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  • Day195


    May 10, 2019 in Albania ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    Shkodër viewed across Lake Scutari.
    I had bit of lunch on the banks of the lake and saw these fish traps - still in use.
    There is a great deal of modern architecture being built around Albania - is it a reflex from the drab square blocks of 1960's "form follows function" that the Communist & Western nations liked? This is a new hotel just outside Shkodër with Rozafa Castle [ Kalaja Rozafes] in the background. It dates back to the 14th C. Built by three brothers,but in order for the castle to stand one of the brother needed to sacrifice his wife to be buried within the walls. The youngest brother's wife (Rozafa) agreed but asked for her right side to be left exposed so she could care for her infant son. An image of her feeding her baby is carved into the wall of the castle.
    Xhamia e Plumbt Mosque is known as the Lead Mosque because all of its cupolas were covered with lead.
    It was built in 1773 by the Albanian pasha Mehmed Bushati of the noble Bushati family, who was vizier of Pashalik of Scutari and thought this would give his city the staus of a capital. It is said that the mosque's edifice was built on land owned by the catholic church.
    Mehmed walked down the hill from Rozafa castle nearly everyday to get his hands dirty with the construction, no doubt to the irritation of the masons, and stones were incised under his direction.
    A mate of the Pashas, Haxhi Ahmet Misria, was appointed the first Imam of the mosque and being Egyptian, made lots of friends amongst the Montenegrins.
    In 1967, the Mosque was closed down, like most religious institutions, after the great leader Enver Hoxha declared Albania an atheist state. Unlike many mosques that were destroyed during this time, it survived as it had been declared a Cultural Monument in 1948.
    By peering in the windows I was able to see that the small, sitting room sized prayer hall was now being used again, although it does not seem to have been renovated in any way.
    I gave up searching for the archetypal Albanian peasant on a donkey cart: everybody working on the land seems to be driving these little carts instead.
    I also gave up trying to figure out whether I was in Bosnia, Serbia, Herzogovna, Albania or Montenegro as everyone seemed to be muddled about their nationality and country. Did you know that wars break out if you fail to differentiate between a Bosnian Serb and a Serbian Bosnian? Apparently it can.
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    Tony Hammond

    It must be very confusing for the people concerned but the views are bluetiful...