Congress of Manastir

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The core commission of the Congress:
1. Father Gjergj Fishta 2. Mid'hat Fashëri 3. Luigj Gurakuqi 4. Gjergj Qiriazi 5. Ndre Mjedja 6. G. Cilka 7. Taqi Buda 8. Shahin Kolonja 9. Sotir Peçi 10. Bajo Topulli 11. Nyzhet Vrioni
Photo by Kel Marubi.

The Congress of Manastir (Albanian: Kongresi i Manastirit) was an academic conference held in the city of Manastir (Bitola) from November 14 to November 22, 1908, with the goal of standardizing the Albanian alphabet. November 22 is now a commemorative day in Albania, Kosovo, and the Republic of Macedonia, as well as among the Albanian diaspora, known as Alphabet Day (Albanian: Dita e Alfabetit).[1][2] Prior to the Congress, the Albanian language was represented by a combination of six distinct alphabets, plus a number of sub-variants.[3]


The first Albanian language school, founded in 1887 in Korçë. The picture is from 1899.

The congress was held by the Union Association (Albanian language: Bashkimi) literary society at the house of Fehim Zavalani, which served as the place of the Union. The participants in the Congress were prominent figures of the cultural and political life from Albanian-inhabited territories in the Balkans, as well as throughout the Albanian diaspora in places such as Bucharest, Sofia, Sicily, and Boston. There were fifty delegates, representing twenty-three Albanian-inhabited cities, towns, and cultural and patriotic associations of whom thirty-two had voting rights in the congress, and eighteen were observers. Among prominent delegates were Gjergj Fishta, Ndre Mjeda, Mit'hat Frashëri, Sotir Peçi, Shahin Kolonja, and Gjergj D. Qiriazi. Zavalani, held the introductory speech led the congress. Other delegates of the congress from the family included Izet Zavalani, delegate of Florina and Gjergj Zavalani.[3]


The delegates decided that the Albanian alphabet and its orthography should be as phonemic as possible. Three distinct alphabets were proposed: the Stamboll alphabet, the Bashkimi (English: "Union") alphabet proposed by the Union Association, and the Agimi (English: "Dawn") alphabet. After the presentation of the three alphabets, the delegates voted unanimously for the use of the modified Bashkimi alphabet as the standard Albanian alphabet.[4] Both the Bashkimi and the Agimi alphabet were based on the Latin alphabet; the Stamboll alphabet was based on the alphabet used officially in the Ottoman Empire and contained mostly Latin characters, supplemented by ten improvised symbols.[5]

Facsimile of Final Decision of the Congress


The congress represents one of the most important dates of Albanian culture,[6] and the biggest event for the Albanian people after the League of Prizren, not only because of the decisions taken, but because those decisions would be legally implemented by the Ottoman authorities.[7] In 2008 festivities were organized in Bitola, Tirana and Pristina to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the congress. In Albania, Kosovo and Albanian-majority areas in Macedonia in all schools the first teaching hour was dedicated to honour the Congress and give more information to the students about it.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Në Maqedoni festohet Dita e Alfabetit [Alphabet Day celebrated in Macedonia] (in Albanian),, 2012-11-22, retrieved 2013-09-24 
  2. ^ The message of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci on the event if the 103rd anniversary of the session of the Congress of Manastir on November 14, 1908, Kosovo Prime Minister's Office, November 2011, retrieved 2013-09-24 
  3. ^ a b Frances Trix (1997), Alphabet conflict in the Balkans: Albanian and the Congress of Monastir, 128, International Journal of the Sociology of Language, pp. 1–24, ISSN 0165-2516 
  4. ^ David Turnock (December 22, 1988). Eastern Europe: An Historical Geography, 1815–1945 (1 ed.). Routledge. p. 53. ISBN 978-0415012690. Retrieved 2013-09-24. 
  5. ^ Jacques, Edwin E. (1995). The Albanians: an ethnic history from prehistoric times to the present. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 289. ISBN 0-89950-932-0. 
  6. ^ "Six successful years of SEEU". South Eastern European University. Archived from the original on 2008-05-27. Retrieved 2008-11-20. 
  7. ^ Mustafa, Avzi (2014-03-19), Kongresi i dytë i Manastirit [Second Congress of Monastir] (in Albanian), Dielli, Kongresi i parë i Manastirit, pas Lidhjes së Prizrenit, ishte ngjarja më e madhe e popullit shqiptar, që u hapi rrugën jo vetëm të kërkesave legjitime të shqiptarëve, por që edhe ato kërkesa të realizohen në mënyrë legale dhe të jenë të lejuara nga qeveria e Sulltanit përmes rrugës parlamentare. translated
    First Congress of Monastir, after the League of Prizren, was the biggest event for the Albanian people, which not only opened the path to the legitimate demands of the Albanians, but those demands to come implemented pretty soon in a legal way by the Sultan's government through parliamentary channels


  • Osmani, Tomor (1999). "Historia e alfabetit" [History of the Alphabet]. Udha e shkronjave shqipe [The Pathway of the Albanian Letters] (in Albanian). pp. 461–496. 
  • Lloshi, Xhevat (2008). Rreth Alfabetit te Shqipes [About the Albanian Alphabet]. Logos. 

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