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Lunxhëri (Albanian: Lunxhëri; Greek: Λιούντζη) is a region in the Gjirokastër County, Albania.

It is considered an ethnographic region along with neighboring regions such as Kurvelesh, Zagoria, and so on, considered part of the much larger ethnographic region of Labëria.[1] Its population is sometimes said to not be completely "Lab" however, by some, because the core area of Lab identity is the area around Kurvelesh and Tepelena.


Apart from the Lunxhëri municipality, Lunxhëri traditionally incorporates a wider region that extends from Hormovë west, Gryka e Suhës south, the crest of Mount Lunxhëri east, and the valley of the Drino west. It includes the villages of Lunxhëri municipality, Odrie municipality, Antigonë municipality, Selckë from the Pogon municipality, Labovë e Kryqit which administratively belongs to Libohovë municipality, and villages of Lekël and Hormovë which administratively belong to Tepelenë District.[2][3] The region has some rivers and streams: Përroi i Dhoksatit, Perroi i Mingulit, Përroi i Qestoratit, and the river of Nimica. Additionally there are archeological sites near Këllez, Dhoksat, Erind as well the ancient Greek city,[4] of Antigonia, today a National Park.[5]

Lunxhëri has a very complex social history. The area has been characterized by frequent immigration during the late centuries. Its inhabitants have always thrived as politicians, merchants, doctors, benefactors, scholars, etc., giving immense contributions to the history of Albania and Greece. Although most of the locals that migrated to other regions declared themselves as Greeks, at the same time, the majority of the population in the end of the 19th century spoke Albanian.[6] In the same context, people like Koto Hoxhi and Pandeli Sotiri were pro-Albanian and part of the elite of Rilindas,[6] while Christakis Zografos, Evangelos Zappas and especially Georgios Zografos (head of the Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus), supported the Greek national ideas. However, the majority of the locals where between this two extreme points.[7] There is also a Vlach minority which was brought by the communist regime after the World War II.[6] During World War I and the interwar period, many families, both of pro-Albanian and pro-Greek left the area.[8] After Lunxhëria's firm incorporation into the Albanian state and the departure or marginalization of many of the strongest pro-Greek ("filogrek") families, a strong Albanian national feeling paired with a strong regional identity took hold. Lunxhots express their pride to be Albanian by asserting that they are the truest Albanians of the area, as opposed to on one hand to members of the Greek and Vlach ethnic minorities who are of non-Albanian ethnicity and suspicious loyalties, and on the other to the ethnically Albanian Muslim migrants from Kurvelesh, who are asserted to have abandoned their Orthodox faith and therefore become "Turks", as opposed to the Albanian Orthodox who are said to have better preserved their Albanian culture.[9]
The region was very active during World War II by joining mainly the communist partisan forces. Misto Mame and Mihal Duri are the most known heroes of that period.
Many families have emigrated after 1990, leading to a decrease in population.[10][11]
Today, the population of Lunxhëri is perceived as three main groups:[6]

  • the Lunxhots, who call themselves "ethnic Lunxhots" or "autoktonë" and are called "villagers" (fshatarë) by others
  • the Vlach settlers, who call themselves "çoban" or Greek-Vlachs, and are considered as newcomers (të ardhur), after World War II. Despite being officially the same religion as the Orthodox Albanian autochthones of Lunxhëria, the native Albanians of Lunxhëria sometimes refer to them as being of a different fe (religion) and are reluctant to marry, or to let their children marry, Vlachs.[12] Almost all of them come ultimately in Ottoman times from the village of Kefalovrisso (known as Mexhidë in Albanian), now located in Northwest Greece. In modern times, Vlachs were the first group in Lunxhëria to emigrate to Greece.[13]
  • the settlers from Labëria region (beside Erind who claim to be autochtone), settling in throughout all 20th century.

Marriages between all local groups are fairly common, as well as between the Christian local communities and Greek villagers of Gjirokastër areas.[6]


The population is of Orthodox religion majority, with Lab families being a Muslim minority.[3] The so-called "autoktonë" families are completely Orthodox, beside Erind.

Orthodox church in Labova e Kryqit

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Traditional costumes[edit]

Traditional music[edit]

  • Pjergulla në lis të thatë
  • Lunxheri Plot Lezete

"Odria" newspaper[edit]

Ethnocultural books[edit]


  1. ^ De Rapper, Gilles. "Better than Muslims, not as good as Greeks". page 6: "Lunxhëri is thus an ‘ethnographic region (krahinë etnografike) surrounded by others, namely Zagori, Pogon, Dropull and Kurvelesh,and a part of the larger ethno-linguistic unit called Labëri."
  2. ^ Malo, Foto, Emra vendesh në krahinën e Lunxhërisë (Toponyms in Lunxhëri region) (in Albanian), Tribuna, retrieved 2013-08-29 
  3. ^ a b King, Russell; Mai, Nicola; Schwandner-Sievers, Stephanie (February 1, 2005). The New Albanian Migration. Sussex Academic Press. p. 180. ISBN 978-1903900789. 
  4. ^ Winnifrith, ed. by Tom (1992). Perspectives on Albania. Basingstoke, Hampshire [u.a.]: Macmillan. p. 37. ISBN 978-0333512821. 
  5. ^ Antigonea Archaeological Park website
  6. ^ a b c d e King, Russell; Mai, Nicola; Schwandner-Sievers, Stephanie (February 1, 2005). The New Albanian Migration. Sussex Academic Press. p. 175; 180. ISBN 978-1903900789. 
  7. ^ p.10 On the other hand were those who insisted on the Greekness of the Lunxhots and were opposed to the development of an Albanian national identity among the Christians. We recall here the names of the famous Christodoulos (1820-1898) and Jorgos (1863-1920) Zografos – the latter having been the head of the Government of Autonomous Northern Epirus in Gjirokastër during the First World War – and of Vangelis Zappas (or Vangjel Zhapa, 1800-1865), all of them from Lunxhëri (Qestorat and Labovë e Zhapës). ...
  8. ^ p.10 These fluid identities were to be crystallised at the time of the creation of the Albanian state (1913) and during the process of Albanisation that followed. Lunxhëri was actually included in the definition of Northern Epirus as a land of Hellenism that should have been given to the Greek state in 1913, and many families left the area, and Albania,during and after the First World War, to avoid becoming citizens of the new Albanian state. These people are called in Albanian propaganda filogrek and seem to have been powerful enough at some times to force pro-Albanian families to leave Lunxhëri...
  9. ^ De Rapper, Gilles. "Better than Muslims, not as good as Greeks", page 12: "not only are the Lunxhots ethnically and nationally Albanian, as opposed to the Greeks and Vlachs, they are even supposed to be the only true Albanians of the area, as opposed to the Muslims of Labëria who are seen as having abandoned their religion to become ‘Turks’ and, in so doing, have betrayed."
  10. ^ Emigrantët, riintegrim në vendlindje (Diaspora, re-integration in the homeland) (in Albanian),, 2012-03-27, retrieved 2013-11-09 
  11. ^ Lunxheria e braktisur (Abandoned Lunxheri) (YouTube) (in Albanian). Top-Channel. 8 July 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-09. 
  12. ^ De Rapper, Gilles, "Better than Muslims, not as good as Greeks" page 9-10: "The Vlachs are often said by the Lunxhots to be of another fe, although they are both Orthodox Christians and go to the same churches. The feeling of otherness that characterises so strongly the relation between Vlachs and Lunxhots is thus expressed in term of religious communities; at the same time, the definition of Vlachs as another fe justifies the reluctance for intermarriage with them as well as a lack of trust and sympathy."
  13. ^ De Rapper, page 5
  14. ^
  15. ^ Thanas Nano (1979). Shtypi i lujtës nacional çlirimtare, 1941-1944 (National Liberation War Press, 1941-1944 (in Albanian). Shtëpia Botuese "8 Nëntori". OCLC 181774265. 
  16. ^ Owen Pearson (Apr 3, 2007). Albania in the Twentieth Century, A History: Volume III: Albania as Dictatorship and Democracy, 1945-99. I. B. Tauris. p. 336. ISBN 978-1845111052. 
  17. ^ Miltiadh Muci (August 2009), "Janko Poga, komandanti i artilerisë së Pashallëkut të Janinës (Janko Poga, Chief of Artillery of Pashalik of Yanina)", Gazeta Odria (in Albanian), "Odrie-Golik" Organization, 51 
  18. ^ Kraja, Musa (2002). Bijë të Lunxhërisë për arsimin shqiptar : Pandeli dhe Koto Sotiri [Distinguished Lunxheri's sons for Albanian education] (in Albanian). Tirana. OCLC 163382713. Retrieved 2013-11-09. 
  19. ^ a b '"Nga vizita e Kryeministrit Fatos Nano ne Qarkun e Gjirokastres (from the visit which Prime Minister of Albania, Fatos Nano, held in Gjirokastër region) (in Albanian), Albanian Council of Ministers, 2003-05-17, retrieved 2013-09-07 
  20. ^ Promemoria për Enverin në ‘45: Dhunimi i pronës private, vetëvrasje [Memorandum to Enver in 1945, violation of private property, suicide] (in Albanian), Gazeta Panorama Online, June 5, 2012, retrieved 2013-09-14 
  21. ^ Si u persekutua drejtori i parë i Bankës pas ’45-s, miku i Ajnshtajnit [How the first Governor of Bank of Albania, Einstein's friend, got persecuted] (in Albanian), Gazeta Metropol, retrieved 2013-09-14 
  22. ^ Enkelejda Riza - Albanian Telegraphic Agency (1999-01-23), Father Gjergj Suli - Martyr of Albanian Autochephalous Orthodox Church - portrait, HRI-NET, retrieved 2013-09-14 
  23. ^ KUSH KA BËRË MË SHUMË TË MIRA SE VANGJEL E KOSTANDIN ZHAPA? [Who has done more philanthropy than Vangjel and Kostandin Zhapa?], 58, Gazeta "Odria", Gjithashtu, Vangjel Zhapa financoi për përgatitjen e hierarkisë fetare, të klerikëve e priftërinjve që shërbenin në kisha e manastire, nga ku kanë përfituar familjet,Haxhiu, Toti, Papa Kosta, Papa Leonidha Duka si dhe At Gjergj Suli nga fshati Lekel etj. [Also, Vangeli Zhapa funded the preparation of the religious hierarchy, the clergy and priests who ministered in churches and monasteries, in benefit of families: Haxhiu, Toti, Papa Kosta, Papa Leonidha Duka, and Father George Suli from the village of Lekel etc..] [dead link]
  24. ^ Julius Millingen (1831), "5", Memoirs of the Affairs of Greece, retrieved 2013-09-24