Vatican celebrates Skanderbeg’s year

Vatican celebrates Skanderbeg’s year

TIRANA, Nov. 19- A commemoration of the 550th anniversary of George Castriot Skanderbeg, Albania’s national hero, was celebrated in the Vatican, where Pope Francis welcomed a group of Albanian pilgrims of various religions, Arbereshe people and other renowned intellectual, cultural

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Albania November events to follow

Albania November events to follow

International Tirana Trade Fair launched its 25th edition at the Palace of Congresses from Nov. 21-24. This is the largest fair in Albania, taking place since 1994 and organized by Klik- Expo Group Albania. The most notable companies in Albania

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First Albanian newspaper discovered

First Albanian newspaper discovered

TIRANA, Nov. 19- Turkish historians discover the newspaper ‘Iskodra’  as being the first one in Albania. Scholars believed that this newspaper started its print in 1879 at the city of Shkodra, however older publications were discovered dating as back as

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Tirana Book Fair calls for a stronger readership

Tirana Book Fair calls for a stronger readership

TIRANA, Nov. 20- One million Albanians haven’t read even one book over the last year, claims the Albanian Institute of Statistics. The same figure was the result of a survey conducted by the Albanian Publishers Association – this was the

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National Book Fair launches 21st edition

National Book Fair launches 21st edition

TIRANA, Nov. 14- The national Book Fair is launching its 21st edition at the Palace of Congresses in Tirana from Nov. 14-18. This is the largest fair in Albania, as well as the most renowned and anticipated one. More than

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Albania events to follow

Albania events to follow

Tirana Liberation Day is on Nov. 17. In this day the Tirana Municipality organizes some festive activities, but the most traditional one, is that moment when veterans gathers at ‘Unknown Soldier’ monument, putting there flowers and remembering this historical day.

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Underwater archaeology mission finds relics

Underwater archaeology mission finds relics

TIRANA, Nov. 13- A few days ago the underwater archeology team led by underwater archeologist Adrian Anastasi, found a piece of relic at the Cape of Rodon. The 20-meter-long relic is part of a very old sunken shipwreck found near

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Tirana running for ‘’European Capital City of Culture 2024’’

Tirana running for ‘’European Capital City of Culture 2024’’

TIRANA, Nov. 7- Tirana Mayor Erion Veliaj has participated in the European Capital Cities of Culture conference, which was held in Florence from Nov. 7 until 9. The conference discusses the role of culture in society and economic development of

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Beloved Albanian films screened in Copenhagen

Beloved Albanian films screened in Copenhagen

TIRANA, Nov. 7- Xhanfise Keko is an Albanian director of 12 artistic films for children who operated during the communist regime from 1952-84, and holds the title of People’s Artist received in 1984. She is the first Albanian children’s film

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Marubi photographs to display in Milan

Marubi photographs to display in Milan

TIRANA, Nov. 8- A beloved figure for the Albanian culture is Pietro Marubi, claimed as the first photographer in our country, operating in Shkodra in the end of the 19th century. His legacy doesn’t consist in his own personally photographed

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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Nov. 19- A commemoration of the 550th anniversary of George Castriot Skanderbeg, Albania’s national hero, was celebrated in the Vatican, where Pope Francis welcomed a group of Albanian pilgrims of various religions, Arbereshe people and other renowned intellectual, cultural and political figures of the country. 

He greeted all the guests in words of solidarity and friendship, naming it an ancient bond of habitual relations with the See of Peter. He noted the ancient and glorious history of Albania, with a unique culture which is essential for Europe. 

The Holy Father said that George Castriot Skanderbeg is a heroic son of strong and generous people. He added that Skanderbeg defended spiritual values and the Christian name with courage. 

‘’Skanderbeg forged the Albanian cultural identity with his deeds, becoming an undisputed symbol of cohesion and national unity,’’ said Pope Francis during the celebration event for Scanderbeg in Rome.

‘’The particular importance of the figure and work of Castriote is well represented by your flag, with the double-headed black eagle on a red background, which copies the hero’s coat of arms. Rarely in history has a single individual embodied in such a clear way and also in such a large measure, the virtues of a people, to the point that it’s difficult to understand the spirit without pausing to consider the principles and values that animated this unique personality,’’ the Pope added.

 

After Skanderbeg's death a lot of Christian Albanians emigrated, and the country was subsequently invaded by the Ottoman Empire. The Pope linked this with the youth migration Albania is facing nowadays. 

He said that this anniversary shouldn’t be limited to the celebration of the glory received from past deeds done. Instead the Pope encouraged to use history as an opportunity to for all institutions and citizens to renew their commitment in favour of an authentic and balanced development for the country, so that the young people won’t be forced to migrate. 

The climate of mutual respect, trust and cooperation of the Catholic, Orthodox, Muslim people and clerics, shows the peaceful coexistence between the citizens belonging of different religions. This coexistence is a concrete viable path which produces harmony, frees the best forces and creativity in a nation, that leads to true collaboration and brotherhood. 

‘’The example of Skanderbeg has validly expressed the Albanian character,’’ said Pope Francis regarding the cohabitation. 

In this celebration a number of national and international celebrities were invited, such as Ermal Meta, Dua Lipa, Olen Çezari, Inva Mula, Kledi Kadiu, Genc Tukiçi, Rame Lahaj, Elhaida Dani, Lorik Cana, Eno Peci, Erza Muqolli. An hour after the Pope spoke, tenor Rame Lahaj held a musical session in honor of the guests.

Prior to this celebration, Pope Saint Paul VI awaited the Albanians of diaspora in 1968, in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Skanderbeg’s death. Albania at the time was suffering the communist regime of Enver Hoxha. 

 

 
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                    [post_content] => panairInternational Tirana Trade Fair launched its 25th edition at the Palace of Congresses from Nov. 21-24. This is the largest fair in Albania, taking place since 1994 and organized by Klik- Expo Group Albania. The most notable companies in Albania and from the world in various sectors, such as heavy industry, textile, garment and footwear, communication services, will have a chance to promote their brands and products at this fair in a national and international audience. 

The fair will also be organizing a talk by Paul Hodgkins on the theme of ‘’The power of project leadership.’’ He will talk on how to go beyond the barrier of just project manager and become a leader. The objective is to demonstrate that it is vital, if project managers are to ensure sustainable and positive project outcomes for their team, their sponsors, their stakeholders, their customers, for society and their country; that they must adapt from being a ‘project manager’ to be able to become a ‘project leader’.

Let’s Meet for a Book, is an activity event organized by the Ministry of Culture at the framework of the national movement for reading. In collaboration with the National Coordinator for Reading, Suela Bala, the multifunctional center for children Kallz, will host another reading session with children aged five to twelve. This event starts on Nov. 23, and will be organized each Saturday for one month. 

Celebrating Tirana at Rogner Hotel in an evening honoring the capital through a multitude of art disciplines will be combined to create a unique show. Photo gallery “Tirana l’aquila del Cambiamento” by the Italian photographer Alessandro Capurso; a classical concert by the soprano Linda Kazani ll Nertila Kasmi Flute ll Erald Simixhiu Piano – special guest coming from Austria; folk poetry dedicated to Tirana by Arben Derhemi; Tirana old songs in Jazz performance by AJS TRIO (Gent Rushi – Piano; Ermal Rodi -Sax; Emiljan Dhimo – Drums).

Flaka Haliti discusses with Adela Demetja, is an artistic event organized at the Arts University on Nov. 26, 6:30 p.m. in the framework of Haliti’s exhibition Here or Rather There- Is Over There at the National Gallery. The discussion will discuss about Haliti’s works and mentality, especially regarding this exhibition. Flaka Haliti is a Munich-based artist from Kosovo, and Adela Demetja is an Albanian arts curator, who directs the Tirana Art Lab Center. 

The Municipality of Tirana has set up the New Year’s decoration around the city and has also decorated the Skanderbeg Square at the center of Tirana with a large Christmas tree, continuing the festive tradition. This year too, the square is decorated like a holiday entertainment village, with small wooden houses that serve warm cocoa, coffee and wine, some beer houses with grilled meats, and an additional mini gaming park.

 

Cinema

bohemBohemian Rhapsody- Bohemian Rhapsody is a foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury. Freddie defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. The film traces the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound. They reach unparalleled success, but in an unexpected turn Freddie, surrounded by darker influences, shuns Queen in pursuit of his solo career. Having suffered greatly without the collaboration of Queen, Freddie manages to reunite with his bandmates just in time for Live Aid. While bravely facing a recent AIDS diagnosis, Freddie leads the band in one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music. Queen cements a legacy that continues to inspire outsiders, dreamers and music lovers to this day.

Operation: Overlord- On the eve of D-Day, American paratroopers drop behind enemy lines to penetrate the walls of a fortified church and destroy a radio transmitter. As the soldiers approach their target, they soon begin to realize that there's more going on in the Nazi-occupied village than a simple military operation. Making their way to an underground lab, the outnumbered men stumble upon a sinister experiment that forces them into a vicious battle against an army of the undead.

The Girl in the Spider’s Web- Fired from the National Security Agency, Frans Balder recruits hacker Lisbeth Salander to steal FireWall, a computer program that can access codes for nuclear weapons worldwide. The download soon draws attention from an NSA agent who traces the activity to Stockholm. Further problems arise when Russian thugs take Lisbeth's laptop and kidnap a math whiz who can make FireWall work. Now, Lisbeth and an unlikely ally must race against time to save the boy and recover the codes to avert disaster. A film based on the fourth novel of Millenium Series started by Stieg Larsson. 

First Man- Director Damien Chazelle and star Ryan Gosling reteam for Universal Pictures’ First Man, the riveting story of NASA’s mission to land a man on the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the years 1961-1969. A visceral, first-person account, based on the book by James R. Hansen, the movie will explore the sacrifices and the cost—on Armstrong and on the nation—of one of the most dangerous missions in history.

Burn the Stage- The first film by BTS showing their BTS Wings Tour behind the scenes. The full history of the K-Pop band will unfold, along with their rise to fame. This film brings a more intimate look at how this band broke barriers and conquered the music scene.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald- J.K. Rawling brings the sequel of beloved Fantastic Beasts. In an effort to thwart Grindelwald's plans of raising pure-blood wizards to rule over all non-magical beings, Albus Dumbledore enlists his former student Newt Scamander, who agrees to help, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided world.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms- In an effort to thwart Grindelwald's plans of raising pure-blood wizards to rule over all non-magical beings, Albus Dumbledore enlists his former student Newt Scamander, who agrees to help, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided world.

Cold November- In the beginning of the '90s, Yugoslavian Government cancelled the autonomy of Kosovo, dissolved its Parliament and closed down the National Television. Whole institutional life was reorganized by new authorities, while the majority of citizens responded with peaceful demonstrations. During this evil time, Fadili who is working as an archivist has to choose between two options, being aware that both of them are wrong. In this way, he involuntarily and unwillingly, 'swallows' the shame, endures the pressure coming from all sides and deals with the bad reputation for just one reason: to provide welfare for his family.

Love is not Enough- An Albanian film with screenplay and direction of Drilon Hoxha and photography from Dashnor Asllani, action drama about the crime world, where love and family sometimes have to be sacrificed in order to achieve certain goals. The film discusses how the only true value of human beings is being substituted with hatred and vengeance. 

Forgive Us Our Debts- An Italian drama film about a man struggling under the crushing weight of debt who has to work as a debt collector to pay off his creditors. Although the intention is to be able to pay off his own creditors, he soon discovers the deal is unexpectedly costly.

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas- The epic fantasy comedy 2000 live action film adaptation based on the beloved story from Dr. Seuss. Because the film is based on a children's picture book, many additions were made to the storyline to bring it up to feature-length including some information about the backstory of the title character and reworking the story's minor character Cindy Lou Who as a main character.

Widows- A police shootout leaves four thieves dead during an explosive armed robbery attempt in Chicago. Their widows -- Veronica, Linda, Alice and Belle -- have nothing in common except a debt left behind by their spouses' criminal activities. Hoping to forge a future on their own terms, Veronica joins forces with the other three women to pull off a heist that her husband was planning.

 

Theatre

tkobGrand Gala: Rossini Il ‘’Buongustaio’’- The Italian Embassy and the Italian Institute of Culture will be organizing a concert at ArTurbine on Nov. 23-24, with music from composer Rossini, in appraisal of his figure and celebration of Italian musical traditions. The orchestra performing is that of the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet, with tenor Aldo Caputo and Marco Alibrando as conductor. 

The Diary of Anne Frank- Metropol Theatre will be staging The Diary of Anne Frank until Dec. 2018. The theatre has chosen the adapted part from Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, directed by Amela Demaj with a selected cast from the open auditions the theatre policies. Known for its smaller stage, this theatre focuses on integrated scenery and viewer-actor engagement.

Just Like You- Professor Lee Shackleford’s puppet-play for young children Just Like You, is still being staged at the Metropol Theatre. This puppet show seeks to teach kids about children with special abilities and disabilities, how their lives are, and context and information regarding these abilities they hold. Prior to the show, the actors underwent a five-month course to learn sign language, so they can relate more with the public. 

Father Sergius- The National Theatre will be introducing to the public Leo Tolstoy’s Father Sergius directed by Fatos Berisha, staged at ArTurbina from Nov. 22-25. The play follows the story of military man Stefan Kazatski, who retreats to the life of a monk after he faces the betrayal of his wife and best friend. The tormenting fight of a man against the freedom of life with its beauties, temptations and lusts, and the seclusion due to a promise made to God. 

The Man Outside- A dramatic play by Wolfgang Borchert brought by the National Experimental Theatre, which follows the story of post-war soldier Beckmann, who returns home from Russia and finds his wife with another man, and therefore losing him home, his beliefs, illusions. An exploration of post-traumatic stress disorder suffered from most veterans who return home, to an alienated man who seeks suicide. Due to its sensitive topic, Borchert himself put an undertitle to this play, calling it ‘’A play that no theatre wants to perform and no audience wants to see.’’

The Enchanted Library- A children’s theatre play adapted by Marsel Greva and Kleard Germenji, directed by Greva, and brought to the audience at the stage of the National Experimental Theatre. It follows the story of 10-year-old Daisy who assumes the clerk position at her grandfather’s bookstore, after he falls ill in his bed. Daisy loves books, and she is astonished to find that the fantasy worlds of the books at the store come to life. Soon, she finds herself obtained in adventure with her favorite characters to find a priceless necklace.

Brother and Sister- The children’s play adapted and directed by Xhuliano Brisku si still being staged at the National Experimental Theatre. Witch Morgana abducts two little kids, John and Joanna who are brother and sister, so she can become queen of Nolan. When the two kids manage to escape the evil witch, she poisons the water and fruits of the woods, so the kids can turn to animal and be killed by the hunters. John turns to a roe, and prince Noah captures Morgana. But how will John return to a kid again?

Snow White and Seven Dwarves- Kids of institute ‘’Ramazan Kabashi’’ for children who can;t see, together with volunteers of New Vision will stage Snow White at ArTurbina in Nov. 24 at 11 a.m., in the framework of the National Movement for Reading. The approach and perspective will be a different one regarding this play. 

 

Exhibitions

procesProcess- This event at FAB gallery combines the creative and pedagogical process with the scientific one, through symposiums, workshops and open discussions on the issues of art and teaching. This framework will give a chance of participation not only to the academic staff which are focused on the scientific research but also to the alumni of the University of Arts and other ex students which are continuing their studies in other institutions. Inspired by a series of photos he created in 1949, we choose the word “Process” for this event, considering that the creative process is the basic element in the artistic and scientific activity.

Freiraum- Tulla Cultural Center in collaboration with Goethe Zentrum hosts an exhibition from photographer Anjeza Hoxha, curated by Edit Paula. The artist is on the search of the architectural freedom and public spaces in Tirana, while according it in a dialogue with the various generations, and what is missing. A cultural night, accompanied with music from Fatos Qerimi, and a discussion panel directed by urbanist Karsten Schulz and writer Arian Leka. 

Here- or Rather There, is Over There- The ongoing art installation by Kosovo artist Flaka Haliti will be exhibited at the National Arts Gallery until early 2019. The installation suggests a general skepticism toward unambiguous definitions of space. The destabilization of territorial ascriptions, especially dichotomies between East and West, is characteristic of the artist's work. 

Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt: Collages and Editions- An ongoing exhibition at the National Arts Gallery of the German artist Wolf-Rehfeldt until early 2019. The artist is associated with visual poetry and mail art. A collection of her typewritten arts is currently being exhibited, along with a recent short mediated interview with the artist who tells of her life, fascinated to find that there is still interest in her work. Working primarily for a post world war 2 Germany, she stopped when the Berlin wall was torn down.

Marc Chagall: Magical Gravity- An ongoing exhibition of renowned French-Russian artist Marc Chagall at the Center for Openness and Dialogue inside the Prime Ministry building. The exhibition consists of 180 engravings made by the artist where he let his imagination run wild in depicting scenes from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Gogol’s Dead Souls, and La Fontaine’s Fables. 

Appearances- Zeta Gallery introduces a solo show by Idlir Koka. The paintings brushed in an expressionist style filled with art history references, deal with aspects of entertainment and show consumption while putting in the spotlight the spectator who fills the auditorium. Koka aims to decipher the nature of the spectacle and its hegemony over the culture of our day, through images. All his works of the latest series describe the details of human activities within the theatrical scenery and stalls.

Moti i Madh- A collaborative exhibition from the Museum of Kosovo and the National History Museum in Tirana. This exhibition contains statues, replicas, engravings of various authors and portraits, through which visitors are acquainted with moments of life and battles of the Albanian National Hero, Gjergj Kastrioti-Skënderbeu, who was the most consistent and most prominent representative of the leading Albanian elite, who steadily led the front of the Albanian war against the Ottoman Empire.

 

Music, Dance and Nightlife

aniIn Memoriam concert organized and hosted at the Great Hall of the Arts University on Nov. 24 at 7 p.m.. The concert of a violin and piano duo, comes in memory of those who created the foundations of our artistic musical heritage for us to enjoy. Violinist Anyla Kraja and pianist Fausto Di Cesare will be performing a variety of musical pieces composed in different periods, which are dedicated to the many musical figures this world possesses. 

The Magic of Holidays- Telekom Albania hosts another celebratory event with music, gifts, surprises and games for participants at the New Bazaar in Tirana, on Nov. 24, starting at 11 a.m. until late at night. 

Vitmar Basha will be playing live at Garage Pub in Tirana on Nov. 23, starting at 9 p.m. and continuing until a few hours past midnight. 

Rapper Noizy will be singing in a party hosted at nightclub Lollipop on Nov. 23, just a bit prior midnight, until morning. 

Rapper Mc Kresha will be giving a musical night at a party hosted by nightclub Cinco Cavalli in Tirana, starting just a bit prior midnight Nov. 23, until early morning. On Nov. 24 night, Mc Kresha will be performing at Cinco Cavalli with Dafina Zeqiri, a much-preferred R&B singer by Albanian youth.

Rapper Lumi B and young musical talent Alban Ramosaj will be collaborating in a musical night at a party hosted by L’Arena Premium Club in Tirana, starting a bit prior midnight on Nov. 24, until early morning. 

3:56 AM band will be performing at Destil Hostel on Nov. 29, in a musical event called White to Black. White to Black is a form of life rotation, reproducing themselves constantly to diagrammatic senses of a controversial wave of change. White to Black is co-related to radical choices so this concert is about giving our music choices between you and us because all we can give you this night will be a free radical space of choices. The evening will start with the screening of a short documentary after that music will cast all the shadows and light up the darkness. 

SKENA- Jazz will be organizing a Jazz quartet at Destil Hostel on Nov. 28 at 9 p.m.. Standard and traditional jazz sounds will be brought by Ada Dimo in vocals, Sokol Sejdo in saxophone, Endri Hekurani in piano, Ergys Halili in drums set. 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Nov. 19- Turkish historians discover the newspaper ‘Iskodra’  as being the first one in Albania. Scholars believed that this newspaper started its print in 1879 at the city of Shkodra, however older publications were discovered dating as back as 1868.

Thus, ‘Iskodra’ postponed publication for 11 years before going on print again. This makes Shkodra the first city in Albania to have under its possession a printing house. Even though the newspaper was written in Ottoman language, as Albania was under its occupation then, this discovery marks the first traces of journalism in Albania. 

Albanian historians and writers had no clue that ‘Iskodra’ (Shkodra in Ottoman) was the first newspaper in our country and list its publication date on 1879. Scholar Atilla Girgin is the first to have discovered it, as he lists in his works all the publications and newspapers printed at the Ottoman vilayets of Albania and Greece. The first ones were ‘Iskodra’ at the vilayet of Shkodra and ‘Yanya’ (Ioannina in Ottoman) at the vilayet of Ioannina. 

This happened after the Ottoman Empire decides to impose laws and rules about publications in the framework of the Tanzim Reforms. This was due to Takvim-i Vekâyi (The calendar of events) in 1931, the first issue in the Ottoman Empire, which was accounted as an individual work as there were no laws regulating printing. 

This attracted the attention of the Sublime Porte, which in 1857 passed the Law of Publication and the Law for the Rights of Authorship. It was later enriched in the Penal Code in 1958, with a Law on Printing in 1864 and the Sublime Decree in 1867. During 1864-67, the Sublime Porte reorganized the vilayets based on the ‘’Vilayets Ruling’’ and imposed that they publish issues according to the Ottoman Laws. 

The first two newspapers published are as mentioned above, ‘Iskodra’ in Shkodra and ‘Yanya’ in Ioannina. Scholar Hifzi Topuz also lists ‘Selanik’ in Thessaloniki published in 1869, and ‘Aydin’ in Izmir, in 1874. 

These newspapers consisted of news concerning the Sultan, the government, new officials public appointees, on regional public institutions, healthcare, education, economics and constabulary, construction and infrastructure, such as railway construction and telegraphic lines. These articles had no author named, the newspaper was named after the vilayet where it was being published, and the publication was in two languages, Ottoman, and that of the region. Albanian language was not used though, as its alphabet and legit vocabulary wasn’t established until after the Congress of Manastir in Nov. 1908. 

In 1876 the newspaper ‘Sabah’ published an article regarding the republication of ‘Iskodra.’ Its author is thought to have been renowned scholar and writer Sami Frasheri. It was made known that ‘Iskodra’ was going to be published again in Shkodra, in Ottoman and Italian. 

‘’We think that it would be more beneficial in accordance to an official newspaper’s aim, if in its other page, instead of being published in a foreign language, to be written in the mother tongue of the people. Thus, it would have more impact in the people of those lands,’’ wrote the author. 

Thus it was decided that the articles would be published in Albanian as well, using an Ottoman alphabet, even though there was a number of Albanians already using a latin alphabet around the country (the latin alphabet is established during the Congress of Manastir).

Iskodra was a weekly newspaper, prepared by government officials of the vilayet. According to Friedrich Lippich von Lindburg, consulate general of Austro-Hungary in Shkodra, the newspaper was under the influence of Shkodra’s vali Hysen Pasha. Its articles according to him, were strictly critical of Austro-Hungary. Furthermore, writer Zef Skiroi wrote that Iskodra faced its ending in 1880.

This came in May 7, 1880, after the publication was printed under the signature of Ali Pashe (Gucia), Hodo Beg (Sokoli), Preng Bib Doda, Myftiu Hafiz Efendi (Hafiz Daut Boriçi), Bishop Karlo Poten and Kol Çoba, who wrote that they claim their allegiance to the League of Prizren and the Albanian people, since the country was no longer under the Ottoman occupation. 

The League of Prizren was suppressed in 1881, and its extinction marked the ending of ‘Iskodra.’ A third publication trial of the newspaper dates in 1897 until 1903, however the data around this period are scarce. 

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Nov. 20- One million Albanians haven’t read even one book over the last year, claims the Albanian Institute of Statistics. The same figure was the result of a survey conducted by the Albanian Publishers Association - this was the main topic of discussion in an activity held during the annual book fair between APA director, Petrit Ymeri, and other intellectuals, writers, translators, publishers, government representatives, and participating citizens. 

Publishers claimed that this year’s book fair was rather successful, added that 200 new titles were introduced to the public. Publishers said that the fair is a good opportunity to promote their books and get more in touch with their readers and what they like. Apart from suggesting books, in many occasions they also received recommendations from readers on books they had enjoyed reading. 

‘’It’s a big celebration, we had meetings with the readers and have received suggestions. The selection that we make is directed of expectations, that is why this year we had an Albanian writer, Enkel Demi with ‘Stones of solitude’ and Nobel Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro with ‘The remains of the day’,’’ said Loreta Berhami from publishing house Pegi. 

However, scholar and collectionist Shpetim Sala said  that publishers rely too much on the Book Fair to promote their books, and forget the rest of the year. 

‘’We are surprised from the multitude of the titles, for 12 months it seems that the publishing houses take a break, while they come at the fair with books, when they have the chance to present them throughout the year,’’ said Sala. 

Booths, books, children running around, people reading introductory notes, crowds coming in and going. As much as this event was enjoyable for its many good reasons, there was a lack of accomodating space for people to freely move around and inspect the books. The overall sensation given was ‘mess’, soothed by children holding books in their hands. Mess not only in the logistical sense of interior design, but also in terms of finding books. If a reader would enter with the idea of not knowing what book/s to grab, regardless of the variety, the books organization made it a bit harder. 

Even though misticity is what makes reading a novel more enjoyable, there were so many options, which made it as exciting and confusing. 

It is estimated that 50 percent of the books introduced were from Albanian authors. Except from already renowned authors our country possesses, there was a good number of new writers approaching the readers, trying to break barriers. Poetry, novels, prospective writers that try to speak of how they see reality, with a hope that readers will relate or get motivated from. 

The winners of this Book Fair 2018 were also announced on Nov. 17, giving in total five awards. The prize of career was awarded to Albanian-Macedonian writer Kim Mehmeti for his novel ‘’The well.’’ The prize for best creativity was awarded to Brajan Sukaj, with his novel ‘’The cyclops.’’ The best translation was prized to Donika Omari for ‘’Farewell princess’’ of Kenize Mourad. Lastly, were given two encouraging awards for their originality and creativity to writers Iva Nikolli for her novel ‘’Just for you’’ and Flogerta Krypi for her ‘’Everything concerning nothingness.’’ 

There weren't any awards given for children’s book however. Pandeli Koci, director of pan-Albanian Association of Writers for Young Children, said that there was a multitude of well-translated books, but there weren’t many Albanian writers to having produced a quality novel for children. This was the second year that this prize wasn’t awarded, and Koci is dubious about why there aren’t any good children’s books writers around.

Other issues were noted, too. Lazer Stani, writer and translator, said that the publishing houses treat the book as a business, and there is little priority to Albanian writers in general. Even though this Fair’s best seller was ‘’When rulers dispute,’’ the newest book of renowned writer Ismail Kadare, Stani said that more attention is being made to translations. 

‘’One rarely finds an enjoyable translation, perhaps for the hastiness of publishing. Nowadays a translator must adapt four to five books a year to survive, whereas in the ‘60s a book would take two years to be translated,’’ said Stani. 

Perhaps this hastiness amounts to a low quality of production which has potentially inflicted in the low readership, or perhaps it is a strategy for the publishing businesses to generate profit, as the tax policies on books are pretty messy. There is a high cost in production, and there is also a high tax for royalties, which discourages local writers.

‘’Excluding Kadare, the rest i don’t recognize. I don’t have any interest in reading Albanian writers, as no author touches the post-communist reality, all choose to avoid it,’’ said a reader. 

This taxation also adds to the prices of the books, for which some readers have reacted negatively, claiming the prices are to high for the average buyer. This has a potential infliction in the low readership faced in Albania. 

Even though this phenomenon is certainly global, as it was admitted in the round discussion during the book fair, there are reasons that have added to these numbers for our country specifically, and also strategies to follow to recover from this. 

The Ministry of Culture has recently trying to push a ‘read books’ message through social media platforms and by engaging in various activities such as #LevizjaKombetarePerLexim (National movement for reading). Various meetings are organized for reading passages from favorite books, gifting books in various towns, and the latest policy was gifting five books to every newborn child in Albania. 

However inviting these policies are, there are still some issues the government and especially the Ministry of Culture should take into account. 

Firstly, there is still the issue of the National Library and the countless damaged texts from a rain flood suffered in June 2018. 12 thousand books are said to have been damaged, some of them beyond repair. What is more concerning though, is that no real rehabilitation is being done to the Library’s building. 

Secondly, there are scarce public libraries inside neighbourhoods that citizens can borrow books. Milva Ekonomi, deputy of the Parliamentary Commission for Education and Public Information Tools (PCEPIT), said that in 2006 Albanian had 46 public libraries, a number which has drastically fallen, adding that the average Albanian read 11 minutes a day. 

Another issue, is that in the already existing public libraries, there haven’t been any new books added since 2012. Finances lack even in restauration processes, except buying new books. There is also a lack of libraries in public schools as well. 

Petrit Ymeri, the director of APA, has written a letter reminding some of the difficulties mentioned above that reading in Albania is facing and has forwarded it to Minister of Finances Arben Ahmetaj, Minister of Culture Mirela Kumbaro, PCEPIT director Albana Vokshi, Parliamentary Commission of Economy director Erion Brace, so measures can be taken to stop this phenomenon. 

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Nov. 14- The national Book Fair is launching its 21st edition at the Palace of Congresses in Tirana from Nov. 14-18. This is the largest fair in Albania, as well as the most renowned and anticipated one. More than 100 publishing houses will be sharing with the public their newest publications, and also the best-selling books throughout the year. This year there will be also publishing houses from Macedonia and Montenegro joining the fair. 

This is the most important cultural event in Albania for literature. The event is organized by the Albanian Publishers Association (APA), which except creating the logistics for the publishing houses to introduce their publications and be in a closer contact with the readers, it also organizes various activities and discussions, and also awards prizes in the categories of Best Book, Best Translator and Best Children’s Book.

A good focus of this year is on children’s book, what do they read, and how to influence and grow a conscientious reader. Publishers, writers, teachers and professors, librarians, translators, culture and education institutions’ representatives, etc., will be discussing on the issue of reading in Albania, the future reader and the future of reading in our country. The main topic of discussion which will be held by Petrit Ymeri, the president of APA, and writer Ledia Dushi on Nov. 15 at 11 a.m. will be ‘’The challenges of reading today. Motives for reading and not reading. What does Albanian youth read?’’

This topic of discussion comes due to the shocking and frightening data issued by the Albanian institute of statistics, which claimed that 1 million Albanians hadn’t read at least one book in a year. The reasons vary from economic, social, education related, and psychological. The speakers will be discussing with the participants the reasons of this phenomenon which has been happening in the last two decades, with its lowest low in years, and try to encourage reading by pointing out the benefits and positive effects of reading. 

The readers will also get a chance to meet in person various writers who are publishing their books at the booths of their contracted publishing houses and get a signature, or have a discussion with them.

A surprise for all passionate readers will be the publishing of the newest book by internationally renowned and locally beloved writer Ismail Kadare, ‘’When rulers dispute’’ (Kur sunduesit grinden). He will be at the Fair himself and will be signing books, too. 

 
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                    [post_content] => Tirana Liberation Day is on Nov. 17. In this day the Tirana Municipality organizes some festive activities, but the most traditional one, is that moment when veterans gathers at 'Unknown Soldier' monument, putting there flowers and remembering this historical day. 

A talk with artist Hiwa K- Harabel Contemporary Art Platform has the pleasure to invite the public in an open Talk with Iraqi artist Hiwa K which will take place in hall Black Box (University of Arts.) on 16th of November 2018. Hiwa K will bring in Tirana pieces of his successful screenings that permeate through a connective inception; the experience of obligated escape from homeland. Included in his life experience are causes of migration, difficulties of endurance at every turn, by any means, and above all, prevails the longing for living and survival, regardless of obstacles.

Travel to Discover Tirana will be organizing a day tour to Pellumbas cave and Erzen river canions for the hiking lovers on Nov. 18. The traveling starts at 9 a.m. from the Palace of Congresses to a destination not far from Tirana, for a picnic, nature hiking and music. 

International Tirana Trade Fair launched its 25th edition at the Palace of Congresses from Nov. 21-24. This is the largest fair in Albania, taking place since 1994 and organized by Klik- Expo Group Albania. The most notable companies in Albania and from the world in various sectors, such as heavy industry, textile, garment and footwear, communication services, will have a chance to promote their brands and products at this fair in a national and international audience. 

The fair will also be organizing a talk by Paul Hodgkins on the theme of ‘’The power of project leadership.’’ He will talk on how to go beyond the barrier of just project manager and become a leader. The objective is to demonstrate that it is vital, if project managers are to ensure sustainable and positive project outcomes for their team, their sponsors, their stakeholders, their customers, for society and their country; that they must adapt from being a ‘project manager’ to be able to become a ‘project leader’.

 

Cinema

Bohemian Rhapsody- Bohemian Rhapsody is a foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury. Freddie defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. The film traces the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound. They reach unparalleled success, but in an unexpected turn Freddie, surrounded by darker influences, shuns Queen in pursuit of his solo career. Having suffered greatly without the collaboration of Queen, Freddie manages to reunite with his bandmates just in time for Live Aid. While bravely facing a recent AIDS diagnosis, Freddie leads the band in one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music. Queen cements a legacy that continues to inspire outsiders, dreamers and music lovers to this day.

Operation: Overlord- On the eve of D-Day, American paratroopers drop behind enemy lines to penetrate the walls of a fortified church and destroy a radio transmitter. As the soldiers approach their target, they soon begin to realize that there's more going on in the Nazi-occupied village than a simple military operation. Making their way to an underground lab, the outnumbered men stumble upon a sinister experiment that forces them into a vicious battle against an army of the undead.

The Girl in the Spider’s Web- Fired from the National Security Agency, Frans Balder recruits hacker Lisbeth Salander to steal FireWall, a computer program that can access codes for nuclear weapons worldwide. The download soon draws attention from an NSA agent who traces the activity to Stockholm. Further problems arise when Russian thugs take Lisbeth's laptop and kidnap a math whiz who can make FireWall work. Now, Lisbeth and an unlikely ally must race against time to save the boy and recover the codes to avert disaster. A film based on the fourth novel of Millenium Series started by Stieg Larsson. 

First Man- Director Damien Chazelle and star Ryan Gosling reteam for Universal Pictures’ First Man, the riveting story of NASA’s mission to land a man on the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the years 1961-1969. A visceral, first-person account, based on the book by James R. Hansen, the movie will explore the sacrifices and the cost—on Armstrong and on the nation—of one of the most dangerous missions in history.

Burn the Stage- The first film by BTS showing their BTS Wings Tour behind the scenes. The full history of the K-Pop band will unfold, along with their rise to fame. This film brings a more intimate look at how this band broke barriers and conquered the music scene.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald- J.K. Rawling brings the sequel of beloved Fantastic Beasts. In an effort to thwart Grindelwald's plans of raising pure-blood wizards to rule over all non-magical beings, Albus Dumbledore enlists his former student Newt Scamander, who agrees to help, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided world.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms- In an effort to thwart Grindelwald's plans of raising pure-blood wizards to rule over all non-magical beings, Albus Dumbledore enlists his former student Newt Scamander, who agrees to help, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided world.

Cold November- In the beginning of the '90s, Yugoslavian Government cancelled the autonomy of Kosovo, dissolved its Parliament and closed down the National Television. Whole institutional life was reorganized by new authorities, while the majority of citizens responded with peaceful demonstrations. During this evil time, Fadili who is working as an archivist has to choose between two options, being aware that both of them are wrong. In this way, he involuntarily and unwillingly, 'swallows' the shame, endures the pressure coming from all sides and deals with the bad reputation for just one reason: to provide welfare for his family.

Night School- Teddy Walker is a successful salesman whose life takes an unexpected turn when he accidentally blows up his place of employment. Forced to attend night school to get his GED, Teddy soon finds himself dealing with a group of misfit students, his former high school nemesis and a feisty teacher who doesn't think he's too bright.

Cats and Peachtopia- A cat named Blanket has long been living in a high-rise apartment in the city with his son, Cloak. One day, curious about the outside world, Cloak decides to leave home and embarks on an adventure to find the legendary cat's paradise. To find his son, Blanket must overcome his fear and reconcile with his past, with the help of a female Macaw.

 

Theatre

trav 2La Traviata- Giuseppe Verdi’s renowned opera in three acts returns at the Albanian stage in a selected cast for bringing viewers the thrills of this masterpiece. The National Theatre of Opera and Ballet will stage this beloved piece, the most well-played operistic work internationally, at the Palace of Congresses. 

The Diary of Anne Frank- Metropol Theatre will be staging The Diary of Anne Frank until Dec. 2018. The theatre has chosen the adapted part from Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, directed by Amela Demaj with a selected cast from the open auditions the theatre policies. Known for its smaller stage, this theatre focuses on integrated scenery and viewer-actor engagement.

Just Like You- Professor Lee Shackleford’s puppet-play for young children Just Like You, is still being staged at the Metropol Theatre. This puppet show seeks to teach kids about children with special abilities and disabilities, how their lives are, and context and information regarding these abilities they hold. Prior to the show, the actors underwent a five-month course to learn sign language, so they can relate more with the public. 

Father Sergius- The National Theatre will be introducing to the public Leo Tolstoy’s Father Sergius directed by Fatos Berisha, staged at ArTurbina from Nov. 15-18. The play follows the story of military man Stefan Kazatski, who retreats to the life of a monk after he faces the betrayal of his wife and best friend. The tormenting fight of a man against the freedom of life with its beauties, temptations and lusts, and the seclusion due to a promise made to God. 

Hypocrites or the English Patient- A play by Jeton Neziraj with a direction by Agon Myftari and Blerta Neziraj, a courtesy of the National Theatre brought at the stage of ArTurbina. This comedy follows six characters who tell of the ‘’happy end’’ in message centers, the illegal kidney transplants and heart stents operations that happen meanwhile the Balkan Highway of Peace is being built. A comic, pornographic portrayal of a healthcare trapped in the greedy mouth of capitalism. 

Masked- The University of Arts will stage a play from Israeli writer Ilan Hatsor, directed by Milto Kutali, and with a cast of renowned actors Alfred Trebicka, Arben Derhemi, Ismail Shtino. The play seeks to show that when violence asks, loss responds. The play will come at the scene of the National Experimental Theatre from Nov. 15-18.

The Man Outside- A dramatic play by Wolfgang Borchert brought by the National Experimental Theatre, which follows the story of post-war soldier Beckmann, who returns home from Russia and finds his wife with another man, and therefore losing him home, his beliefs, illusions. An exploration of post-traumatic stress disorder suffered from most veterans who return home, to an alienated man who seeks suicide. Due to its sensitive topic, Borchert himself put an undertitle to this play, calling it ‘’A play that no theatre wants to perform and no audience wants to see.’’

The Enchanted Library- A children’s theatre play adapted by Marsel Greva and Kleard Germenji, directed by Greva, and brought to the audience at the stage of the National Experimental Theatre. It follows the story of 10-year-old Daisy who assumes the clerk position at her grandfather’s bookstore, after he falls ill in his bed. Daisy loves books, and she is astonished to find that the fantasy worlds of the books at the store come to life. Soon, she finds herself obtained in adventure with her favorite characters to find a priceless necklace.

Brother and Sister- The children’s play adapted and directed by Xhuliano Brisku si still being staged at the National Experimental Theatre. Witch Morgana abducts two little kids, John and Joanna who are brother and sister, so she can become queen of Nolan. When the two kids manage to escape the evil witch, she poisons the water and fruits of the woods, so the kids can turn to animal and be killed by the hunters. John turns to a roe, and prince Noah captures Morgana. But how will John return to a kid again?

 

 

Exhibitions

flakaHere- or Rather There, is Over There- The ongoing art installation by Kosovo artist Flaka Haliti will be exhibited at the National Arts Gallery until early 2019. The installation suggests a general skepticism toward unambiguous definitions of space. The destabilization of territorial ascriptions, especially dichotomies between East and West, is characteristic of the artist's work. 

Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt: Collages and Editions- An ongoing exhibition at the National Arts Gallery of the German artist Wolf-Rehfeldt until early 2019. The artist is associated with visual poetry and mail art. A collection of her typewritten arts is currently being exhibited, along with a recent short mediated interview with the artist who tells of her life, fascinated to find that there is still interest in her work. Working primarily for a post world war 2 Germany, she stopped when the Berlin wall was torn down.

Marc Chagall: Magical Gravity- An ongoing exhibition of renowned French-Russian artist Marc Chagall at the Center for Openness and Dialogue inside the Prime Ministry building. The exhibition consists of 180 engravings made by the artist where he let his imagination run wild in depicting scenes from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Gogol’s Dead Souls, and La Fontaine’s Fables. 

Manastir Congress: The Path to a National Union- The National History Museum in Tirana will be hosting an exhibition about the Manastir Congress from Nov. 14-22 in the framework of its 110th anniversary. The exhibition will present the path to the composition of the Albanian alphabet during the 19th century. Pictures of the members of the congress accompanied with their biographies will be displayed, as well as books written by them. 

Flowers to Alysse- Kalo Gallery will be displaying a personal exhibition by Leon Cika, a contemporary artist who works with painting and photography. This personal exhibition is a set of paintings dedicated to his granddaughter Alysse, by whom he was inspired to produce the work. The main theme of the work is centered around flowers, their depiction in various, strong colors, and love.

Appearances- Zeta Gallery introduces a solo show by Idlir Koka. The paintings brushed in an expressionist style filled with art history references, deal with aspects of entertainment and show consumption while putting in the spotlight the spectator who fills the auditorium. Koka aims to decipher the nature of the spectacle and its hegemony over the culture of our day, through images. All his works of the latest series describe the details of human activities within the theatrical scenery and stalls.

Tirana- Venice- New York- The National History Museum is exhibiting a set of 50 paintings by artist Gjergj Meta. The paintings in a contemporary expressionist style focus on scenery and depict the reflections of the artist from the three respective cities that he has visited, worked and exhibited on.

Moti i Madh- A collaborative exhibition from the Museum of Kosovo and the National History Museum in Tirana. This exhibition contains statues, replicas, engravings of various authors and portraits, through which visitors are acquainted with moments of life and battles of the Albanian National Hero, Gjergj Kastrioti-Skënderbeu, who was the most consistent and most prominent representative of the leading Albanian elite, who steadily led the front of the Albanian war against the Ottoman Empire.

Taso- A personal exhibition by renowned artist Gazmend Leka at the FAB gallery, which opens on Nov. 15 at 7 p.m., until Nov. 29. 

 

Music, Dance and Nightlife

 

Teelco- Progressive techno musician Teelco, will be organizing a couple of music events in Tirana for two consecutive events, on Nov. 16 at the Piu 39 Food & Club Tirana, and then on Nov. 17 at Pepper Pizza Tirana. On Nov. 16, Pepper Pizza Tirana will also be hosting a music night from Antoin.

Dabo- Destil Hostel in Tirana will be hosting a music night on Nov. 16 by Dabo starting at 9 p.m.. The musical alter-ego of artist Donald Braho, Dabo is known for his hypnotic sounds mainly within the genre of electronic music, -techno, electro, breaks,- mixed with beats of funk, pop, and jazz. Adding vocals, his sets are discerned among the audience, in an appraisal to his added scenic performance along with the musical combinations. 

Ledri Vula- Nightclub Folie Terrace will host a party on Nov. 16 starting at 11 p.m., under the music of Kosovo rapper Ledri Vula, a favorite among the Albanian audience.

Tiri & Band- Garage Tirana is hosting a live music event Friday, Nov. 16 starting at 10 p.m., where musicians Tiri Gjoci followed by Sokol Turdiu will be playing live for the audiences. 

Butrint Imeri- Nightclub Cinco Cavalli in Tirana will be hosting a party on Nov. 16 starting at 11:30 p.m., under the music of artis Butrint Imeri. Imeri is an R&B and soul singer, newly emerging at the Albanian scene.

Sabri Fejzullahu- Night club Magic 4 at Italia boulevard will be hosting a musical event on Nov. 16, with musician Sabri Fejzullahu, starting at 11 p.m..

Lollipop- Nightclub Lollipop will be hosting a party on Nov. 16 starting at 11:30 p.m., on the theme of Unizkm’s Selfie Party. The music is brought by celebrated Albanian musician, Dj Sardi. 

Irkenc Hyka- Nightclub Folie Terrace will be hosting another party on Nov. 17 starting at 11 p.m., under the music of renowned musician Irkenc Hyka, an Albanian R&B soul singer, favorite among youth.

West Side Family & Buta- Nightclub L’arena Premium Club on Elbasan St. will be hosting a party on Nov. 17, starting at 11 p.m.. Invited will be beloved hip-hop and rap music group West Side Family, in a collaboration with rapper Buta.

Gerta Mahmutaj & Band- Bla Bla Public Bar in Tirana hosts a musical night with R&B soul singer Gerta Mahmutaj on Nov. 22, starting at 9 p.m.. Gerta is a newly emerging musician in the Albanian music scene.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Nov. 13- A few days ago the underwater archeology team led by underwater archeologist Adrian Anastasi, found a piece of relic at the Cape of Rodon. The 20-meter-long relic is part of a very old sunken shipwreck found near the beach by the team, which is alleged to be around 300-400 years old. This is the fourth relic found in this area, thus the piece was symbolically named ‘Rodon 4.’ After being photographed, the pieces went into the process of conservation and the respective institutions are taking care of it.
The underwater team led by Anastasi is working in finalizing an underwater archeology map regarding the artefacts in the coastline to be given to the respective authorities to prevent diving and possible looting. The members working are volunteering archeologists and professional divers who are depended from the Ministry of Culture. Tens of sunken shipwrecks are found buried in our coasts, with worthy relics, but with a history that needs to be explored and transmitted to the public.
‘’These sunken ships of different situations and times have the potential to turn into tourist attractions, not only for the passionate divers, but also to those passionate of exploring and archeology,’’ said Denis Nova, team member. Nova is a diving instructor to the international association ‘’Padi,’’ and a passionate explorer who has inspected the depths of Adriatic and Ionian seas.
This initiative became stronger after ‘’treasure pirates’’ were diving to the shipwrecks and ripping out various relics of their bodies. These relics were then sold to the national and international black markets. Sounds like a Hollywood movie plot, but this is happening in our coasts, and these treasure hunters of the seas are damaging historically significant objects and stealing national property.
Yet, Nova says that there is a lack of control and concern from the respective authorities towards the coastlines and what lies underneath. Under these conditions, the team calls out an alarming situation and requires the strengthening of a monitoring control group from the adequate responsible authorities. 
‘’Most of the ships are damaged from persons whose objective was antiques or worthy objects trading,’’ said Nova.
He goes on to point out that more ships will be harmed if necessary measures won’t be taken from state institutions to monitor and protect them. That’s a pity as these ships and the objects found in them have an historical significance, both from the two world wars, from during the communist regime, and most interestingly since the Illyrians. These ships could be used in the benefit of tourism, archeology and diving.

“The finds show ancient sources are in contradiction to what we are finding underwater. The coastline of ancient Illyria was not only populated by pirate population, but the fact that many commercial ships loaded with wine, cooking oil and other products were discovered near our coast shows of a trade exchange between Illyria and other Mediterranean regions,” has earlier said Auron Tare, director of the National Coastline Agency of Albania (NCAA).

Nova also said that if authorities intervene, there will also be a chance to preserve the biodiversity in our seas which has been harmed from the uncontrolled use of explosives.

This situation is especially estranging because the coasts were undergoing a conjoint mission between NCAA and Virazon II, an archeological team vessel of Texas-based Institute of Nautical Archeology (INA). The mission sought to inspect and build a museum of underwater cultural heritage. 

A meeting was conducted between the two teams and the Albanian authorities to protect the coastlines and the discoveries from looting, and accelerate the working from the show-case of the findings. Apparently the legislation is still pending since earlier July 2018 when the mission started, even though a significant work is being done, and also with a intervention from an American agency. 
                    [post_title] => Underwater archaeology mission finds relics
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                    [post_date] => 2018-11-09 11:24:58
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Nov. 7- Tirana Mayor Erion Veliaj has participated in the European Capital Cities of Culture conference, which was held in Florence from Nov. 7 until 9. The conference discusses the role of culture in society and economic development of the cities, and was attended by local leaders, art experts and renowned representatives, etc. 

Until year 2022, the European Capital Cities of Culture are already pre-designed and awarded. The cities are as following: Leeuwarden-Friesland and Valletta for 2018, Plovdiv (Bulgaria) and Matera (Italy) for 2019, Rijeka (Croatia) and Galway (Ireland) for 2020, Timișoara (Romania), Elefsina (Greece) and Novi Sad (Serbia, candidate country) for 2021; and Kaunas (Lithuania) and Esch (Luxembourg) for 2022.

The title for the 2023 Capital City is ongoing in Hungary, and for the 2024 was recently opened in a call by Austria and Estonia, for which the conference was about. Veliaj put Tirana as a candidate for Europe’s Capital City of Europe 2024, considering all the major changes having happened to this capital recently, with the on-going artistic events, exhibitions, the Tirana International Film Festival, the sculptures and architectural rehabilitation, etc.. 

‘’Albania has applied as a candidate for 2024, that is why we are using this excellent opportunity among the capital cities, to lobby our candidature. Thanks to the contribution to our friend, Dario Nardella, Florence Mayors, our twin town, I believe that Albania has good chances, taking into account it has the support of these towns in preparing its candidate for 2024,’’ said Veliaj.

He took a parallelism with the Olympic Games, World Cup and other activities which start preparations four to five years prior to the event taking place, so everything will be in order for its thrifting performance. This drawing means that Tirana will be taking the same measures so it will have the same opportunities as any other candidate capital in winning this award.

Veliaj said that with the support of the government an attention has been put to arts and culture by manifolding the budget to its disposal. He stressed that it doesn’t account only to art and theatre, but also to business, tourism, economic benefits. The European Commission will also be giving its support to this cause, and as we already have various theatres and museums in Tirana, more diverse events are yet to come alive. 

 
                    [post_title] => Tirana running for ‘’European Capital City of Culture 2024’’
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                    [post_date] => 2018-11-09 11:23:20
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Nov. 7- Xhanfise Keko is an Albanian director of 12 artistic films for children who operated during the communist regime from 1952-84, and holds the title of People’s Artist received in 1984. She is the first Albanian children’s film director and a pioneer in the genre for our country. She has also received international awards and recognition.

Her beloved films are still viewed with sentimentalism and laughter in Albanian television screens even nowadays. The elders to remind the simple times, and teach simple lessons to their successors. Right and wrong, compassion, friendship, originality, bravery, listening to your parents, etc., are some of the themes surrounding the plots. 

There are three films which are lately screened in Copenhagen. ‘Tomka and his friends’ and ‘Spoilt Mimoza’ were screened on Nov. 7, whereas ‘When a movie was directed’ will be screened on Nov. 9.

‘Tomka and his friends’ centers around Tomka, a small boy who likes to play football with his friends. The nazis however, enter the town and seize the field. Tomka and some elders start to organize actions against the military camp located in the field.

‘Spoilt Mimoza’ surrounds the life and attitude of a spoilt little girl who throws her friends out of her house, until she ends up alone and repentant playing with her inanimate dolls. 

‘When a film was directed’ tells the story of little Gent who is distressed because his parents are separated due to microburgoise standing his father holds against his mother. This is happening while he is acting in a children’s film that is being directed in his town.

Albanian films of this era are being restored to project in contemporary forms. More and more films are getting out of the national archives, and are getting more international attention to a country which had a strict censorship against art, and when artists had to prove themselves more than just creative in producing and exhibiting their work.

 
                    [post_title] => Beloved Albanian films screened in Copenhagen 
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                    [post_date] => 2018-11-09 11:08:01
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Nov. 8- A beloved figure for the Albanian culture is Pietro Marubi, claimed as the first photographer in our country, operating in Shkodra in the end of the 19th century. His legacy doesn’t consist in his own personally photographed pictures, but in the inheritance from his successors. 

Originally an Italian immigrant, Pietro Marubi arrived in Shkodra in 1850 due to political reasons, and founded the first photography business in Albania. The method he was using was with wet plates, collodions. He was assisted by two brothers, Rrok and Kel Kodheli, and after Marubi’s death in 1903, Kel took the business and adopted the last name too.

Kel Marubi started advancing the techniques in photography, by using special effects and learning to retouch the negatives. He also acquired more advanced cameras in order to take pictures outside his studio. 

This cultural inheritance is well-documented in the National Museum of Photography ‘Marubi’ in Shkodra. 170 pictures of its collection will be exhibited at Triennale in Milan from Nov. 16 until Dec. 9 2018, in a collaboration between ‘Marubi’ Museum, La Triennale and Museo di Fotografia Contemporanea (Museum of Contemporary Photography). 

Photography has made some pretty significant progress nowadays by integrating with technology and allowing everything to turn into a photographic objective. We are able to photograph everything, our meals, the sunsets, our outfits, the street, etc., at all times we find it fit and appropriate (or not) to our wills and desires. 

But a century ago when photography was being discovered and developed, the whole process of it was quite ceremonial. People would dress in their best clothing, would commit to various preparations, both psychological, for this new thing will reproduce their image into a small picture, but also appear in the proper emotional state. 

During the communist regime, photographs were made in special occasions, even though the technology was much more advanced than that of beginning 20th century. That is because it was expensive to produce pictures, and thus would only be taken on birthdays, weddings and other family celebrations of significance; during the national independence days, May 1st (laborers’ day), etc. 

There 500 thousand negatives that the ‘Marubi’ Museum holds, which depict standings, portraits, outfits, information regarding the time from when the pictures originate, the social status of the individuals, etc.. 170 pictures of Pietro and Gege Marubi, Kel Kodheli (Marubi), Pici, Jakova, Rraboshta and Nenshati were chosen from curator Zef Paci for the exhibition ‘’Marubi archive. The photographic ritual.’’ (L’archivio Marubi. Il rituale fotografico.).

‘’The exhibition is built around the confrontation of ritualistic structure and the practical one inside the the studio,’’ said Paci. 

Many photographs are a result of a long process. They depict unique gestures and objects. We find process, alchemy, special environment, attitude in them. They grasp an alienation of the individual in those pictures, in symbolization of the ritual of photoshooting. 

Paci said that there were the pictures themselves who led him to their selection and idea of the exhibition. The selection was made on some photographs that were labeled as useless, due to their topology, positions, or reflections that contradicted the values of the system. There is still unknown history, or biased history regarding our nation, and these pictures complement the image of what has happened. 

‘’We have a history with many ups and downs, and sometimes the written history is only a version of the real facts. It is a window to the past and if we combine them with additional facts, it might be useful to understand more,’’ said Paci.

 
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            [post_date] => 2018-11-23 11:02:36
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            [post_content] => TIRANA, Nov. 19- A commemoration of the 550th anniversary of George Castriot Skanderbeg, Albania’s national hero, was celebrated in the Vatican, where Pope Francis welcomed a group of Albanian pilgrims of various religions, Arbereshe people and other renowned intellectual, cultural and political figures of the country. 

He greeted all the guests in words of solidarity and friendship, naming it an ancient bond of habitual relations with the See of Peter. He noted the ancient and glorious history of Albania, with a unique culture which is essential for Europe. 

The Holy Father said that George Castriot Skanderbeg is a heroic son of strong and generous people. He added that Skanderbeg defended spiritual values and the Christian name with courage. 

‘’Skanderbeg forged the Albanian cultural identity with his deeds, becoming an undisputed symbol of cohesion and national unity,’’ said Pope Francis during the celebration event for Scanderbeg in Rome.

‘’The particular importance of the figure and work of Castriote is well represented by your flag, with the double-headed black eagle on a red background, which copies the hero’s coat of arms. Rarely in history has a single individual embodied in such a clear way and also in such a large measure, the virtues of a people, to the point that it’s difficult to understand the spirit without pausing to consider the principles and values that animated this unique personality,’’ the Pope added.

 

After Skanderbeg's death a lot of Christian Albanians emigrated, and the country was subsequently invaded by the Ottoman Empire. The Pope linked this with the youth migration Albania is facing nowadays. 

He said that this anniversary shouldn’t be limited to the celebration of the glory received from past deeds done. Instead the Pope encouraged to use history as an opportunity to for all institutions and citizens to renew their commitment in favour of an authentic and balanced development for the country, so that the young people won’t be forced to migrate. 

The climate of mutual respect, trust and cooperation of the Catholic, Orthodox, Muslim people and clerics, shows the peaceful coexistence between the citizens belonging of different religions. This coexistence is a concrete viable path which produces harmony, frees the best forces and creativity in a nation, that leads to true collaboration and brotherhood. 

‘’The example of Skanderbeg has validly expressed the Albanian character,’’ said Pope Francis regarding the cohabitation. 

In this celebration a number of national and international celebrities were invited, such as Ermal Meta, Dua Lipa, Olen Çezari, Inva Mula, Kledi Kadiu, Genc Tukiçi, Rame Lahaj, Elhaida Dani, Lorik Cana, Eno Peci, Erza Muqolli. An hour after the Pope spoke, tenor Rame Lahaj held a musical session in honor of the guests.

Prior to this celebration, Pope Saint Paul VI awaited the Albanians of diaspora in 1968, in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Skanderbeg’s death. Albania at the time was suffering the communist regime of Enver Hoxha. 

 

 
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