Built on the foothill of mountain range of Moravas on an altitude of 610 metres, Korytsa is the most important city of SE Albania. It is an interesting, historical, relatively new city, with a rich tradition and interesting monuments from the Ottoman era, including the most famous mosque of Albania. The climate of the region is healthy the water is sufficient and the agriculture is favoured.
Although Korytsa was the main core of the National Liberating Movement
of Albania, the population of the city as well as of the wider region is mixed,
consisted of Greeks, Valachs and Slave speaking people.
In many of the surrounding villages there are Orthodox churches of
great historical, artistic and architectural interest. The near coal mines of
Drenova operate from the time of the Ottoman Empire and they are of great economic
importance. During the last years, the region has suffered a big immigration wave
towards Greece, seeking for job, and despite the fact that the local economy has
been somehow improved, there still exist a lot of difficulties.
Historical evidence and archaeological findings of the primary Neolithic
era witness a long course of 6000 years. The copper age lasted from 3000 b.C.
to 2100 b.C. and the region experienced significant progress until 1000 b.C. At
the Iron Age the cultural influences from Greece were very strong. There is a
great number of archaeological places where no excavations have been realised,
but it is believed that they belong to the same period as the Mycenaean civilisation
of the Ancient Greece. During the Byzantine years, the region played a great role
and the first Christian church was built in 898.
In 1887, the first Albania School is created, which operates until
1902. Today, this building lodges the museum of the town. The region suffered
during the Balkan wars many losses of buildings and population. Korytsa, at the
second half of the 19th century was the centre of the National Liberating Fight
During the period between 1920-1939 it was a significant
Financial and Cultural Centre.
During the First World War the region was under the Austro-Hungarian
occupation, and then was occupied by the French Army, in 1916. The French occupation
ended in 1920 but the cultural influence continued with the Kortsa French Lyceum,
which played a configuring role in the life of the communist dictator Enver Hotza,
who was a student and a teacher. In 1929 the residents of Korytsa revolted for
the King, Wilhelm of Wide, so he could come back in Albania as a monarch.
At 1930, the labour movement developed dynamically in the city and
the secret part of the communists in Korytsa (some of them were nationalist Yugoslavians)
was the core of Albania Labour party, under the leadership of the Albanian Political
Agent Ali Kelmenti. The region of Korytsa was painfully combated by the Italian
army and the Greek defensive forces in 1940-41, with serious losses from both
sides. In the war, the city was a very strong centre of the guerrilla movement
and the resistance to the Allies occupation, and a demonstration against the occupation
was depressed by the German Army in 1943. The city was the rampart of the popular
support of communism for many years after the war. The already existing furniture
manufactures, the carpet and the tobacco industry were completed by the construction
of a large station of coal and of some mechanical installations. The surrounding
province is the second largest in the country, after Skontra, and it occupies
almost 8% of the country with 188 villages and three towns. Before the war, a
great part of the region was marshland. In the drained land, the agriculture was
concentrated in the production of seeds, tobacco and sugar beet. The orthodox
cathedral was an important historic building, which was totally destroyed by the
soldiers of Enver in 1968.
Τhis text is cited April 2003 from the Prefecture
of Kastoria tourist pamphlet.