Regional bands join Korça Carnival festival

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 13, 2017 14:01

Regional bands join Korça Carnival festival

polena

The famous “Polena” Carnival group, a predecessor of the Korça Carnival festival, also participated in the June 10 parade followed by a masked ball

TIRANA, June 13 – Carnival bands from Albania and the Balkan region paraded last weekend in Korça to celebrate the tenth edition of its international carnival festival in the southeastern Albania city nicknamed “The small Paris of Albania” and the “City of serenades.”

The parade, also marking the opening of the tourist season in the landlocked city known for its rich cultural heritage and mountain tourism, brought together bands from Albania, neighboring Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro as well as Bulgaria and Serbia, showcasing a diversity of costumes.

Many of the costumes also portrayed movie and theatre characters.

The famous “Polena” Carnival group, a predecessor of the Korça Carnival festival, also participated in the June 10 parade followed by a masked ball.

Differently from previous editions when social and political issues were comically treated, this year’s festival saw two main Albanian bands dressed in apples, the symbol fruit produced in Korça, and costumes dating back to World War I when Korça was known as the Autonomous Albanian Republic of Korça under French military protection for five years until 1920.

Zamira Kita, a popular actress who heads the local art and cultural center in Korça, says the Carnival festival has now become an annual tradition celebrating its tenth edition, adding to the popular beer and lakrori pie celebrations.

“There are two Carnival bands, strongly connected to Korça, competing for the first time, the Korça apples band as Korça is known for its massive apple production all over Albania and the band wearing costumes dating back to 100 years ago during the time of the Autonomous Republic of Korça,” Kita said ahead of the festival.

Mayor Sotiraq Filo said the Carnival festival serves promoting tourism in Korça, the biggest Albanian southeastern city.

“The Carnival festival symbolizes the opening of the tourist season in the city of Koça. We are very happy Korça is increasingly turning into a tourist destination with a rising number of local but also foreign visitors,” said Filo.

Korça has an early tradition of Carnival festival dating back to the 1940 when celebrations were accompanied by a mandolin, guitar and comic songs. Carnival celebrations were interrupted in the 1960s to restart only in the early 1990s after the collapse of communism.

The northern Albanian city of Shkodra, where a local plant produces Venetian masks, also regularly marks Carnival festivals, with an earlier tradition dating back to the 19th century.

The southeastern city of Korça has in the past couple of years had its old bazaar and medieval art museum restored making it more attractive to tourists.

Korça, also features a prehistoric museum, a national education museum where the first Albanian language school opened in 1878 and the Vangjush Mio house museum.

Korça is also known for its mountain and culinary tourism in the Dardhe and Boboshtice villages.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 13, 2017 14:01