Korçë

 

Korçë (Alb. Korçë, Greek Κορυτσά, Macedonian Goritsa, Arum. Curceaua, Italian Corizza) is a city in South-Eastern Albania with a population of about 76 thousand people (2011). The city is the administrative center of the eponymous district of Korçë and the Korçë region, located at an altitude of 850 m.

 

Destinations

Resurrection Cathedral
The Resurrection Cathedral was built in 1992 in the neo-Byzantine style and is the main Orthodox church in Korcha. The building is very elegant, painted pink, blue and brown. The interior of the temple is dominated by a huge carved wooden altar. Also interesting are the Albanian eagles carved on chairs.

Museum of Medieval Art
The Museum of Art dedicated to the Middle Ages was opened in the city of Korca in 1980. The collection of the museum includes historical, cultural, artistic objects of the medieval period, primarily associated with the Christian heritage of the Byzantine and post-Byzantine era. Icons, stone products, a collection of items made of precious metals, carved wood, textiles, paper, etc., are the central exhibits of the museum. In particular, the museum's iconographic collection includes 6500 images and is one of the largest in the world.

The museum has a permanent exhibition hall, where about 200 art objects are exhibited, several expert laboratories for the preservation and revival of heritage, as well as special storage facilities with a special microclimate. Icons of the 13th-14th centuries stand out in the permanent exhibition. works of masters Nikola Onufri, Simon Ardenits, Konstantin Hieromonk, David Selyanisi, Katro brothers, Zografos brothers and their children, other works of authors who lived and worked in different regions of Albania and beyond.

Museum of Education
The Museum of Education is located in the building of the first Albanian school, opened in 1887. The exposition of the museum is dedicated to the Albanian language and alphabet, books in Albanian, and the study of languages.

 

History

Although the city of Korça was founded in the last V-VI centuries, the Korça area is one of the countries of South-Eastern Europe that was inhabited earlier. Excavations have uncovered Illyrian tombs and fortifications.

Antiquity
The area of ​​Korça is located in the historical land of the Illyrians and has been inhabited since the fourth millennium BC. The Copper Age lasted from the third millennium to the second millennium p.e.s. By the year 650 p.e.s. The Korça plain was ruled by a dynasty of the Illyrian Kingdom, while after 650 it was ruled by a Kaone dynasty. During this period the area was mostly inhabited by the Kaone and Molose tribes. Archaeological excavations around the city of Korça have discovered a coffin of the 2nd century e.s. which shows the engraved figure of two Illyrian blacksmiths working the iron in the anvil. It is worth mentioning the Kamenica Tuma Fact that shows the habitation of this area in the Copper Age. Around Korca there are very early centers such as: Kamenica, Podgoria, Maliqi and Devolli .

Middle Ages
The province of Korça fell under the rule of the Bulgarian emperor Boriz in 853. He formed in this area the administrative unit called "Kutmicevicë", which in Albanian means "Newly occupied land". Bulgarian forces remained until 1018.

The earliest written information on the existence of the city of Korça comes from the chronicle on the history and genealogy of the Albanian feudal family of Muzakaj, written by Gjon Muzaka in 1510. The writer when counting the possessions of Andre Muzaka I, who achieved the title Sebastokrator in 1280- 1281 and became the god of a vast province that stretched throughout Central Albania to the Vjosa River in the south, with Berat as its capital and which included, among others, Myzeqena, Tomorica, Opar, Devolli, Kostur, and mentions Korça as' Kovica ', which he describes as a city. From the end of the XIII century until the eve of the Ottoman occupation, the area of ​​Korça became part of the Principality of Muzakaj who were originally from Opari.

Ottoman rule
In 1440 the Ottomans conquered the area of ​​Korça. The modern city of Korça was formed in the 15th century when Iljaz bej Mirahori developed Korça under the order of Sultan Mehmed II. Ilazji had served the sultan in the siege of Constantinople in 1453. Under Ottoman occupation Korça under the name "Göricë" was the sanjak of the vilayet of Manastir. But the mosque was the first construction of Illjaz bej Mirahori, because the old Korça Bazaar flourished around it. Initially the shops were built of planks but after three straight lines, traders began to reinforce the buildings. There were 16 inns in the Bazaar, today only 4 of them are standing. Goods from Greece, Turkey, Venice, Trieste, etc. were traded in the bazaar. There you will find everything from livestock products to expensive jewelry. Korça is also mentioned during the Veneto-Turkish war (1644-1669), where Elbasan merchants followed the long road with many stations Elbasan-Korça-Saranda-Corfu-Venice. In Korça they sold manufactured products and bought livestock products.

The city began to flourish after the raid of Voskopoja by the Ottomans in 1788. Between the years 1769-1789 many families from Voskopoja came to Korça which gave the city a little of the glory of Voskopoja. In 1783 the city became part of the Pasha of Ali I saw Tepelena.

During the XIX century and the beginning of the XX century Korça became an important center of the National Renaissance. Thus in 1887 the first primary school in Albanian language was opened by the Drita Organization, while in Korça, in 1891 the first school for girls from the Qirjazi family was opened. In 1968 the building was turned into the Museum of Education.

XX century
Ottoman rule over Korça lasted until 1912, the year when Albania declared independence. The Treaty of St. Stephen of 1878 passed Korça and Pogradec to the Bulgarian Principality, while the Treaty of Berlin of the same year returned it to the Ottoman Empire. In 1910 the Orthodox Alliance of Korça led by Mihal Grameno announced the establishment of the Albanian Orthodox Church, but the Ottoman authorities refused to recognize it. Korça's geographical proximity to Greece and the fact that Greece called the Orthodox population "Greek" led to fierce disputes during the Balkan War of 1912-1913. In 1913 Greece claimed Korça and other areas of Albania as part of the so-called "Vorio Epirus".

 

In October 1914 the city fell under Greek administration. During the period of the National Schism (in Greece, 1916) a local revolt broke out which was brought under control by Elefter Venizelos. However, during the First World War, developments on the Macedonian Front caused the city to quickly fall under French control (1916-1920). During this time fourteen representatives of Korça and Colonel Deskoini signed the protocol announcing the creation of the Albanian Republic of Korça, under the military protection of the French army and with president Themistokli Gërmënji. The currency used was the Franc and the Skënderi of Korça. Eventually, Korça became part of Albania in 1921, when the International Borders Commission reaffirmed the 1913 borders.

The country experienced a difficult economic situation during Zog's reign, and this forced the population to decline due to emigration from 25,600 inhabitants in 1923 to 21,220 inhabitants in 1938. With the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Italy occupied Korça and all the rest of the country. With the outbreak of the Italo-Greek War, Korça fell under Greek sovereignty in November 1940. This lasted until April 1941, when German troops attacked the Greek army. With the withdrawal of Italy from the War in 1943, the Germans held the city occupied until October 24, 1944. Korça was liberated by the partisans in September 1944.

Staying under fascist and Nazi occupation, the city became an important center of Communist resistance. The establishment of the Albanian Labor Party (Communist Party) was officially announced in Korça in 1941. With the establishment of the Communist system after the liberation, a discriminatory policy was pursued against the rich and political opponents. Thus, immediately after the war, a new wave of emigration moved to the Albanian-American community in Boston.

In 1990 the New Democratic Party won the elections in Korça. The popular revolts in February 1991 ended with the fall of the statue of Enver Hoxha.