This post is about my trip to Orosh Mirdita, and the photographic impressions on the landscape and people. Oroshi is a village in North Albania, at Gryke Orosh near Fan River Valley. Along this valley, the road "Rruga e Kombit" is built, which connects different settlements of Albania and Kosovo. During my visit there (in 2008), the Road was under construction, modifying the landscape, as well the inhabitants' hope to get closer to the city. What impressed me the most was the beautiful nature and the hospitality of people. From the conversations, I found their pride in the history and traditions of Orosh, as well their happiness for the connection to the road, which would end the long isolation. When asked, the young people did not hesitate to dress and pose with their traditional costumes. This post is a homage to Orosh, with its beautiful nature and rich history, that the communist regime left isolated for many years.
Will Oroshi preserve its Nature and Individuality while facing the development and modernity?
Wishing to know more about Orosh, I asked my friend architect Maks Kola, who was born in Mirdita and raised there until the university studies. Following is my interview with Maks.
Alketa - Hello Maks. First of all, I would like to thank you for accepting my invitation to be part of my blog. Can you first tell to the blog readers, what is your connection to Mirdita?
Maks Kola - Both my parents are from Mirdita. I was born in Mirdita, more precisely in Rrëshen, which is the administrative center of Mirdita. I lived there until the completion of high school, and then went on to study architecture at the Polytechnic University of Tirana. Today, even though I no longer live in Mirdita, I try to visit often, not losing the ties, since Mirdita is part of my constitution and behavior.
Alketa - Can you tell me something about the History of Orosh, and Oroshi Abbey?
Maks Kola - In fact, Mirdita was only the village today called Orosh, more precisely Grykë Orosh, since Oroshi today has several villages such as Grykë Oroshi, Mashtërkore, Lgjin, Nënshenjt, Bulsharë, Shmria, (Shën Maria) Ndërshene, Lajthiza and Shpërdhaza
Orosh is the heart of Mirdita. It is the nucleus of the creation of today's Mirdita, at the same time an important center of anti-Ottoman resistance since the 15th century.
Oroshi had the qualities of a medieval residential center, namely the Holy Mountain. Even in the early Middle Ages, from the 6th to 12th centuries, there was a church ensemble with such urban elements as the Benedict Assembly, the Abbey of Saint Lazard (St. Alexander), the Diocese School, some Churches and residences for the friars and priests.
In 1602, in the Abbey, several assemblies were held to counter the Ottoman rule, as there was the political, economic and spiritual center of the province of Mirdita, an important part of the Arbri Principality.
In this Abbey, it is worth mentioning the fact that one of the first Albanian schools was established. There have been many abbots, but I can not but mention Renaissance Prend Docin, whose name holds the central square of Rrëshen town. Prend Doci was a great personality in the field of culture and letters, a politician, diplomat and patriot.
An important part of Mirdita's history is its autonomy. It was declared Republic on 21 July 1911. The President of the Republic was Gjon Marka Gjoni, the son of the well-known Gjomarkaj Family, based in Orosh.
The Mirditors know very well the history of their ancestors. It is part of their constitution as they guard the Albanian identity, the religious identity, the catholicism, the customs, the codes, the Albanian language, the songs, the dance, the cuisine and many other elements of the Albanian culture, especially of Mirdita.
Alketa - What about the Costumes and the Traditional Dresses? When I was there, the young men had their own traditional dresses, which they put on very proudly. Can you tell me something about popular motives, colors, hats, etc.
Max Kola - I can say a lot about all of these elements I mentioned above, but I wanted to take a bit in the old outfits, as these are kept today with fanaticism. Some of these elements of clothing are: white shirts for both men and women, which in the chest section were decorated with many nobility and subtlety, using various motifs related to faith. The belt, and the jumper which has a decorative motif of Catholic faith such as the cross and national motifs such as the eagle but stylized.
Another distinctive element of the mirditor women is the hairstyle and the headscarf. It shows their status and is related to the style of Illyrian queens.
In the Socks, through motives, is develop the artistic creativity of the woman. The dominant color in the wardrobe of the province of Mirdita is red and white, but I can not help but mention the black scarf and black jacket of mirditor women, which became black in a sign of mourning after Skanderbeg's death.
The men's hat is special. It has the form of a cut con. The men’s outfit decorated with black woolen laces, along with red motifs in the vest, make it so unique that has attracted the attention of many foreign scholars.
Alketa - Maksi, thank you very much for the interesting explanations on Orosh and Mirdita. I wish you great successes in your work.
(all the photos below, are from my trip in Orosh in 2008)