Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

It was one hundred years ago this year that Edith Durham made the Albanian journeys that were to feature in her book "High Albania". We look at Edith Durham's adventures in the Albania-Montenegro border region.

article summary —

Early one morning in the summer of 1908, a small party left the village of Thethi in northern Albania. And, having floundered through the waist-deep snow which still choked the Qafa e Peje or Cafa Pes, the travellers descended into the Ropojana valley, in what is now Montenegro.

The party consisted of Edith Durham, that redoubtable Balkan traveller and champion of Albanian affairs, together with her loyal guide and friend Marko Shantoja, the local Franciscan padre and his servant, and a headman from the village of Okolo (Okol). Their destination was Vuthaj (nowadays Vusanje), a small, predominantly Muslim village in the Ropojana valley which, along with the rest of the Plav-Gusinje area, was then still part of Albania.

Having passed a lake, "very blue and deep but made, I was assured, entirely of snow-water", they continued along the valley, to arrive at Vusanje, where Durham noted the small mosque with a wooden minaret.

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Rudolf Abraham is an award-winning travel writer and photographer specialising in Central and Eastern Europe – in particular Croatia, Slovenia, Austria and Montenegro. He is the author of a dozen books including Peaks of the Balkans, The Mountains of Montenegro, Walking in the Salzkammergut, Walks and Treks in Croatia, Torres del Paine and The Islands of Croatia, all published by Cicerone, National Geographic Traveller Croatia, and The Alpe Adria Trail, published by Bradt. He is co-author of Istria - The Bradt Travel Guide and has contributed to many more books including DK Eyewitness Slovenia and Unforgettable Journeys. His work is published widely in magazines.

Rudolf lives in London, and is a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers. Find out more about his work at Rudolf Abraham Photography, or visit Rudolf Abraham | Travel Writer. You can also find him on Instagram at rudolfphoto.

This article was published in hidden europe 22.