The third tour

Memory and Remembrance Route

The third route was designed by choosing places and stops that are not very frequented by visitors, but which occupy a special place in the historical memory of the Mirdita area and the whole country. They cover a large historical extent, from the monuments of the Arborian Middle Ages, to the socialist heritage of the late 20th century and to the still alive traditions of the characteristic crafts of the area. The route is divided into two parts, the first of which can be easily done on foot, while the second requires the use of a vehicle.

The third route again starts from the town of Rrëshen, but focuses on the traditional craftsmanship of the province. It begins with a visit to the atelier of Mrs. Drane Fizi, which produces and decorates characteristic clothes of the Mirdita area. Since she has dedicated her whole life to this craft, Mrs. Fizi is well acquainted with the local culture and tradition, and is considering the possibility of expanding her business with a shop. After the visit and the conversation with him, the road continues to the historical center of the city, "Abat Doçi" square and the Palace of Culture, where the artistic life of the province flourishes.

 Then it continues with one of the new agrotourisms in the area, "Real Park", where you can enjoy a traditional lunch, contemplate the pleasant nature around and have fun with friends and relatives. The road follows the track of the old road that connected Tirana with Kukës and stops in the village of Gëziqi, where, on the left of the road, is the Ndrefana Church. Zterfana is thought to have been an important center of the Principality of Arbër and the present church was built on the ruins of the abbey of Saint Mary, which must have been destroyed with the establishment of Ottoman rule in the XV century. The church has special historical importance because, precisely in it, the consul Theodor Ippen discovered the eagle coat of arms of the Principality of Arbër, which continues to remain a symbol of the state and the Albanian nation to this day. After the visit to Gëziq, we continue towards the village of Shpal, which got its name from the old church of Shpal (St. Paul), known as an assembly for the reconciliation of blood between the inhabitants of the area. Medieval Bilnishti, the seat of the noble house of the same name, was mentioned as early as 878 and was one of the most important ecclesiastical centers of Northern Albania, with not only the Benedictine abbey of Saint Paul and cult objects, but also a series of fortifications that still survive in the toponymy: Shkorret castle, Preçi castle, Bazhella castle, etc. Opposite Bilnishti is the archaeological site of Bukli, where an important arboretum necropolis was discovered in 1963. 
The itinerary continues with the Spaçi prison-camp, among the most important places of memory of the totalitarian period. The labor camp for the exploitation of the copper and pyrite mine in Spaç operated during the years 1968-88 and housed about 1000 prisoners. The complex contains seven buildings that belong to the part of the prison, but also other buildings with different functions, since the exploitation of the mine was not only carried out with the work of prisoners. The buildings are typical socialist style, utilitarian and with regular shapes. Today they are in a completely dilapidated state.