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Korca - City of Albania

Korçë is a major city in the Korçë District of south-eastern Albania, located at 40°37N 20°46E / 40.617, 20.767 near the border with Greece. It has a population of around 57,500 people (2008 estimate), making it the seventh largest city in Albania. It stands on a plateau some 850 m (2,800 ft) above sea level, surrounded by the Morava Mountains.

A town named 'Coviza' is mentioned in medieval documents in 1280. The modern town dates from the end of the 15th Century, when Iljaz Hoxha, under the command of Sultan Mehmet II, developed Korça. The Ottoman occupation began in 1440, and after Hoxha's role in the siege of Constantinople, in 1453; he was awarded the title, 'Iljaz Bey Mirahor'. Korçë was a sandjak of the Manastir vilayet in Ottoman Empire.

The area suffered from Hoxha's dictatorial regime like the rest of Albania, although it is arguable whether it was to as great an extent. Hoxha mainly fought against the rich, despite the fact that they had often fought against the Nazi and fascist occupation. Thousands of people from Korça were sent to concentration camps or executed for disagreeing with Hoxha's regime. Hundreds of people fled to Boston, USA, joining an already existing Albanian community who had previously emigrated to the region. After 1990 Korça was one of the six cities where the New Democratic Party won all the constituencies. Popular revolts in February 1991 ended with the fall of Hoxha's statue.

Korçë has been an important religious center for Orthodox Christians and Muslims for centuries. It is the seat of an Orthodox metropolitan bishop and also possesses a large 15th century mosque. There is also a sizeable Bektashi Muslim community in and around Korçë, with its main center being the Turan Tekke.

During the Ottoman period it became one of the centres of the growing Albanian identity. The first school teaching in the Albanian language was established there in 1887, followed by Albania's first school for girls in 1891.

The River Tren which once flowed from Lake Ventrok into the Devoll has been replaced by the Ventrok Channel, which is part of the modern system of irrigation. On the north side of this Channel and a short distance before one comes to the narrow passage which is known as the Gryke e Ujkut, there is a considerable limestone hill, an offshoot of Mt Spile. The western side of the hill falls very steeply to the plain, and on the top of this western side there is a fortification wall of rough stones which is canted on the outer face only. The wall runs for some 280 m along the top and at two high points behind it there are two artificial tumuli. The side of the hill which faces the Gryke e Ujkut is less steep; between it and the Gryke e Ujkut there is a level space alongside the Ventrok Channel.

The football (soccer) club is KS Skënderbeu Korçë, Albanian Champions in 1933.

François Pouqueville, Voyage en Morée, à Constantinople, an Albanie, et dans plusieurs autres parties de l'Empire othoman, pendant les années 1798, 1799, 1800 et 1801.

ALBANIA National Bird : Eagle
ALBANIA National Game : Football
ALBANIA National Holiday : Now-Roz (New Year)


 

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