Pogradec Erseka Korca Devoll
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Get to Know Devoll


Devoll   The Devoll region lies in the southeast corner of Albania. Named for the Devoll river which flows westward before joining with the Osumi in central Albania, Devoll shares a border with the Greek prefectures of Florina and Kastoria at the border of Kapshtica.  

   The administrative center of Devoll is the city of Bilisht located in the lower plains of Devoll County at the base of Dry Mountain. The elevation of Bilisht is 930 meters above sea level and covers an area of 400 hectares. The population is approximately 10.000 inhabitants. The city is built downwards on the sloping foothills to the flat surface of the national highway. Bilisht has a healthy Mediterranean climate. The winters are cold, wet and often snowy, whereas, the summers are warm and at times very hot. Since the hills above the city are filled with limestone, they are barren. At the highest southern point of Bilisht, a reservoir lies with a water capacity of 1.5 million m3. The city’s growth and development are evident by how she spreads out over six large neighborhoods. On the eastern side a large water fountain, known as Çezma e Madhe, was erected during the last century between 1914 and 1918, while the cobblestone roads were paved from the well into the center of the city. 

   The excellent geographical location of Bilisht connects the capital of Albania with Greece by two highways. The Custom’s House of Kapshtica is seven kilometers from Bilisht. This is one of Albania’s most important border crossings. Around 3000 years ago, people inhabited Bilisht as verified by the ancient arch from that era. Ruins of an Illyrian castle stand on one of the hills above the city. Following this period, other early dwellers settled Selca near the southern center of present day Bilisht. Some of the excavated walls and building foundations reveal traces and inscriptions from the Church of Saint Christopher. Just north of the Devoll River are other vestiges of settlements. They are called Qypkat and Berzanj by the local residents. Perhaps, these were another group that finally inhabited Bilisht. By the end of the 19th and the start of the 20th Centuries, Bilisht became an important artisan and trade center. During the successive administrative divisions from 1912 through 2009, Bilisht has been at different times a sub-prefecture (nënprefekturë), a district seat (qendër rrethi), and a municipality (bashki). Bilisht has been a center of national activity. The patriot Ali Çaush Vërleni contested for his homeland. He was killed while defending Albania’s rights to all of her territory. During 1915 and 1916 A.D., Themistokli Gërmenji, another famous patriot, worked for his nation in Bilisht. The city has a great tradition of promoting education. In 1917, the city’s first elementary school was started in a Teqe, a Bektashi holy site, near the Fountain Çezmës së Madhe. In 1933 a new school building was built at Kalinçja.