“Skanderbeg’s Year” to begin on Jan. 17 in Lezha

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times January 12, 2018 12:18

“Skanderbeg’s Year” to begin on Jan. 17 in Lezha

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  • Lezha is one of Skanderbeg’s Year main cities, as it is in Lezha where Skanderbeg was buried and where memorials of his patriotic activity can be found.

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TIRANA, Jan. 12 – 2018 has been declared “Skanderbeg’s Year”. Albania’s national hero passed away 550 years ago, on Jan. 17. In his honor, Prime Minister Edi Rama has launched a calendar of activities in different Albanian cities.

In a Facebook post last year, Rama said the government’s first decision would be declaring 2018 International Skanderbeg Year.

“A special commission will be established to organize and promote this year, when except for the 550-year-anniversary of our national hero’s death, three other anniversaries of outermost importance for our nation stand out,” Rama said.

Rama referred to the 140-year-anniversary of the founding of the national Prizren League and the 110-year-anniversary of Manastir’s Congress and the establishment of a unified alphabet of the Albanian language.

Lezha is one of Skanderbeg’s Year main cities, as it is in Lezha where Skanderbeg was buried and where memorials of his patriotic activity can be found.

Positioned between two of the most touristic Albanian cities, Kruja and Shkodra, Lezha is already preparing for Skanderbeg’s Year activities. The memorial of Lezha’s Assembly, where Skanderbeg united all Albanian princes against Ottoman invasion, and Skanderbeg’s grave memorial will kickstart the year’s activities.

Firstly, honoring ceremonies will take place next to Skanderbeg’s grave memorial, which the most notable personalities from all Albanian-speaking territories will attend.

“Lezha has prepared its own activities. Naturally, this is a death commemoration, but it will not be treated as such; it will be treated as an event that should be honored as often as possible by all generations,” Fran Frrokaj, Lezha’s mayor, told the Voice of America.

The memorial was built in 1981 in an archeologically rich area, where new objects and artifacts are still found every year by experts. Frrokaj valued the government’s initiative to declare 2018 Skanderbeg’s Year, saying it would lead to a heightened interest to visit the small Northern city and discover its historical and cultural values.

“I have also asked the government and the president to declare March 2nd a national holiday and honor Skanderbeg with a statue in Lezha. He is a figure with almost biblical importance – at least for us he is – and so we have asked for the government to do what the municipality’s funds can’t,” Frrokaj said.

During the country’s 105-year independence anniversary last October, Rama made the logo that is to officially represent the activities of Skanderbeg’s Year public.

“550 years after his death, he remains the symbol of unbreakable war for freedom and the strategist of the art of war that has inspired the nation for the last half century. Albanians had a figure that marked our nation’s continuation,” Rama said in Vlora back in October.

Frrokaj concluded that Skanderbeg’s life story should also become a powerful message for Albania’s current political situation.

“It is a good way to show politicians that Albanians, despite their religion, ethnicity or beliefs, can unite and this is a good chance to remind Albanians and politicians alike that we should unite and do more for our country, which is small in numbers but big in its idea,” Frrokaj said.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times January 12, 2018 12:18