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The community is at the centre of the Theth National Park, an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Local tradition asserts a single common ancestor for the community (one Ded Nika) and suggests that the population moved to Theth some 300 to 350 years ago in order to preserve their (Catholic) Christian traditions.
Visiting Theth in the early 20th century, the traveller Edith Durham said:
I think no place where human beings live has given me such an impression of majestic isolation from all the world.
Durham described Theth as a "bariak" of some 180 houses and also observed that it was almost free from the tradition of blood feud (known in the Albanian language as Gjakmarrja) which so blighted other parts of the Albanian highlands.
Theth remains remote. It is most easily accessible by a 25 km unmade road from the village of Boga which is impassable during the winter months and is not generally suitable at any time of the year for motor vehicles without off-road capabilities.
Although the Kanun (traditional Albanian law) remains influential, Theth has not suffered from the recent (post-Communist) reappearance of the blood feud which has troubled other areas of Northern Albania. Ironically, Theth boasts one of the very few remaining "lock-in towers", an historical form of protection for families that were "in blood".
Depopulation represents a serious long-term challenge for the community. The population has been greatly reduced over the past few decades and the majority of those remaining occupy Theth only during the summer months. However, the community has a nine-grade school and recent efforts have been made to stimulate tourism. A number of local families offer board and lodging to visitors who come to Theth to hike in the National Park - or merely to admire the mountain scenery.
A Balkans Peace Park Project is working towards the creation of a park extending across the borders of Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo[a] and has taken a lead in recent years in encouraging sustainable and ecologically sensitive tourism in and around Theth (for example by funding the marking of footpaths).
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^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Kosovo. The latter declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. Kosovo's independence has been recognised by 108 out of 193 United Nations member states.
- "Location of Theth". Retrieved 2010-06-20.
- Antonia Young, Ethnographic Report (Shala Valley Project, December 2005)
- Edith Durham, High Albania (London, Edward Arnold, 1909; republished by the Echo Library, 2009), at page 82
- Gillian Gloyer, The Bradt Travel Guide to Albania (Bradt Travel Guides, Chalfont St Peter, 3rd edition, 2008), at pages 166-174
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