Day 13 – Prizren & Transfer to Tejza
Today was mainly given over to sightseeing and the transfer back into Albania. As hinted at yesterday, Prizren is a city of some interest, so it was worth a look round at some of the main sights.
Having had a long history and a position of major geopolitical importance in the region, Prizren has over the years been under the control of the Albanians, the Romans, the Slavs, Byzantium, the Ottomans, the Serbs and Austria-Hungary before becoming integrated into Yugoslavia, as well as being subject to a number of other “occupations”. It’s a complex history – far too complex to go into here – but one which has left many places of interest for the visitor.
|View over Prizren from the fortress|
|Missy G at the fortress|
Our first objective was the fortress, a dominating structure perched on a rocky bluff high above the town. Although in disrepair at present, it provides a “birds-eye” view of the town and some of the more imposing buildings.
|League of Prizren building, bottom right|
Next was the League of Prizren Museum, with exhibits relating to the League and the organization founded in June 1878 where local leaders came together to agree to maintain the territorial integrity of Albania as part of the Ottoman Empire, and resist the advances of Bulgaria and Serbia. There were also examples of local art and traditional dress in the Ethnographic Museum.
Finally we looked inside two Mosques (one Sunni and one Shi’ite) – which was interesting, and unexpected given that it was Ramadan.
|Decorated walls inside the Mosque|
|Looking up inside the ceiling dome|
|Decoration round the windows|
After lunch at a riverside café, we loaded our stuff into the van and set off back into Albania via the “patriotic highway” – the new dual carriageway that eventually will connect Pristina and Tirana. The border checkpoint safely negotiated, our next port of call was at Kukes to pick up Gent (who was our guide in southern Albania, and who organized the ground arrangements for this trip) and his wife Laura, plus mountain hound Vicki, who were accompanying us on the last section of the trip.
It was good to meet again, and we did some serious catching up as we made our way southwards towards the small village of Tejza at the foot of Mount Korab.
Korab is the highest peak in Albania. It is also the highest point in Macedonia as well, as the border between the two countries runs over the summit. The plan was to climb it tomorrow as a finale to the trip, before returning to Tirana for a farewell dinner.
|View of Mount Korab from the road, summit in cloud|
Our arrival at the guesthouse in Tejza was expected, just not when we turned up. So we retired to a nearby bar for a drink while everything was sorted. Again, the accommodation was simple but tidy: dinner was served at a traditional low table, and we sat on the floor to eat cushioned by fleeces. Once the meal was over, the table was rolled away and bedding brought in so we could make ourselves comfortable for bed. Tomorrow was to be a very early start, so a good night’s sleep was essential.