official_name = Erseka
native_name = "Erseka / Erseke"
map_caption = Location of Erseka in Albania
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_type1 = Region
leader_title = Mayor (Municipality)
established_title = Founded
established_date = 1800
area_total_hectares = 121 ha
population_total = 7.750
population_urban = 12.125
timezone = CET
utc_offset = +1
timezone_DST = CEST
utc_offset_DST = +2
elevation_m = 1050
website = [http://www.erseka.com] http://www.erseka.com
Erseka - Founded in the 18th century, Erseka is a relatively new town that acts as the capital of
Kolonjaregion of Albania. Standing right next to the Gramozi mountains, it resembles a well-organized small alpine town, topping over 1050 meters. The highest town in Albania, Erseka plays a critical role in all regional activities, including areas relating to economy, culture, and education.
Erseka's people, like all Kolonjars, are proud of their patriotism, freedom-loving and strong educational traditions. They are hard-working and cultured people. Among the first Albanians to emigrate in the middle of the 19th centure, they have a long history of preserving their traditions and values especially in the areas of education, while embracing the positives from the changing world around around them.
Erseka can be described as an exceptional small town community in post-communist Albania. In the last 15 years, Erseka has led the way in community development and building infrastructure that has improved the lives of its local citizens. Its school system, health facilities, and local government are among the best in Albania.
A well organized quiet town, Erseka is ideal for raising a family. Its high school is known for its high standard of education, sending about 70% of its graduating class to universities who are well prepared to undertake college work. Local citizens have access to a recently renovated library that has a collection of more than 50,000 books. Its local hospital also provides a state of the art healthcare center to citizens. Home to about 12 doctors and 100 nurses, it can accommodate about 100 in-patients.
Based on archeological findings, early residential vestiges in this range confirm the area's long history during the
Neolithic period(6000-3000 BC), as established by the discovery of cultural material in the dwelling of NINA's STONE in the village of Kamnik. Inhabitation during the Copper Period (3000 - 2100 BC) was established by the discovery of a copper grave and imported dish from Dimini i Thesalise in the village of Kamnik. The Bronze Agewas established by cultural material discovered in the dwelling of NINA's STONE and BIG ROCK in the village of Luaras. Of particular interest is a piece discovered in Tumulare Tombs of Prodan, Rehova, Psarr, Shtike, and Borova. Inhabitation during the Iron Age(1000- 0 BC) was confirmed by the discovery of open fortifications in the village of Prodan, Pradelle, and Borove as well as circle fortifications in Illyrian Forts in Hollmin of Qinamn, Gradec (Bejkove), Cuka of Borova, and the fort of Gradecit (Vrepcke), Bejkova, Boshanj, and Qesarak. Currently, none of these archeological sites is open to visitors. However, the local history and ethnographic museum has archeological and ethnographic samples from local digs that include some of the idems listed above.
The Kolonja range was originally inhabited by the
Epirotesand the most northerly Greek [Smith, William (2006). A New Classical Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography, Mythology and Geography. Whitefish, MT, USA: Kessinger Publishing, LLC, page 423. ] tribe of Dassaretae. The attractive vantage ground of this range brought many foreign invaders. However, the region's population managed to resist these many invasions, beginning with revolts during the Roman and Ottoman Empires, and lasting until Albania's Independence Day in November 1912. Kolonja has played a special role in the country's history. This region brought many distinguished idelogists, creative publicists, talented and zealous teachers for Albanian education, as well as many brave combatants and patriots. All hold honorary places in the pantheon of our national memory. These heroes include Fan Noli, Jani Vreto, Shahin Kolonja, Petro Nini Luarasi, Papa Kristo Negovani, Gjerasim, Gjergj, Parashqevi and Sevasti Qiriazi, Themistokli Germenji and Spiro Bellkameni, Sali and Gani Butka, Mersin and Zalo Prodani along with many others. These men were dedicated with both flesh and hear to the Albanian national cause of their time.
Culture, Music and Arts
Residents enjoy some social and cultural activities. The "Fan Stilian Noli" center presents several artistic and cultural activities throughout the year. Its main theater of 400 seats shows performances by various groups from
Korçë, Tiranaand local artists. The ethnographic museum also houses a good collection of traditional costumes, textiles and other crafts, for with the town is renowned.
Kolonja, like most of other regions in Albania, has its own music, dance, and traditional dresses. The Kolonjars have embraced their traditions in the fields of oral, instrumental, choreographic, vocal folklore, and traditional crafts by teaching the new generations these skills. Kolonja is represented by one folk group which is most well known for the popular song titled "Neither Small Nor Big". It is distinguished for virtousity in the interpretation of Kolonjar song, dance and melody.
In the center of the town is an
obeliskdedicated to Odise Paskal, the Kolonjar Martyr of the Renaissance. Paskal, a sculptor, was recognized as a "Master Sculptor for Albania" and inaugurated on 28 November 1938.
All the types of art created in Erseka are still completed in the old tradition, by hand. The new generations of Erseka have embraced these traditions and continue to follow in this manner, working to create new traditions in the areas of music and art that help to define the region and its people.
Besides cultural activities, the town has its own football team
KS Gramozi Ersekëand a stadium that has a capacity of 6,000 spectators.
Like the rest of Albania, the Erseka-Kolonja region strives to develop a suistainable and stable economy. With favorable land and climate conditions, the region has been ideal for agricultural and livestock production and thus has developed primarily in the tradition of farming.
Erseka-Kolonja is known for its
apples throughout Albania. Of the 133 hectares allocated to orchards, 119 is set aside for apple farms, producing about 947 tons a year. With growing demand for these apples, its apple production has a lot of potential for further development. With over 1300 hectares of productive land still unused, fruit tree farmers are trained and familiar with apple agro-technology and have received fruit saplings from countries like Greeceand the Republic of Macedonia. There are two nurseries that produce saplings for apples, yielding 800 saplings a year.
The region is also known for its
honeyproduction. Formed a few years ago, the Beekeeping Association consists of 70 beekeepers and produces 4000 kg of honey a year. With over 3080 hectares used for farming, the region yields about 4500 tons of cereal grain, 2350 tons of wheatand 2080 tons of corn a year. About 66,000 tons of alfalfaand forage crops are produced, which are used for livestock cultivation. The region has three wheat factories for milling, including five centers for mass breadproduction. In addition, medical plants can be found in the region. Currently they are cultivated and gathered privately.
With the region's vast pasture land, the quality of the region's livestock production is high. Erseka-Kolonja farmers currently breed about 5500 cattle, 4200 cows, 40,000 sheep and 22,000 goats. Its livestock produces about 98,500 kv of milk a year and 1451 tons of meat. Last year, farmers worked with UPRA,
Franceand SBI Korce. They imported Tanranteze cattle stock, which has led to increases in the production of milk and meat. Erseka has one milk/cheese factory and several points of collection and treatment of milk.
Erseka is also renowned for its woodcrafts, stonecarving and carpet weaving tradition. The village of Borova is the home of a well known woodcarver in Albania. There are 250 businesses registered with the municipality. There are 6 construction firms, 16 transportation firms and a private bus company.
Recognizing its need for guidance in developing a sustainable community, Erseka has been in the forefront of building relations with international and local organizations.
Started by the Dutch in 1997, this NGO has contributed tremendously to the improvement of the schools, protection of the region's natural forests, and modernization of agricultural techniques of the farmers, including better integration systems. In 2004 the foundation started running beginner computer courses, training over 150 professionals and 200 students a year.
Founded by American missionaries in 1995, Udhekryq church has been offering camps and outdoor activities to children and families all over Albania for the last four years. Camp Activities include
rock climbing, canoeing, arts and crafts, and team building. It also runs a bible studyschool called TorchBearer's Bible School which is opened both to Albanians and International students.
* [http://www.erseka.com] http://www.erseka.com
*All information on this page is from Erseka's town hall and used with prior and appropriate permission.
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