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Not to be confused with Albanian white fez.

The qeleshe or plis (pl. qeleshja or plisi, known in Slavic as keče) is a white brimless felt cap traditionally worn by the northern Albanian highlanders. It spread throughout Albanian-inhabited territories in the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century, and is today part of the traditional costume of Kosovo Albanians.

The cloth is thought to originate from a similar cap worn by the Illyrians.[1][2] It resembles the older Greek pileus or pilos (πῖλος, felt), which was a brimless version of the older petasos (Greek sun hat). The name qeleshe comes from the Albanian word for wool (lesh).

The cap is part of the traditional costume of the northern Albanian highlands.[3][4] It spread to other Albanian-inhabited territories in the 19th century.

In the northern Albanian highlands, the shape is hemispherical, while in Kukës, it is truncated.[5] In southern Albania, the cap is taller than in northern Albania, especially in the Gjirokastër and Vlorë regions, with the exception of the Myzeqe low plains region. In some areas of southern Albania the cap has a small protrusion. The cap is made from one single piece of woolen felt, usually white, that is molded to the shape of the head.[5]

Albanian souvenirs are best found in Krujë, where the bazaar includes traditional felt-makers, who also produce the felt caps.[6] The cap is used by men during the traditional weddings of the Tirana region.[7]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stipčević, Aleksandar (1977). The Illyrians: History and Culture. History and Culture Series. Noyes Press. p. 89. ISBN 0815550529. It is generally agreed, and rightly so, that the modern Albanian cap originates directly from the similar cap worn by the Illyrians. 
  2. ^ Recherches albanologiques: Folklore et ethnologie. Instituti Albanologijik i Prishtinës. 1982. p. 52. Retrieved 14 April 2013. Ne kuadrin e veshjeve me përkime ilire, të dokumentuara gjer më tani hyjnë tirqit, plisi, qeleshja e bardhë gjysmësferike, goxhufi-gëzofi etj 
  3. ^ Andromaqi Gjergji (2004). Albanian Costumes Through the Centuries: Origin, Types, Evolution. Acad. of Sciences of Albania, Inst. of Folc Culture. ISBN 978-99943-614-4-1. 
  4. ^ Richard C. Hall (9 October 2014). War in the Balkans: An Encyclopedic History from the Fall of the Ottoman Empire to the Breakup of Yugoslavia. ABC-CLIO. pp. 288–. ISBN 978-1-61069-031-7. 
  5. ^ a b Nagel (1990). Albania. Nagel Publishers. p. 62. ISBN 978-2-8263-0827-0. Retrieved 14 April 2013. The qeleshe, the white felt cap worn by men, was a distinctively Albanian type of headgear both within the country and beyond its frontiers" [...] "Among the mountain people of the north it was hemispherical in form; at Kukés in the form of a truncated cone 
  6. ^ Gillian Gloyer (2012). Bradt Albania. Bradt Travel Guides. p. 49. ISBN 978-1-84162-387-0. Retrieved 14 April 2013. The best place in Albania to shop for souvenirs is Kruja, where all the shops are close together in the bazaar. There are traditional felt-makers, who produce slippers and the felt caps called qeleshe 
  7. ^ Vaqarri, Sabina (2010). "TRADICIONALITET DHE RISI NE DASMËN TIRANASE". Albanological Research - Folklore and Ethnology Series (40): 313–322.