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Mirdita (Albanian: Mirditë) is a municipality in Lezhë County, Northeastern Albania, about 85 km north of Tirana. It has about 27,000 people (2011).

Understand[edit]

It contains a number of towns including Milot, Rrëshen and Rubik.

The region is known as a stronghold of Albanian nationalism and devout Catholicism. It is an ancient settlement area, traditional guest houses, full of trails for the adventurous, high pastures, cliffs, mountains, fascinating views, prehistoric caves, ruins of castles, and heavy with history of mining and isolation.

Fan River Canyon

More than 200 churches and ruins are mentioned in the 15th century in Mirdita, evidence that this region was populated and had a religious tradition with deep roots. Rubik's Monastery has been mentioned since 1166.

Visitor information centre[edit]

  • 1 Infokulla Mirdita (Mirdita Information Center and Museum), Rubik (from Tirana, heads towards Kukës on the Road of the Nation, exit at Rubik), +355695602970, . Daily 09:00 - 17:00. Opened in November 2017, the Infokulla provides free tourist information for the local area, and a museum on the history and wildlife of the region. Museum: 200 lekë, 2 EUR.

Get in[edit]

By bus[edit]

Mirdita and its municipalities (urban: Rubik and Rrëshen, rural: Fan, Kaçinar, Kthellë, Orosh and Selitë) are accessible from Tirana or Kukës through A1 motorway. You can take the bus to Rrëshen at the Regional Bus Terminal - North and South Albania just outside Tirana. The departure is every one hour starting from 06.00 in the morning until 18.00 in the evening. The ticket to Milot costs 200 lekë (€1.50) and to Rubik 300 lekë (€2.50).

By plane[edit]

Tirana International Airport Nënë Tereza is 66 km away from Mirditë District.There you can get a taxi to the Regional Bus Terminal - North and South Albania just outside Tirana and wait for the Rrëshen bus to take you in Mirditë. Kukës International Airport Zayed is nearly 83 km from Mirditë. You can get a taxi or the bus to Tirana in Kukës and stop in Rubik or Rrëshen.

By car[edit]

From Tirana, Mirditë is 85 km away following the A1 motorway. The road from Montenegro will take you first to Shkodra, which is nearly 85 km from Mirditë following E851 and E762. If you come from Kosovo, the easiest way is through the A1 motorway. Mirditë is nearly 95 km from the Albanian border with Kosovo.

Get around[edit]

When you get there, you can get around by car, or better by foot so you can enjoy more the cities or the places in nature. As people are friendly, you may also ask for a ride from the hotel or passing locals.

See[edit]

  • The Fan. The Fan is a river in northern Albania. It is formed by the confluence of two source rivers: the Great Fan and the Little Fan, that join a few kilometers west of the town Rrëshen. The Great Fan rises near the village Kryezi, Qafë-Mali municipal unit, in the Shkodër County. It flows generally southwest through Fushë-Arrëz and Gjegjan. The Little Fan rises near the village Thirrë, in the municipal unit Fan, Mirditë municipality, Lezhë County. It flows southwest through Reps and just north of Rrëshen. West of Rrëshen the two source rivers unite and the Fan continues west to Rubik, and then south until its outflow into the river Mat, east of Milot. Fan_(river) on Wikipedia

Rubik Monastery Church (Albanian: Kisha e T'Shëlbuemit Rubikut) In Rubik but about a 45-minute walk from Mirdita. This church is at least 1,000 years old and of historical importance. Ever since it was constructed, it has served as a 4-year educational institution for people in the area. Some of the most famous Albanian writers and devoted religious figures such as At Gjergj Fishta and At Zef Pllumbi have been faculty members. The church has an old part that contains drawings and icons dating back to its founding. It also boasts a wonderful view of the city, as it is on the top of a hill.

  • Gurra e Domgjonit. located in Mirditë and it is an old tunnel which exists for 6 centuries now. It is pretty unique and it is the only one in the region, but also in the Balkans because it is pretty hard to find a similar one. Its length is 100 meters. Together with the Rubik Monastery Church they create "the little city" (this is how the locals call it, because it was in important living place since the 6th century.) Both the Monastery Church and Gurra e Domgjonit are important Cultural Monuments in Albania.
  • 1 Munellë Mountain. Munellë Mountain has a considerbale number of karst caves and pits , which are protected natural monuments . It is a flat-ridged mountain with many limestone caves and crevices , including the aforementioned Cave of Stërçokëve in the northeastern part of the mounrain , which has ice in it year round. The Munellë area is well-known for its rich vegetation cover , consisting maionly of beech and black pine forests . In the eastern and south-eastern areas ,where the mountain descends into the valley of the Fani River ,there is an oak forest with thick shrubbery. Many erosive sites are present in these areas , which are linked to the intense freezing activities and high rainfall rates on the mountain. Munellë Mountain is home to many large mammals , such as the brown bear ,deer,chamois,and wolf.It is considered as one of the last known habitats of the Balkan Lynx , a rare and endangered medium -sized wild cat species. Walking on Munellë's paths offers rare panoramic landscape, historical and religious artifacts , including : Spaç Political Prison Memorial , Copper Mining , the 19th century "kulla e Zef Ndocit" (Sh_Mr_017.Sh_Mr_038),and the Gurra e Domgjonit(water supply from the 6th century) ( SH_MR_034).

Do[edit]

Hiking[edit]

Cities in the region of Mirdita are a great opportunity for going hiking and visiting a lot of historical places at the same time. Some of them are marked with red and white symbols and different signs.

You can walk for 1 hour and 30 minutes and go to the Monastery Church in Rubik. The road is not difficult and you will not be alone because some friendly dogs of the places nearby will come and accompany you.

Rubik[edit]

Rubik is a village on Vela mountain at an elevation of 1,171 m above sea level, with steep rock walls and a wide variety of flora and fauna. You can take great hikes there, with beautiful views down to the sea. There is a place where you can take long walks and enjoy an outstanding nature and sea view from high peaks, combined with religion, history, tradition and culture. Eco-tourism is also possible, as there is a guest house, hotels and restaurants serving local products in the region of Katund i Vjetër. You can also find medical herbs in autumn in Rubik, if you know where to look. There is an annual pilgrimage of Lady of Vela on the first Saturday of June to a nearby Catholic shrine. Rubik has houses with towers and stone carvings, Church of the Shëlbuemi, pictograms, Vela mountain, many historical and natural monuments and ruins of Middle Ages buildings.

Buy[edit]

Usually a lot of people that come in Mirdite and in the cities around, have a stop in Milot to buy fresh fruits and vegetables from the region. It is a place where you can find fresh and tasty fruits and vegetables from the villages nearby with a great price. In the most crowded places (e.g. city center), you can find souvenirs and also traditional Albanian clothing.

Eat[edit]

Traditional local food in Rubik (from left top to right clockwise: Byrek (Albanian pie), goat cheese, Torshi, and corn bread

The food in this place is traditional Albanian food. Food is mostly fresh and homemade. You can try a lot of traditional Albanian food such as byrek (pie) with yoghurt, spinach, potatoes and cheese; cooked vegetables, tavë dheu (fërgesë) and roasted meat.

Lakrori (cooked with blood, pork brain and melted fat or as they say in their dialect "zhikrra").

Petë me kungull (Pumpkin noodles).

Laknuri with rena — Porridge of flour and lard. Today, butter is used instead of lard.

The "queen" of the table at Christmas time is Byreku me arra (walnut pie); noodles stacked on top of each other oiled and in the middle layer two reindeer with crushed walnuts.

Drink[edit]

A bottle of raki

There you can find the most varied drinks including homemade alcoholic drinks such as rakija (rakija made of plums and grape) and wine (in this region, in the segment of the road, it is a winery that is called Arbëri winery.) Also you can find them in every restaurant and guesthouse there. You can also find a lot of non alcoholic drinks such as dhallë (made of yogurt, water and salt) and a variety of fresh juices made of fruits from the villages.

Sleep[edit]

  • 1 Hotel Marub, Katund i Vjeter, Rubik, +355 68 207 7424, . In a forested valley surrounded by mountains, Hotel Marub provides eco-friendly accommodation and an organic locally sourced restaurant. Twin rooms - 30 € breakfast included / Double rooms - 30 € breakfast included /Special Prices for groups over 10 people.
  • 2 Baven-Toven Naturae, +355 68 590 2595. If you want to spend a beautiful and relaxing moment in the nature and do some hiking,this is the place for you.In addition , you have the opportunity to visit nearby archaeological, historical and cultural sites like the “Castle of the Jews”, which dates back in the 6th century, pictograms which are over 5 millennia old, and the Church of Shelbuem from the 12th century.
  • 3 Guest House/ Bujtina Çupi (Bujtina Çupi), Qendër Kaçinar-Mirditë, +368 68 535 3337. At Bujtina Çupi you will find good accommodation , enjoy the surrounding nature and taste albanian traditional dishes .
  • Bujtina Drini, QPFW+FWW, Katundi i Vjeter (No public transport; by private car, follow the A1 national highway from Tirana/Shkodra towards Kukes/Kosovo,until the turnoff for the centre of Rubik. Before reaching Rubik, turn left after the bridge, then turn right towards Katund i vjeter; Bujtina Dini is not immediately signposted, but follow the main road, past the school and small clinic, and you’ll see a signpost after a few metres on the right.), +355695554288. Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 10:00. Bujtina Dini, named after the old family name, lies at the bottom of the valley surrounded by 700-metre mountain ridges; behind the house, the forest climbs up the steep slopes. There is a signpost which points out the steep driveway to visitors just a few metres behind the village’s school and local health centre.
  • 4 Guest House/ Bujtina Çupi (Bujtina Çupi), Qendër Kaçinar-Mirditë (VWW3+8RQ, Kaçinar), +355 68 535 3337, . At Bujtina Çupi you will find good accommodation, enjoy the nature nearby and taste Albanian traditional dishes .

Go next[edit]

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