Gruda (region)

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Gruda (Montenegrin and Serbian Cyrillic: Груда, Albanian: Grudë) is a historical tribal region in southeastern Montenegro, just north of Lake Skadar, which includes the small town of Tuzi, in Podgorica. It is inhabited by a majority of ethnic Albanians.


The historical tribal region is regarded part of the Northern Albanian tribes (Malësia) within Montenegro.[1] It borders to the historical tribal regions of Hoti and Kelmendi to the south and east (in Albania);[1] and Kuçi to the north;

Within Grudë are the following settlements, administratively part of the Podgorica municipality:[citation needed]

In the western half of Grudë lies the small mountain range of Deçiq, as well as the river "Cemi", which runs through Grudë, separating Deçiq and the village of Suka, as well as forming the border between the lands of the Grudë tribe and those of Kuči. Deçiq and Suka being the largest mountains in Grudë.


The Gruda tribe was instrumental in Ottoman resistance in the region. The mountains north-east of Tuzi are remembered as the site of a major uprising against the Turks which was among the first significant steps toward Albanian independence and probably the most distinguishing moment of the northern Albanian resistance.

Gruda proved to be a focus of conflict between Ottoman Empire and Montenegro during 1880. The Porte insisted that in upcoming treaty to cede Ulcinj to Montenegro, Gruda be left to Albanians. During the same time, Porte's representative, Riza Pasha was turning a blind eye to the preparations of Albanian League for resistance against the upcoming Montenegrin occupation.[2]

Having been forced to disarm, and under considerable pressure by the Ottomans to convert to Islam, (and not having staged any major revolt against Ottoman authority for nearly a half century) the Albanian highlanders launched a guerrilla campaign against the occupying armies.

In 1911, under the leadership of Sokol Baci Ivezaj, Albanian guerrillas launched a major assault against the strategic high ground of Mount Deçiq. The force is said to have taken about eighty casualties, but they ultimately prevailed, and planted the Albanian flag at the crest of the hill (the first time the flag had been raised in the country since 1469).[3] This symbolic act represented a major sign of the Ottoman empire's crumbling rule over the Balkans, and it cemented Gruda's reputation among the other ethnic Albanian tribes.

Gruda Albanians, 1913.

The city of Tuzi lies in the east end of Grudë. Of Tuzi's 3,789 residents, more than 2,000 are ethnic Albanians, making it, according to the 2003 census, the heaviest concentration of ethnic Albanians in Malësia. Over the last 30 years there has been a minor influx from the surrounding villages of Albanians who are looking to take advantage of Tuzi's higher standard of living and better educational system.



  • Ivezaj, flag-bearers (bayraktars) of Gruda, descend from Iveza, son of Vuksan Gela
  • Nikaj , descend from Nik, son of Vuksan Gela
  • Sinishtaj, descend from Nogza, a son of Vuksan Gela
  • Vucaj (or Vucoki), descend from Vuco, son of Vuksan Gela
  • Vuçinaj, descend from Vuçin Gela
  • Gjokaj commanders (vojvode) of Gruda, descend from a son of Ban Gruda
  • Dukaj, From Trieshi
  • Lulgjuraj, descend from a son of Ban Gruda
  • Haxhaj (or Adzovic)
  • Frluçkaj (Lulgjuraj), descend from a son of Ban Gruda
  • Neziraj
  • Berishaj
  • Gjolaj (Son of Vuksa Gela)
  • Beqaj
  • Bojaj, native, not paternally related to the Gela
  • Kalaj, descend from a son of Ban Gruda
  • Lulanaj (branch)
  • Kajoshaj
  • Stanaj (brothers of Vulaj), descend from a son of Ban Gruda
  • Pepaj (Ivezaj)
  • Hakaj
  • Vulaj (brothers of Stanaj), descend from a son of Ban Gruda
  • Lulanaj (branch)
  • Krkanaj, descend from a son of Ban Gruda

Gilaj, Brothers of Berishaj


Gruda is mostly Roman Catholic, with a sizable Muslim minority (20-30%) which mostly live in Tuzi and the villages of Milesh and Dinosha. 7-8 generations ago the Muslim Albanians ancestors were Roman Catholic till the conversion to Islam from the Ottoman Turks. The Gruda Church (alb. Kisha e Grudës having been built in 1528) in the town of Priftën, Shn'Mhillit St. Michael is the oldest church in the region Milesh what is said over 1000 years; and it is not only an Albanian landmark, but its construction provides the most concrete reference date from which ethnic Albanians in the area trace their ancestry.[4][better source needed]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ a b Robert Elsie (19 March 2010). Historical Dictionary of Albania. Scarecrow Press. p. 177. ISBN 978-0-8108-7380-3. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  3. ^ Gjonlekaj, Gjoleke. "Life of Ded Gjo Luli" (in Albanian). Nikolle Lesi, Koha Jone. Retrieved 3 August 2010. 
  4. ^ Durham, Edith. High Albania. London: Edward Arnold, 1909. (Chapter III).
  5. ^

External links[edit]