Korçë, Korça, or Koritsa, city (1989 pop. 63,623), capital of Korçë dist., SE Albania, near the Greek border. Located in an agricultural region, it is a commercial and industrial center producing foodstuffs, rugs, and knitwear. Lignite deposits are mined nearby. Korçë is the seat of a Greek Orthodox metropolitan. Known in 1280, it was destroyed (1440) by the Turks but developed again after the 16th cent. Ever since Albania gained independence in the Balkan Wars, Korçë has been claimed by Greece. Greek troops occupied it in 1912-13 during the Balkan Wars and again early in World War I. From 1916 to 1920 it was occupied and administered by the French, and in World War II it was held (Nov., 1940-Apr., 1941) by the Greeks. Korçë has a large 15th-century mosque and several modern government buildings.
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During the Ottoman period it became one of the centres of the growing Albanian identity. The first school teaching in the Albanian language was established there in 1887, followed by Albania's first school for girls in 1891.


Korçë is famous for the high level of education of its high schools, mostly in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and foreign languages. Some of them are: Shkolla e Mesme e Pergithshme " Raqi Qirinxhi", "Themistokli Germenji", "Preca College," "Gjuhet e Huaja", "Shkolla Bujqesore", etj. Students with a degree from these schools are ready to attend brightly all the best Universities of Europe and USA. The city is also home of "Fan S. Noli University" which offers several degrees in humanities, business, and sciences.


During the 20th century, Korçë gained a substantial industrial capacity in addition to its historic role as a commercial and agricultural centre. The plateau on which the city stands is highly fertile and is one of Albania's main wheat-growing areas. Local industries include the manufacture of knitwear, rugs, textiles, flour-milling, brewing, and sugar-refining. Deposits of lignite coal are mined in the mountains nearby such as Mborje-Drenove.


The following excerpt is from N.G.L Hammond's Alexander's Campaign in Illyria:

"The district of Tren has an extraordinarily large number of fortifications. They are as follows.

Kalaja e Ventrokut

The River Tren which once flowed from Lake Ventrok into the Devoll has been replaced by the Ventrok Channel, which is part of the modern system of irrigation. On the north side of this Channel and a short distance before one comes to the narrow passage which is known as the Gryke e Ujkut, there is a considerable limestone hill, an offshoot of Mt Spile. The western side of the hill falls very steeply to the plain, and on the top of this western side there is a fortification wall of rough stones which is canted on the outer face only. The wall runs for some 280 m along the top and at two high points behind it there are two artificial tumuli. The side of the hill which faces the Gryke e Ujkut is less steep; between it and the Gryke e Ujkut there is a level space alongside the Ventrok Channel.

Kalaja e Shpelles

On the south side of the Ventrok Channel there is a limestone bluff which is partly alongside the narrow passage. Some of its cliffs overhang the passage, and at the foot of one of them, near the narrowest part of the passage, is situated the cave of Tren, which has been excavated. It was occupied first in the Balkan Eneolithic period. It and the adjacent area were 'important centres of habitation' in the Late Bronze Age with evidence of agriculture, pastoralism, fishing and hunting. It was occupied again late in the Hellenistic period and in the early medieval period. ... Half-way or so up this east side of the bluff there is wall which runs parallel to the top of the bluff for a distance of some 90 m; this at least as far as the wall had been cleared by excavation when we were there. The wall, made of rough stones, some small and others up to a metre long, is some three metres wide. Many shards of painted pottery, dated to the Early Iron Age, probably to the ninth and eighth centuries, lay on the ground inside the wall, showing that it had been an inhabited and fortified site.

Kalaja e Trajanit

On this surface we were able to see a series of five fortification walls, each running roughly at right-angles to the line of cliffs which overhang the narrow passage; the eastern ends of these walls are linked by a single wall. There is a small area at the highest point which is enclosed by a wall. The total length of this system of walls is some three kilometres; it provides defence in depth.

Kalaja e Mokut

To the south-east of Mt Trajan and above the village of Tren there is a single wall of fortification which runs up the steep hillside and crosses over the ridge. The wall is some 500 m long. It served as a defence against attack from the south or the east. This wall too is clearly seen from the plain below.


Beyond the narrow passage and on the north side of Lake Ventrok some rising ground is fortified with an agger. This agger and the settlement it encloses are of the Early Iron Age. Two tumuli which date probably to the same period are visible on the flat ground near the agger.



Other documented locations include the following:

Bulgareci Vashtëmia Podgorie Bellovodë Symizë Ventrok Trajan Tren Bilisht Zvezdë Drenovë Barç Kuçi i Zi Kamenicë Rëmbec



  • N.G.L Hammond, Alexander's Campaign in Illyria, The Journal of Hellenic Studies, pp 4-25. 1974
  • James Pettifer, Albania & Kosovo, A & C Black, London (2001, ISBN 0713650168)
  • François Pouqueville, Voyage en Morée, à Constantinople, an Albanie, et dans plusieurs autres parties de l'Empire othoman, pendant les années 1798, 1799, 1800 et 1801. (1805)
  • T.J. Winnifrith Badlands-Borderlands A History of Northern Epirus/Southern Albania (2003)

See also

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