Given that the slopes are steep and the street narrow, some inhabitants have built their own private paved parking (photo 1)
Others have preferred to build a terraced garden but the season was to early to know what it is possible to grow. Potatoes, a mountain crop, should do well.
It is not a surprise that older houses, that were covered with slates, have been kept with the same cover but I have noticed that even new houses are covered with slates (photo 1 and 2). Oops, one more covered with corrugated iron and it is one of the hotels !
Dardhë is at an elevation of 1300 m and therefore is cold in winter. As the village is surrounded by forest, the inhabitants rely on wood for heating (photo 1). All roofs have one or several stone chimneys.
Houses that are not covered with slates are exceptional (photo 5). Let us hope that they will remain an exception !
Many had brand new TV antennas showing on their front (photos 2, 3, 4). All houses shown here look like traditional houses in very good condition, all are covered with the traditional “plakë” (slates)
What is striking in Dardhë is, that there are almost no ruined houses. In mid May, many houses were uninhabited and seemed to be holiday houses, inhabited during the vacations of their owners. Obviously, even if they are closed, they have been open recently and will be open soon.
On the other side of the street, a house bears an engraved post that says :
"Ne hete banese me 1922 lindi gjeneral leitnant Vaske Ilo Gjino"
In this house was born in 1922 the General Lieutenant VASKE ILO GJINO
I wondered who was VASKE ILO GJINO. I have found that he was awarded in 2002 the Golden Eagle Medal (Medalja e Artë e Shqiponjës). This medal is awarded to Albanian citizens that have been distinguished for their valor in foreign armed struggle and activities or acts of civil courage in time of peace. I have not found anything else on this Dardhë citizen.
“Kroi I fshtatit, Dardhë ndertuar 1922”
I have been able to understand that this fountain was built in Spring 1922. Like the other one, it flows under a small building but here, water flows through the mouth of the carved face of a lion and there is a tap.
I have noticed that the girl that was at the fountain with a bucket (photo 2) goes back home with her bucket full of water (photo 4). That seems to mean that not all houses have flowing water
Here is another barn but contrary with the first one that looked like a house used as a barn, this one seems to have been build as a barn. It ha a large opening closed with rods. Thus, it is closed but air can easily dry hay inside. It has the same structure, that mixes wood and stone.
In the beginning, the village seems to have only a few houses but the more we walk, the more we discover new houses. The village appears bit by bit, house after house and is much larger than felt at first sight.
A little further, a small building is in moderately good condition. May be it has been in the past a very modest house but it seems that it has now be turned into a barn. The interesting thing is that the structure of the house is better seen : there is a wooden structure and stone has been added between the logs.
Under a small roof, a fountain flows from a carved stone with a part that allows easy drinking into a rectangular basin. No tap, it is coming directly from a spring, this is pure (and free !) water. And this is not the famous stinking water !
Almost at the beginning of our walk in the village, we spotted a large house standing at the bottom of Mount Dardhë (photo 1).
It was built on a square pattern, on three levels in traditional Balkanic style (photo 2) with the large covered terrace between the two parts of the house. The house is not in very good condition and would need some repairs but has a great look.
Photo 4 is a close up on the top of the entrance, which has a few engravings and a date : 1883 (photo 5).
Dardhë is famous for its “uji i qelbur” (stinking water), supposed to cure stomach and kidney disease. It has to be a spring with hydrogen sulphide in the water with a very characteristic smell of rotten eggs. We are disappointed to find that the water that flows in the road side fountain is pure mountain water with no foul smell
We are slowed by a herd of cows led by a mule riding cowboy (photo 1) and by a flock of sheep with their shepherd, looking for a better pasture (photo 2 and 3).
A foreign car is obviously an unusual sight for a group of peasants, gossiping on the bank of the road. (photo 4)
When we arrived in Dardhë, around 10 PM, the village was quiet but that does not mean that the citizens were still sleeping ! Actually, many houses seemed to be holiday houses, uninhabited in May. I feel they are mostly inhabited in winter, for skiing and in summer for mountain hikes.