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Coordinates: 40°31′N 20°35′E / 40.517°N 20.583°E / 40.517; 20.583
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Vithkuq is located in Albania
Coordinates: 40°31′N 20°35′E / 40.517°N 20.583°E / 40.517; 20.583
Country Albania
 • Municipal unit
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal Code
Area Code(0)864

Vithkuq (Albanian pronunciation: [viθˈkuc]) is a village and a former municipality in the Korçë County, southeastern Albania. At the 2015 local government reform it became a subdivision of the municipality Korçë.[1] The population at the 2011 census was 1,519.[2] The municipal unit consists of the villages Vithkuq, Leshnje, Gjanc, Lubonjë, Rehovë, Roshanj, Trebickë, Grabockë, Treskë, Stratobërdh, Panarit, Shtyllë and Cemericë.[3]

The village gave its name to a particular Albanian alphabetic script, the Vithkuqi script.[4]


The place name Vithkuqi (variant Bythkuqi) means "red butt" in Albanian. It is a compound of two Albanian words: bythë and vithë are dialectal forms of the word "butt"; kuqi means "red".[4]


The history of Vithkuqi is known immediately after the fall of Constantinople, although other data about the village existed also before that event. The first reference about this settlement dates back to the Byzantine period. According to the tradition the first church in Vithkuqi, dedicated to St. Athanasios, dates from the year 1162. An account of the teacher from Moschopolis, Skenderis, which reports that Vithkuq was built before Moschopolis, implies a construction before the year 1330. Efthim K Mitko recorded on a 19th century report about Korça for the French consul of Thessaloniki that Vithkuq had 8 thousand inhabitants at the time of the fall of Constantinople.[5]

Vithkuq was one of the seven villages located in the Korçë area that the Ottoman Albanian lord Ilias Bey Mirahori received in 1484 from the Sultan Bayezid II, as a reward for being the first equerry and conqueror of Psamathia in the Ottoman capture of Constantinople.[6] Vithkuq along with Leshja were accorded to Ilias Bey as mülk (land tenure). However he met difficulties while collecting the incomes and after twelve years these villages turned into their earlier status of timars.[6] Being subjected to the Kaza of Korça, the villages of Episkopi, Boboshtica, Leshnja and Vithkuq were used in 1505 as sources of income on behalf of the five institutions of Ilias Bey's vakfa.[7]

During the 17th-18th centuries Vithkuq became a local center of culture and trade, being on a strategic location on the Berat-Korçë road. In 1724[8] the residents of Vithkuq sponsored the foundation of the first Greek school in Korçë.[9] In the eighteenth century, Vithkuq was inhabited by Orthodox Albanians and by smaller numbers of Aromanians (Vlachs).[10]

From the end of 18th century, various factors turned Vithkuq into a small mountain village. By the late eighteenth century socio-political and economic crises alongside nominal Ottoman government control resulted in local banditry and Muslim Albanian bands raided Greek, Aromanian and Orthodox Albanian settlements located today within and outside contemporary Albania.[11][12][13][10][14] Vithkuq, mainly an Orthodox Albanian centre that had Greek literary, educational and religious culture was destroyed in addition to other settlements in the region.[11][15][13][10][14] Those events pushed some Orthodox Albanians and Aromanians from Vithkuq to migrate afar to places such as Macedonia, Thrace and so on.[14][16][15][13][17][10]

In 1792, Vithkuq was composed of the following neighborhoods: Borisha, Tataçi (of the Tatars), Llas, Qyrsa, Syrbashi, Krekasi (of the Greeks), Palasi, Kolaqerkasi, Kovaçasi, Saraçi, Rusasi (of the Russians), Dukasi, Dukates, Boris.[18][19] Vithkuq hosts several churches and monasteries that were built during its period of prosperity.[20][21][22]

In 1936, in Vithkuq was constructed the first hydroelectric plant of Albania.[23]

Panorama of Interior of the Church of Archangel Michael

World War II[edit]

On August 15, 1943, during World War II, the first storm brigade of the Albanian National Liberation Army was formed near Vithkuq under the command of Mehmet Shehu. Around 800 partisans took part in the following parade, which was attended by important members of the Albanian Communist party like Enver Hoxha and Mehmet Shehu.[24]

Contemporary times[edit]

In contemporary times Vithkuq is inhabited by Orthodox Albanians and an Aromanian population who were previously pastoral nomads that settled there after the settlement was abandoned by its earlier inhabitants.[10] as well as Muslim Albanians who have settled in it during communist times.[11] Vithkuq, known in Albania as being a traditionally Christian settlement is neighbours with various Muslim and Christian Albanian villages that surround it, although the latter have become "demographically depressed", due to migration.[11] During the communist period some Muslim Albanians from surrounding villages settled in Vithkuq making locals view the village population as mixed (i përzier) and lamenting the decline of the Christian element.[11][clarification needed]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "Law nr. 115/2014" (PDF) (in Albanian). pp. 6372–6373. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
  2. ^ "2011 census results" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2017-07-30.
  3. ^ Greece – Albania Neighbourhood Programme Archived March 27, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b Everson 2020, p. 3
  5. ^ Rembeci & Cunga 2019, p. 105.
  6. ^ a b Rembeci & Cunga 2019, pp. 105–106.
  7. ^ Rembeci & Cunga 2019, p. 106.
  8. ^ Basil Kondis. The Greeks of Northern Epirus and Greek-Albanian relations. Hestia, 1995, p. 9: ""The first school of the Hellenic type in Korytsa opened in 1724"
  9. ^ Καγιά, Έβις (2006). Το Ζήτημα της Εκπαίδευσης στην Ελληνική Μειονότητα και οι Δίγλωσσοι Μετανάστες Μαθητές στα Ελληνικά Ιδιωτκά Σχολεία στην Αλβανία (in Greek). University of Thessaloniki. p. 118. Retrieved 6 February 2013. Η Κορυτσά διατηρεί από το 1724 ελληνικό σχολείο, (Lafe,1981) στο οποίο συνεισέφεραν και οι κάτοικοι του Βυθικουκίου.
  10. ^ a b c d e Koukoudis, Asterios (2003). The Vlachs: Metropolis and Diaspora. Thessaloniki: Zitros Publications. pp. 321–322. ISBN 9789607760869.."Particularly interesting is the case of Vithkuq, south of Moschopolis, which seems to have shared closely in the town's evolution, though it is far from clear whether it was inhabited by Vlachs in the glory days before 1769. It may well have had Vlach inhabitants before 1769, though the Arvanites were certainly far more numerous, if not the largest population group. This is further supported by the linguistic identity of the refugees who fled Vithkuq and accompanied the waves of departing Vlachs. Today it is inhabited by Arvanites and Vlachs, though the forebears of the modern Vlach residents arrived after the village had been abandoned by its previous inhabitants and are mainly of Arvanitovlach descent. They are former pastoral nomads who settled permanently in Vithkuq."
  11. ^ a b c d e De Rapper, Gilles (2010). "Religion on the border: sanctuaries and festivals in post-communist Albania". HAL Open Science. p. 3. The three villages are known as Christians villages where Muslims have recently settled, especially during communist times, so that today their population is said to be 'mixed' (i përzier). They are also surrounded by Muslim villages, or by demographically depressed Christian villages; in other words, from the Christian point of view, the villages and their surroundings have lost a part of their Christian character. In the case of Voskopojë and Vithkuq, this loss is told in a more dramatic mode: both villages are known to have been prosperous Christian cities in the 18th century, before they were plundered and destroyed during repeated attacks by local Muslims.
  12. ^ Anscombe, Frederick (2006). "Albanians and "mountain bandits"". In Anscombe, Frederick (ed.). The Ottoman Balkans, 1750–1830. Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers. p. 88. ISBN 9781558763838. Archived from the original on 2016-01-25. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
  13. ^ a b c Hammond, Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière (1976). Migrations and invasions in Greece and adjacent areas. Park Ridge: Noyes Press. p. 62. ISBN 9780815550471.
  14. ^ a b c Jorgaqi, Nasho (2005). Jeta e Fan S. Nolit: Vëllimi 1. 1882–1924 [The life of Fan S. Noli: Volume 1. 1882–1924]. Tiranë: Ombra GVG. pp. 38–39. ISBN 9789994384303.
  15. ^ a b Koti, Dhori (2010). Monografi për Vithkuqin dhe Naum Veqilharxhin [A monograph of Vithkuq and Naum Veqilharxhi]. Pogradec: DIJA Poradeci. pp. 16–17. ISBN 978-99956-826-8-2.
  16. ^ Ramet, Sabrina (1998). Nihil obstat: religion, politics, and social change in East-Central Europe and Russia. Durham: Duke University Press. p. 203. ISBN 9780822320708.
  17. ^ Winnifrith, Tom (2002). Badlands-borderlands: a history of Northern Epirus/Southern Albania. London: Duckworth. p. 109. ISBN 9780715632017."Of these Vithkuq... All these villages have a Vlach element in their population, and it is Vlach tradition that they were large and important... This culture was of course Greek culture..."
  18. ^ Petraq Pepo (ed.): Materiale dokumentare për Shqipërinë juglindore. Tiranë, 1981.
  19. ^ "KE5/29 - Mbi lagjet e Vithkuqit të dikurshëm".
  20. ^ Kirchhainer, Karin (2003). "Das Ossuarium des Petrus- und Paulus- Kloster in Vithkuq (Nordepirus) und seine Freskendekoration (1750)" (PDF). Makedonika (in German). 34 (4): 149–208. doi:10.12681/makedonika.872. Retrieved 2010-07-04.
  21. ^ Rousseva R. Iconographic characteristics of the churches in Moschopolis and Vithkuqi (Albania), Makedonika, 2006, v. 35, pp. 163-191. In English and Greek, with photographs of icons and inscriptions.
  22. ^ Konstantinos, Giakoumis (2002). The monasteries of Jorgucat and Vanishte in Dropull and of Spelaio in Lunxheri as monuments and institutions during the Ottoman period in Albania (16th-19th centuries) (PhD thesis). University of Birmingham. p. 181. Retrieved 8 July 2018. Vithkuq is one of the most prominent of the cities inhabited by Vlachs... The city was spread over a large number of quarters, with names as Dukates, Boris, 'of the Greeks', 'of the Tatars', `of the Russians', etc. Fourteen churches in the city have been cited.
  23. ^ Elsie, Robert (2012). Historical Dictionary of Albania. Plymouth, United Kingdom: Scarecrow Press. p. 128. ISBN 9780810861886. Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  24. ^ Pearson, Owen (2006). Albania in Occupation and War: From Fascism to Communism 1940-1945. I.B.Tauris. pp. 266–7. ISBN 1-84511-104-4.


  • Everson, Michael (2020), Proposal for encoding the Vithkuqi script in the SMP of the UCS (PDF), University of California, Berkeley
  • Rembeci, Andi; Cunga, Sokol (2019). "Vithkuq of Moschopolis: the cradle of the early inhabitants of Kozani, according to oral tradition". In Hariton Karanasios; Vasiliki Diafa-Kampouridou (eds.). Η Κοζάνη και η περιοχή της από τους Βυζαντινούς στους Νεότερους Χρόνους [Kozani and its area from the Byzantines to the Modern Times]. Kozani: Εταιρεία Δυτικομακεδονικών Μελετών [Society for Western Macedonian Studies]. pp. 103–132.

Further reading[edit]

  • Kurtiqi, Gjikë. Vithkuqi i 24 Kishave dhe 100 Krojeve, Libri i Parë, Tirana 2008.
  • Kurtiqi, Gjikë. Vithkuqi: Larg dhe Afër, Libri i Dytë, Tirana 2009.