Another place I have discovered only once back home!
Kisha e Ristozit is a Byzantine church from the 14th century, standing in the center of Mborja (a suburb east of Korcë). It has frescoes that are said to be amongst the best in the Balkans. Too bad we missed it, especially as it is 800 m further than Hotel George where we spent the night !
I was surprised to see that the local busses in Korcë had writings in French : “montez à l’avant (an arrow) ça va dans le bon sens” (entrance in front [an arrow], you are going in the right direction). A closer examination showed that there were small stickers with an arrow that hide parts of the words. My feeling is that they were second hand busses bought to some town in France (or at least in some French speaking country) and that they had not been painted on arrival. Which town, I don’t know. Green and yellow, Clermont-Ferrand, may be, I will have to check that.
Bingo, I found it : Korcë is twined with Bitola in Macedonia and with Saint-Lô in France. The busses in Saint-Lô have now not exactly the same painting, with less green and more yellow and orange but usually, when a city changes its busses, they paint it in a slightly different way, keeping the main colors.
However, as Don (VT Nemorino) wrote me that it seemed that Saint-Lô was not twined with Korca, I had to check. I had found the information on the web when I wrote my tip but actually could not find it anymore on this new attempt!
- Korcë is twinned with Thessaloniki in Greece, Cluj-Napoca in Romania, Mitrovica in Kosovo, Verona in Italy and Los Alcazares in Spain. Neither Bitola nor Saint-Lô are mentioned though on Bitola's site, Korcë is mentioned as a twin town to Bitola!
- Saint-Lô is twinned with Aalen in Germany, Saint-Ghislain in Belgium, Christchurch in UK and Roanake in the USA (Virginia). No mention of Korcë
Then, there does not seem to be any official twinnage between Korca and Saint-Lô, but :
- Lycée Le Verrier in Saint-Lô is “apparié” (mated) with Korca in Albania, Aalen in Germany and Varsawa in Poland and has students exchanges with these three cities. Only one of them (Aalen) is an official city twin town. May be the two others, including Korca, are “twin to be” or “aborted twin to be”, I cannot say. Nevertheless, the busses are almost the same! Thank you Don!
Moreover, while I was searching for information about the connection between Korcë and Saint-Lô, I found serendipitously two interesting locations to visit in the close neighborhood of Korcë and I have written a tip about each of them. Thanks Don for all that !
I have not been to Kamenica tumulus, 12 km south to Korcë as it is not mentioned in any guide-book and that I discovered it on the web once back home. I write this small tip mainly for myself, in order to visit it if I have the opportunity.
The site and the museum are open from Tuesday to Sunday 9AM-7PM (may-september) or 8AM-4PM (October-april)
I quote here the beginning of the presentation from Kamenica Tumulus
The Tumulus of Kamenica is one of the most representative monuments of the prehistory of Albania and that of the wider region. It is the largest monument of its kind discovered and investigated so far in the country, and carries more or less a seven centuries long history.
Voskopojë can be a day trip from Korcë but is worth a longer visit.
To go to Voskopojë, you have to take the circular boulevard around korcë and take the small road for Turan (2km), Voskop (2km) and Voskopojë (9 km), which altogether makes 13 km. This is not a long way but though the road is excellent, you will have to drive slowly.
At an elevation of 1200 m, Voskopojë, now a village of 500, was in the XVIII a city of 40,000, the third city in the Ottoman Empire. From that period remain numerous churches some in good condition other not. Some of them have superb icons.
I have built a separate page on Voskopojë : http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/6ce90/b3111/
Dardhë can be a day trip from Korcë but is worth a longer visit.
To go to Dardhë from Korcë, you have to take the road for Ersekë. After 3 km, take on the left the small road to Bobosthticë and Dardhë. After another 19 km, you will reach Dardhë, at an elevation of 1350 m, it is a nice mountain village with slate covered houses and a ski resort. I will build a separate page on Dardhë.
Is that the big four conference or better a Franco-Albanian conference at ground level ? No policy involved!!
Actually, in Albania, there are few small dogs and thus very often children stopped and wanted to pet our dogs. This was the first time that they could meet with dogs that had about the same size and apparently they were happy of that meeting!
On several occasions both in Albania and in Greek Epirus, we have seen pigs feeding themselves in the wild but this was the first time that it was feeding on a dump. Obviously, given its stoutness, it seems that it found plenty of food
Dardha is a mountain village 45 min. drive from Korca, southest Albania. The village is a wellknown touristic spot in Albania for the fresh climateric air and the beautiful scenery. There is a small hotel and two restaurants. In winter there are skiing activities. When there, taste the local dish 'lakror' and for the alcool fans the raki made of prunes is a must. Take a walk around the village. Best time to go is spring. The place is absolutely calm, you can sleep in your tent. I asked at the 'Batelli' restaurant to put the tent inside their yard, just for maximum safety and they were very nice people. In winter gets very cold there. You can go in Dardha taking a cab in Korca city, every day around 1 PM there's a minibus from Korca to Dardha, but you have to ask to find the place of departure.