Macedonians of Albania

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Macedonians of Albania
Македонци во Албанија
Makedonci vo Albanija
Total population
5.512 (official census 2011)[1]- (120,000 to 350,000, according to the Association of Macedonians in Albania[2])
Regions with significant populations
Mala Prespa, Golo Brdo, Korce, Bilisht
Macedonian, Albanian
Predominantly Macedonian Orthodox, Islam
Related ethnic groups

Macedonians of Albania (Macedonian: Македонци во Албанија, Makedonci vo Albanija; Albanian: Maqedonasit në Shqipëri) are an officially recognized ethnic minority in Albania.[3][4] According to the census of 2011, only 5.870 Macedonians live in Albania. However, before the census, the Macedonian organizations from Albania asked Macedonians to boycott the census because only in Mala Prespa the Macedonians were allowed to declare themselves as such,[5] In the 1989 census, 4,697[6] people had declared themselves Macedonian.

The condition of the Macedonian population living in the Prespa area is described in positive terms and particular praise is given since all the villages of the area have classes in their mother tongue.[7] Macedonian organizations allege that the government undercounts their number and that they are politically under-represented, arguing there are no Macedonians in the Albanian parliament.[8] Past Helsinki reports stated, "Albania recognizes [...] a Macedonian minority, but only in the Southern regions. Those who identify as Macedonians [...] outside these minority regions are denied the minority rights granted in the south, including minority classes at state schools." [9]

Areas inhabited by Macedonians[edit]

Most Macedonians live in the Mala Prespa, Golo Brdo, Debar Pole, Korča, Pogradec and Gora areas.[10]

Region of Mala Prespa[edit]

Map of Pustec Municipality.

Macedonians are only officially recognised as a minority population in Municipality of Pustec, on the shores of Lake Prespa. The following villages are inhabited by Macedonians:

Pustec is one of the biggest settlements populated with Macedonians

Region of Bilisht[edit]

Macedonians also inhabit the region to the South of Lake Prespa, known as Devoll. Many Macedonians can be found in Bilisht (Macedonian: Билишта, Bilišta) and in the village of Vernik (Macedonian: Врбник, Vrnik), which is the only Macedonian inhabited village in Albania considered to form a part of Aegean Macedonia. Macedonian populations can also be found in the villages of Sueci (Macedonian: Шуец, Šuec) and Zagradeci (Macedonian: Заградец, Zagradec).

Region of Korçë[edit]

A significant Macedonian population exists in the region of Korçë Macedonian: Корча, Korča, whilst in the vicinity of the city, in the villages of Boboshtice (Macedonian: Бобоштица, Boboštica) and Drenove (Macedonian: Дреново, Drenovo), the remnants of a much more numerous Macedonian speaking population can be found. The Korča dialect of Macedonian is used by the Macedonian inhabitants of this region.

Lake Ohrid Region[edit]

Macedonians can be found in the city of Pogradec[citation needed] Macedonian: Поградец as well as in the village of Lin (Macedonian: Лин), where they constitute the majority population. The Macedonians of Lin speak Vevčani-Radožda dialect of Macedonian.[11] To the north of Lin, the village of Rrajcë (Macedonian: Рајца, Rajca) is inhabited by Macedonian Muslims.

Region of Golo Brdo[edit]

Macedonians also form the majority population in the Golo Brdo (Macedonian: Голо Брдо, Golo Brdo) region. The majority of the inhabitants of Golo Brdo are Macedonian Muslims, however there are significant minorities of Orthodox Macedonians and Albanians.

Macedonian populations can be found in the following places:[citation needed]

Region of Dolno Pole[edit]

The area known as Dolno Pole (Macedonian: Долно Поле) is mainly the area surrounding the modern town of Peshkopi Macedonian: Пешкопија. Several mixed Orthodox-Macedonian, Muslim-Macedonian and Albanian villages can be found in this region. They include:

Region of Gora[edit]

Many inhabitants of the Gora Macedonian: Гора, Gora region are known as Torbeš, whose number has been estimated at c. 40,000 - 120,000.[14] External estimates on the population of Macedonians in Albania include 10,000,[15] whereas Macedonian sources have claimed 120,000 - 350,000 Macedonians in Albania [16][17]

Despite high levels of emigration the official number of people registering as Macedonians in Albania has more than doubled over the last 60 years:

  • 1950 - 2,273
  • 1955 - 3,341
  • 1960 - 4,235
  • 1979 - 4,097
  • 1989 - 4,697
  • 2011 - 5,870


There is a general high school in Pustec, one eight-year school in Dolna Gorica and six elementary schools in Djellas, Lajthize, Zaroshke, Gorna Gorica, Kallamas and Globočani. There are eight-year schools at the two biggest villages of the commune, Pustec and Gorice e Madhe, where 20 percent of the texts are held at the mother tongue language. At the centre of the commune there is a high school as well. The history of the Macedonian people is a special subject at the school. All minority schools have twin partnerships with counterparts in Macedonia.[18] All the teaching personnel is local and with the proper education.[19]

Macedonian organizations[edit]

In September 1991 the "Bratska" Political Association of Macedonian in Albania (BPAMA) was established. Other Macedonian organizations include Macedonian Alliance for European Integration, Macedonian Society Ilinden Tirana, Prespa, Mir (Peace), Bratstvo (Brotherhood) and the MED (Macedonian Aegean Society).[20] Ethnic Macedonian organization claim that 120.000 to 350,000 Macedonians live in Albania.[2]

In March 2012, Macedonians in Golo Brdo formed "Most" (Macedonian for "Bridge"). The organisation's president, Besnik Hasani said that the group's goal is to "be fighting for recognition of Macedonians in Golo Brdo by the Albanian state and the introduction of the Macedonian language in schools... Also, our task will be to prevent the Bulgarian propaganda and efforts of Bulgaria for the Bulgarisation of the Macedonians in Golo Brdo."[21]


The Macedonians in Albanian are represented by the Macedonian Alliance for European Integration (Macedonian: Македонска Алијанса за Европска Интеграција, Makedonska Alijansa za Evropska Integracija). In 2007 Edmond Temelko was elected to the position of Mayor of Pustec, and was reelected to this position in 2011, in which the party received ~2,500 votes. Edmond Osmani narrowly missed out being elected as Mayor of Trebište, however 5 Macedonian counsellors were elected in Pustec, 3 in Trebisht, 2 in Bilisht and another in Pirg.[22][dubious ]


The Macedonians in Albania are predominantly Macedonian Orthodox and Muslim. The Macedonian Muslims can be found primarily in the Golo Brdo, Gora and Peshkopi regions, with smaller populations in the South of the country in places such as Rajca, etc. There are however substantial Orthodox Macedonian minorities in both the Golo Brdo and Peshkopi regions. In the south of the country around Mala Prespa, Pogradec, Korce and Bilisht, the Macedonians are almost exclusively Orthodox.

The Community is currently in the process of building the first of many Macedonian Orthodox Churches.[23][24] The Church 'St. Michael the Archangel' was started in the early 2000s. A new church is that of Saint Mary for which a considerable funding has been given by the Macedonian Orthodox Church.[19]

Macedonian media[edit]


The local radio of Korçë broadcasts the Fote Nikola (Macedonian: Фоте Никола) program which comprises news bulletins and songs in Macedonian for the Macedonian minority in Albania for half an hour each day. On November 7, 2002 the first private Macedonian-language radio station was set up. It is known as "Radio Prespa".[18]


The local TV station has also released programs from the Republic of Macedonia.[25] In November, 2010, the first Macedonian television station, Television Kristal (Macedonian: Телевизија Кристал, Televisija Kristal), was officially launched.[26]

Print Media[edit]

Numerous forms of Macedonian language print media serve the needs of the Macedonians living in Albania. In the early 1990s the first Macedonian language periodical known as Mir (Peace) emerged. Later still the newspaper Prespa (Macedonian: Преспа, Prespa), began to be pubslished by Macedonians living in the Mala Prespa region.[27] The Macedonian newspaper 'Ilinden' was launched in April, 2011, by Macedonians living in Tirana.[28]

Representation in Government[edit]

At present there is no Macedonian in the Albanian Parliament. But many of the Local Government representatives are Macedonian. The mayor of Pustec is Edmond Vangjel Themelko according to 2007 local elections. He is a Macedonian. There are Macedonians represented in the districts of Zvezda and Gorna Gorica.[29]

2009 minority study[edit]

Regions where ethnic Macedonians live within Albania

In March 2009, the Commission for Minority Issues of the Foreign Ministry of Albania announced the results of its study about the national minorities in the country. According to the study, there are 4,148 Macedonians (0.14% of the total population) living in the country. The mayor of Pustec Edmond Temelko criticised the report and said that "this number once again proves that the Albanian Government denies the existence of the Macedonian minority". He stated that the population of Pustec, which is mainly populated by ethnic Macedonians, is even 5,300 and that the Macedonian minority in Albania makes up 150,000. The ethnic Macedonian organisations of Albania announced they will complain at Albanian institutions and international organisations.[30][31]

Notable Macedonians from Albania[edit]

  • Fote Nikola - editor-in-chief of the Macedonian programme of Radio Korce.
  • Kimet Fetahu - Macedonian activist in Albania and founder of Bratstvo organization.
  • Taki Grazhdani - president of Prespa organization.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Census 2011 Data: Resident population by ethnic and cultural affiliation". The Institute of Statistics of Republic of Albania. Retrieved 5 April 2014. 
  2. ^ a b World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Albania : Macedonians
  4. ^ Council of Europe 2004-2008
  5. ^ Only 0.2 % Macedonians live in Albania according to the Albanian authorities
  6. ^ Artan Hoxha and Alma Gurraj, "Local Self-Government and Decentralization: Case of Albania. History, Reforms and Challenges". In: Local Self Government and Decentralization in South - East Europe. Proceedings of the workshop held in Zagreb, Croatia. 6 April 2001. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Zagreb Office, Zagreb 2001, pp 194-224
  7. ^ Minority Rights in Albania, page 3 - Albanian Helsinki Committee, September 1999
  8. ^ Interview with Edmond Temelko, president of the Macedonian organization "Prespa" in Albania
  9. ^ Helsinki report
  10. ^ Official web page of the Macedonian Alliance
  11. ^ Hendricks, P. "The Radozda-Vevcani Dialect of Macedonian". Peter De Ridder Press, 1976, p. 3.
  12. ^ Distribution of the Macedonian minority in Albania
  13. ^ Macedonians in Trebiste
  14. ^ M. Apostolov, "The Pomaks: A Religious Minority in The Balkans", (1996)
  15. ^ Landesinformationen: AlbINFO by
  16. ^ 2003 OSCE - Macedonian Minority in Albania
  17. ^ Jakim Sinadinovski, Macedonian Muslims, Then and Now
  18. ^ a b U.S.ENGLISH Foundation Official Language Research - Albania: Language in everyday life
  19. ^ a b
  20. ^ The Macedonian Minority in Albania
  21. ^ "Формирано македонско друштво "Мост" во Голо Брдо". Makfax (in Macedonian). 2 March 2012. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  22. ^ The Macedonian Alliance did not elect a second mayor
  23. ^ Macedonians in Albania
  24. ^ Minority Rights in Albania, Albanian Helsinki Committee, September 1999
  25. ^ Under the direct auspices of the Albanian Helsinki Committee, from September 1999 to September 2000, an intensive work was carried out for the realization of the project "On the status of the minorities in the Republic of Albania". This project was financed by the Finnish Foundation 'KIOS', "Finnish NGO Foundation for Human Rights"
  26. ^ TV Kristal, the First Macedonian Television station in Albania
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ Makedonski Icelenuchki Almanac '97, Matitsa na Icelenitsite od Makedonija; Skopje: 1997; p.60-61
  30. ^ Večer Online
  31. ^ Dnevnik newspaper

External links[edit]