KORCA ,CALLED BY THE LOCALS AS “THE LITTLE PARIS”

Korçë is the eighth most populous city of the Republic of Albania. It is coextensive with the municipality of Korçë, and is the capital of Korçë County. The total population is 75,994, in a total area of 806 km2. It stands on a plateau some 850 m (2,789 ft) above sea level, surrounded by the Morava Mountains.

The area of the Old Bazaar

The area of the Old Bazaar, including Mirahori Mosque, is considered as the urban core of the city. Founded by a local Ottoman Albanian lord, Ilias Bey Mirahori, the urban area of Korçë dates back to the late 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century, however its actual physiognomy was realized in the 19th century, during a period that corresponds with the rapid growth and development of the city. The Old Bazaar has played a dominant role in Albania’s market history. Korçë is the largest city of eastern Albania and an important cultural and industrial center.

National Museum of Medieval Art

The National Museum of Medieval Art is located in the city of Korça and was built on April 24, 1980 and is located in two characteristic Korça dwellings declared cultural monuments. As the name implies, this museum preserves the most valuable heritage created by Albanian painters for five centuries. The most prestigious post-Byzantine era paintings are exhibited in the iconographic art pavilion. They are from the XII and XIV centuries. This museum contains 7500 artistic objects of stone, wood, wool, silver and other metals, folk costumes and other objects that show the antiquity, tradition and originality of civic culture. About 1,200 objects, most of them from the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, and about 6,000 are icons.

Oriental Museum Bratko

The Museum of Oriental Art “Bratko” (Albanian: Muzeu i Oriental Art “Bratko”) is an Albanian national museum dedicated to Asian art in Korçë, Albania. The museum was established and opened in June 2003, thus fulfilling the dream of George Dimitri Boria, an Albanian-American photographer, who donated his own collection of Asian art to the museum. Collection which Boria began during his 14 years in post-war Japan as photographer for General Douglas MacArthur, and which continued as a lifelong passion embracing all countries and cultures of the Orient. The name “Bratko” Museum was chosen by G.D. Boria in memory of her beloved mother, Viktoria Bratko, who waited for him in Korca. The “Bratko” Museum serves as a monument to an extraordinary man, his family, and his native land. The architecture of the new museum is a startling, new contribution to the variety of buildings already represented in Albania.

Mesonjtorja (The first Albanian School)

Mësonjëtorja or The Albanian School was the first secular school in the Albanian language within Ottoman Albania. It was opened in Korçë during the late Ottoman period. The school building serves as a museum and is located on the north side of Bulevardi Shën Gjergji. The opening of the school was a result of the Albanian National Movement which aimed to create an independent Albania and to secure denied rights to Albanian people within the Ottoman Empire. Among others Mësonjëtorja was an important center of cultural and patriotic education. The school’s importance was raised because until then giving lessons in the Albanian language was done in private and secret due to Ottoman rule. The school opened its doors on 7 March 1887 and since then the day is celebrated by Albanians as the “Day of Teachers”. In 1885, Naim Frashëri, a government civil servant in the education ministry, Sami Frashëri and along with other influential Albanians involved in the Society for the Publication of Albanian Writings managed to get permission from the sultan for the opening of a private Albanian boy’s elementary school in Korçë.

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