Vithkuq is a municipality in the district of Korçë, in the southeast of Albania. Its remoteness from large towns makes it a real haven of peace where you can fully disconnect and immerse yourself in the relaxed times of rural Albania.
Vithkuqi is an ancient Illyrian settlement. It has not been studied in depth through archaeology but was a settlement as early as the Iron Age. In nearby villages, parts of the defensive fortifications are preserved, such as in Boshan, Bellovod and Leshnje. This is replicated in the Vithkuq neighbourhoods of Qyran and Qyrshas
In the 12th century (1162), the first church was built in Vithkuq, St. Thanasin’s Church, and in the late Middle Ages it was part of the Principality of Muzakaj from the 15th century. After the Ottoman invasion it was ruled by different Bey and during the 17th and 18th centuries Vithkuq became a local centre of culture and trade, being in a strategic location on the road between Berat and Korçë.
Albania’s first hydroelectric power station was built in Vithkuq in the 20th century, in 1936. Later, during the Second World War, its mountains served as a shelter for a large number of partisans, who created the first assault brigade of the Albanian National Liberation Army.
Vithkuq, a traditionally Christian settlement, is bordered by several Muslim and Christian Albanian villages surrounding it.
What to see in Vithkuq
There are many churches and monasteries around Vithkuq . Of the 14 churches that have been preserved over the centuries, 6 of them are in perfect condition, especially the Church of St. Michael. This church was built in 1728 and today it is the largest church in the village, with a spectacular colonnade and beautiful frescoes.
Church at Vithkuq
The fauna of the area is composed of bears, wolves, foxes, rabbits and wild cats among other mammals, as well as birds. The forests are made up of holm oaks and pines, and many medicinal plants such as juniper, wild rose, mountain tea, flowers, jumbo or lilac are cultivated.
To fully experience the ancient tradition of Albanian hospitality, no other place compares to Vithkuq, where the doors of every house are open to all tourists who want to stay there. Guests are served delicious food, prepared with fresh local produce. This village is also the birthplace of Naum Veqilharxhi, the creator of “Evetar”, the first primary school book for Albanian children in 1844.