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Photo of the town
Photo of the town
Delvinë is located in Albania
Coordinates: 39°57′N 20°6′E / 39.950°N 20.100°E / 39.950; 20.100Coordinates: 39°57′N 20°6′E / 39.950°N 20.100°E / 39.950; 20.100
Country  Albania
County Vlorë County
District Delvinë District
Elevation 207 m (679 ft)
Population (2012)
 • Total 4,241
Time zone Central European Time (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 9704
Area code(s) 0815
Car Plates DL

Delvinë (Albanian: Delvinë or Delvina, Greek: Δέλβινο, Delvino) is a small town in Vlorë County in southern Albania, 16 kilometres (10 miles) northeast of Saranda. Delvinë is the seat of the Delvinë District. Delvinë has lost over a third of its citizens since 1990, having a population of 4,200 (2004 estimate).

The city is built on a mountain slope. It has a mosque, a Catholic church, a Protestant church, and an Orthodox church. Nearby are the remainders of a medieval castle. To the south west of the city is the site of ancient Phoenice, which was declared an Archaeological Park in 2005.[1]

There is little local employment apart from that provided by the State, and Delvinë benefits little from the tourist boom in Saranda.

The town has a mixed population of Albanians and Greeks. According to the Human Rights Watch, Greeks constituted 50% of the town's population in 1989, but this fell to 25% in 1999.[2]


In antiquity the region was inhabited by the Greek tribe of the Chaonians. In the Middle Ages, Delvinë was part of the Despotate of Epirus.

Delvinë under Ottoman Turkish control[edit]

Orthodox church in Delvinë
Moschee in Delvina

The Sanjak of Delvina was established in the middle of 16th century.[3] Its county town was Delvinë but during the 18th century the local Pasha moved the seat of the sanjak from Delvine to Gjirokastër. Its official name didn't change, however, it was also referred as Sanjak of Gjirokastër.[4]

In 1635, according to the Codex of the church of Delvinë, when the Muslims had increased they dwelt in quarters inhabited by the Christian Orthodox, confiscated their churches and converted them to mosques, thereby forcing the non-Islamized Christians to move to other quarters of the town.[5] The Turkish traveler Evliya Çelebi visited Delvinë around 1670 and gave some information about the city in his travel book. He reported that in the Middle Ages Delvinë was in the hands of the Spanish and later the Venetians. In his own time, Ajaz Mehmet Pasha - a native Albanian - governed the Sanjak-bey of Delvinë. The sanjak covered 24 zeamets and 155 timars. There was a Turkish garrison, whose command on the castle was from Delvinë. According to the description of Çelebis, the small fortress had a good cisterne, an ammunition depot and a small mosque. In the city there were about 100 brick-built houses. These stood relatively far apart and nearly every house had a tower. He noted that a town wall was missing. There was several mosques, three Medreses and about 80 stores as well as an open market place.

In 1878 a Greek rebellion broke out, with the revolutionaries, mostly Epirotes, taking control of Sarandë and Delvinë. However, it was suppressed by the Ottoman troops, who burned 20 villages of the region.[6] In the early 20th century a çetë(armed band) consisting of 200 activists of the Albanian National Awakening was formed in Delvinë.[7] During the Balkan Wars and the subsequent Ottoman defeat, the Greek Army entered the city at March 3, 1913.[8] In June 1914 the town hosted the constituent assembly of the representatives of Northern Epirus that discussed and finally approved the Protocol of Corfu, on July 26, 1914.[9] Delvino then became part of the short-lived Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus.

Jewish community[edit]

Until the Second World War, a small Jewish community existed in Delvinë. It consisted of Jews from Spain who had come to Delvinë when under Ottoman rule and had close connections to the large Jewish community in Ioannina. After the war, nearly all the Jews emigrated to Israel.


The first school in Delvina, a Greek language school, was founded at 1537, when the town was still under Venetian control, and was maintained by bequests from wealthy local families.[10] Moreover, at 1875 a Greek female school was founded.[11]

International relations[edit]

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

Delvinë is twinned with:

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ Finiq - Albanian Tourism - Official Website
  2. ^ Nußberger Angelika, Wolfgang Stoppel (2001), Minderheitenschutz im östlichen Europa (Albanien) (in German), p. 26: Universität Köln 
  3. ^ Delvina, Sherif (2006). Low Albania (Epirus) and Cham issue. Eurorilindja. "Afterwards, when the sandjak of Delvina has been created (about the middle of XVI century)," 
  4. ^ Mikropoulos, Tassos A. (2008). Elevating and Safeguarding Culture Using Tools of the Information Society: Dusty traces of the Muslim culture. Earthlab. ISBN 978-960-233-187-3. 
  5. ^ Rathberger, Hrsg. von Oliver-Jens Schmitt. Red.: Andreas (2010). Religion und Kultur im albanischsprachigen Südosteuropa (1., Aufl. ed.). Frankfurt am Main: Lang. p. 85. ISBN 978-3-631-60295-9. 
  6. ^ M. V. Sakellariou. Epirus, 4000 years of Greek history and civilization. Ekdotike Athenon. ISBN 978-960-213-371-2, p. 292.
  7. ^ Skendi, Stavro (1967). The Albanian national awakening, 1878-1912. Princeton University Press. p. 421. Retrieved 24 April 2011. 
  8. ^ Veremis, John S. Koliopoulos & Thanos M. (2010). Modern Greece : a history since 1821 (1. publ. ed.). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. p. 73. ISBN 978-1-4051-8681-0. 
  9. ^ Kondis Basil. Greece and Albania, 1908-1914. Institute for Balkan Studies, 1976, p. 132: "Throughout the period of the constituent assembly which convoked at Delvino to discuss the Corfu agreement... the constituent assembly approved the agreement on July 26, 1914."
  10. ^ M. V. Sakellariou. Epirus, 4000 years of Greek history and civilization. Ekdotike Athenon, 1997. ISBN 960-213-371-6. p 308: "Another important school was that at Delvino...very high standard".
  11. ^ M. V. Sakellariou. Epirus, 4000 years of Greek history and civilization. Ekdotike Athenon, 1997. ISBN 978-960-213-371-2, p. 308

See also[edit]