildings that have 

been lost.


★MaRiBeL★ said...

★★Feliz Año Nuevo★★

dritanje said...

Merci beaucoup Maribel pour le dessein si jolie pour 2014! Toutes mes meilleurs vœux aussi a toi!

Forest Dream Weaver said...

Love the Romanesque type arches!