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Stema e Bashkisë Tepelenë.svg
Tepelenë is located in Albania
Coordinates: 40°18′N 20°1′E / 40.300°N 20.017°E / 40.300; 20.017
Country Albania
 • MayorTërmet Peçi (PS)
 • Municipality431.50 km2 (166.60 sq mi)
 • Municipality
 • Municipality density21/km2 (54/sq mi)
 • Municipal unit
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal Code
Area Code(0)814
WebsiteOfficial Website

Tepelenë (Aromanian: Tepelena; definite Albanian form: Tepelena) is a city and a municipality in Gjirokastër County, in the south of Albania. The town is located on the left bank of the Vjosa River,[1] about three kilometres downstream from its union with the Drino.

Until the abolition of Districts in 2000, Tepelenë was the seat of the Tepelenë District. Its location is strategically important and there is a ruined citadel occupying a point 300 metres above the river. Ali Pasha of Tepelenë was born at the nearby village of Beçisht. In 1847, the British writer Edward Lear visited the town and noted the devastated buildings.


Tepelenë in April 1857 by Edward Lear.

The Byzantines built a defensive tower which was successively developed during the Ottoman Empire epoch in the 15th century and by Ali Pasha in the early 19th century.

The Young Turk revolutionaries met in Tepelenë in February 1909, in an attempt to persuade Albanian nationalists to join them.[2]

In 1920, an earthquake severely damaged the town which was completely rebuilt afterwards. Local tradition says that if Tepelenë exceeds 100 buildings it will be destroyed. In the same year, 400 Italian soldiers surrendered to the Albanians during the Battle of Vlora.

On 7 April 1939, Italian forces landed in Albania and took control of the country and Tepelenë in the beginning of World War II.[3] After the Italian invasion of Greece in October 1940 failed, the Albanian troops in Tepelenë under the command of Colonel Prenk Pervizi deserted the Italian army. The colonel protested by telling the Italian command that the Albanians were not cannon fodder.[4] As a consequence, Colonel Pervizi as well as other officers and Albanian troops were transferred into the mountains of northern Albania and isolated there.

Greek forces counter-attacked and advanced towards Tepelenë in a general offensive on Vlorë. Despite several attacks and assistance for the Greeks by the British Royal Air Force, the Italians managed to hold the town and in late April 1941, following the German invasion of Yugoslavia, the Greek army was forced to withdraw.[5]

Later, the post-war Communist regime converted the local Italian army camp into a forced labour camp, referred to as the "Albanian Belsen" due to the levels of brutality and disease seen there. Among those detained were influential Albanian families which the Communist regime wanted to annihilate. Many died and their graves were concealed[6] by plowing the land and sowing rye at the burial spot. The camp was closed in 1954. At one point a cholera epidemic killed many inmates.[7]

In the 1997 unrest in Albania, Tepelenë became a focal point for the uprising against Sali Berisha's government. A people's committee took charge of the town in March 1997 and released opposition politician Fatos Nano from the local prison. The movement spread immediately to Gjirokastër where weapons were distributed from Tepelenë.


The Vjosa river upstream from the city of Tepelenë.

Tepelenë is located on the left shore of the Vjosa River on a plateau above the river. The river applies here, after the river has broken through a few kilometres in the Këlcyrë Gorge a mountain chain, to the North. In addition the Drino flows at this point. North of Tepelenë, the Bënça river coming from the south-west from the Kurvelesh flows into the Vjosa.

Tepelenë was formed at the 2015 local government reform by the merger of the former municipalities Kurvelesh, Lopës, Qendër Tepelenë and Tepelenë, that became municipal units. The seat of the municipality is the town Tepelenë.[8]


The total population of the city is 8,949 (2011 census),[9] in a total area of 431.50 km2.[10] The population of the former municipality at the 2011 census was 4,342.[9]


The new SH4 between Fier and Tepelenë.

The local mineral water plant is an important and successful local enterprise.


Thanks to its location at the confluence of two valleys, Tepelena has always been an important traffic hub in southern Albania. The National Road 4 (SH4), from Fier to Gjirokastër, continues through Tepelenë.


The fortress of Tepelena on the Vjosa River depicted by Edward Lear in 1848.


The local football club is SK Tepelena.

Notable people[edit]

Monument of Ali Pasha.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Tepelene". travelsradiate: travelsradiate.com. Retrieved Jan 24, 2011.
  2. ^ Pearson, Owen (2004). Albania in the Twentieth Century, A History: Volume I: Albania and King Zog, 1908-39. I. B. Tauris. pp. 5–8. ISBN 1845110137. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  3. ^ Piero Crociani, "Gli albanesi nelle forze armate italiane, Roma 2001".
  4. ^ Pjeter Hidri, "The General Prenk Pervizi, Toena, Tirana, 2002.
  5. ^ Pearson, Owen (2006). Albania in Occupation and War: From Fascism to Communism 1940-1945. pp. 102–143. ISBN 1-84511-104-4. Retrieved 19 March 2010.
  6. ^ Lek Pervizi, "Ankimi i Zanave, (poetry), Arberia, Tirana, 2002.
  7. ^ Gjuliana Malaj, "Une Beba, qe u futa ne camp kater muajshe e dola 42 vjeçe, Panorama, Tirana, 25 october 2012.
  8. ^ Law nr. 115/2014 Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ a b "Population and housing census - Gjirokastër 2011" (PDF). INSTAT. Retrieved 2019-09-25.
  10. ^ "Correspondence table LAU – NUTS 2016, EU-28 and EFTA / available Candidate Countries" (XLS). Eurostat. Retrieved 2019-09-25.
  • Blue Guide to Albania and Kosovo from Zoitsa Vasi, James Pettifer, A&C Black, London, 2001
  • Albania in the Twentieth Century, A History: Volume I: Albania and King Zog, 1908-39 , Owen Pearson,I. B. Tauris,2004