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Borsh (Borë(snow)+ Shi(rain) is a maritime village, in the Albanian Riviera, in the former Lukovë municipality, Vlorë County, Albania, At the 2015 local government reform it became part of the municipality Himarë. The village is inhabited by Muslim Albanians who speak the Lab dialect of Albanian.
The region which Borshi is located was part of the Chaonia of the ancient region of Epirus. The castle remained in use in Roman times and was refortified by the Emperor Justinian in the sixth century. Nothing is known of the settlement in the Byzantine era, until it is mentioned as Sopotos in 1258 when it was part of the Despotate of Epirus tha grew out of the failing Byzantine empire. Borsh then went through a period of considerable turmoil, changing hands several times between the Despotate of Epirus and Norman crusades invaders before being taken by the Turks in 1431.
Fifty years later it was captured by Albanians led by Skenderbeg, but was retaken by the Turks only eleven years later and heavily refortified. On June 10, 1570 the castle of Sopot was taken by James Celsi, Proveditor of the Venetian navy, who left after leaving in charge the Greek commander of Nauplion, Emmanuel Mormoris. This also triggered part of the nearby Himariotes to submit to Venetian rule. The next year the Ottoman army recaptured it and took Mormori as a prisoner.
The 18th century was a turbulent economic time and due to Orthodox revolts and conflicts with Orthodox powers such as the Russian Empire, Ottoman governors at times applied pressures including drastic tax raises on the local Christian population as well as other pressures caused towns to convert. Borsh converted in 1744 and followed it up by raiding nearby Piqeras, which remained Christian.
The fortress was renovated again by Ali Pasha Tepelena, and it is these fortifications that visitors can view by taking the half-hour walk up to the ‘castle rock’ the limestone mount clearly visible above the old village. During Ali pasha’s reign there were 700 houses at Borsh, and below the castle mount you can see a ruined mosque and madrese (a Muslim theological school), both of which were damaged in Ali Pasha’s wars but survived, only to be destroyed by fighting after 1912 when the Turks left the region.
Between 1912 and 1914 serious inter-ethnic conflict took place between Greeks and Albanians, and significant portion of the old village was destroyed, however some fine buildings remain. Modern Borsh was built after that, but became seriously depopulated, first due to malaria, and following severe reprisal killings by Germans in WW2 however, depopulation was balanced by an influx of refugees from Vlora, fleeing into partisan territory from the city which was heavily contested until late in the war.
The village is very stable and growing in prosperity thanks to tourism and olive oil production. The thing that makes Borsh very popular is its beach, which is the largest beach in Ionian sea (7 km).
The tourism has begun to develop a lot thanks to village's beauty and thanks to its friendly people. Continuing in this way Borsh will become soon the best destination for tourists in the South of Albania.
The Lab dialect spoken in Borsh was reported by Albanian linguist M Totoni to possess nasal vowels, a characteristic that was previously thought to have been the diagnostic difference between the major Tosk and Gheg divisions, whereby Tosk dialects such as Borsh's lab dialect were previously thought to have all lost nasal vowels when they split from Gheg dialects, which retained the nasality feature.
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