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Theth (definite Albanian form: Thethi) is a community in the former Shalë municipality, Shkodër County, northern Albania. At the 2015 local government reform it became part of the municipality Shkodër. 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.
There are now two projects working in the vicinity, aiming at improving and helping the tourist infrastructure in the area. A Balkans Peace Park Project is working towards the creation of a park extending across the borders of Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo 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). Project Albanian Challenge has built a new bridge, which connects Theth to the nearby Grunas waterfalls over river Nanrreth. The project has also improved the marking of the trail to Curraj i Epërm, and has marked another approx. 80 kilometers of brand new trails in the nearby valleys, and created an opensource, free map of the area.
Thethi National Park
|Theth National Park|
Maja Arapit Peak
Theth National Park (Albanian:Parku Kombëtar i Thethit) is a national park in extreme northern Albania declared by government decree in 1966. It covers an area of 2,630 hectares and is located along the Theth River. The main attractions in the park are the Grunas Waterfall and the Lock-in Tower.
Adjacent Valbonë Valley National Park was declared as such in 1996. It is proposed that the two parks, along with the areas in Montenegro and Kosovo[a] form a tri-border Bjeshket e Nemuna National Park.
Notes and references
|a.||^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the Brussels Agreement. Kosovo has been recognised as an independent state by 109 out of 193 United Nations member states.|
- "Location of Theth". Retrieved 2010-06-20.
- Law nr. 115/2014
- 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
- "Albanian Challenge Project". Albanian Challenge. Retrieved 2015-11-18.
- Thethi-Guide. "Historia e Parkut Kombetar Theth" (in Albanian). Retrieved 28 July 2010.
- Albanian National Agency of Tourism. "Valbona Valley National Park" (in Albanian). Retrieved 28 July 2010.[dead link][dead link]
- Sulejmani, Edlira. "Bashkepunimi rajonal bisedime per nje park kombetar shqiptaro-kosovaro-malazez". Alsattv (in Albanian). Archived from the original on September 3, 2011. Retrieved 28 July 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Theth.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Thethi.|