Pogradec Erseka Korca Devoll
Welcome to Kolonja!!

Dear Guests,

Welcome to Kolonja, where in addition to the rich natural beauty, you will also find cultural monuments, tradition and a joyful spirit reflected in our hospitality.

Here you will find friendly people, unique local goods, traditionalfood, and traditional arts, architecture, and culture.

The people of Kolonja look forward to your visit!

During your stay you can taste our traditional food, such as spit-roasted lamb and traditional drinks, such as home-made wine and raki, produced from the grapes grown here in the region.

For those of you who enjoy the outdoors, the mountainous Kolonja terrain provides hiking opportunities for all skill levels. The Osumi River cuts through the region offering a great opportunity for those who don’t mind getting wet while trekking and hiking.

The culture and traditions of Kolonja have been well-preserved in villages such as Rehova and others, where the residents continue to live much as their ancestors have for generations. In Rehova village the traditional stone homes provide a peek into Kolonjas’ past.

Getting to Kolonja

International Visitors

“Mother Theresa” in Tirana (Rinas) = 250 km north of Erseka.

“Macedonia Airport” in Thessaloniki, Greece = 194 southeast of Erseka.

The Greek Three Bridges is nearest border crossing and is located 75km south of Erseka. The Kaphstice border crossing, north of Erseka and near Korça, is about 80 km away. There are many buses that run between Thessaloniki and Korça, using this border crossing for this 4-5 hour trip.

The closest border crossing to Macedonia is through Tushmeshit near Pogradec/ Lake Ohrid, about 97 km north of Erseka.

Traveling within Albania:

From Tirana, catch the 9am Erseka bus daily in front of Sheraton Hotel (Cost is 700 lek) or a furgon to Korça (700 lek Tirana-Korça) and then another one to Erseka (200 lek). A total trip of 225km and taking about 5 hours.

From Saranda and Gjirokaster, take the Gjirokaster or Saranda bus to Korça. You will pass by Erseka along the way; tell the driver you wish to get off in Erseka when you pay. The trip from Saranda takes about 6-8 hours.

From Vlore or Berat, take a bus to Korça and then transfer to a furgon for Erseka.

If you have arrived on a mini-bus coming from the north into Korça, you will need to walk about 1 kilometer south on the main street to reach the location where the Erseka bound furgons depart from, which is on the right-hand side of the divided road next to a fruit stand before you reach the Korça City Hall.

If traveling by private car, Erseka is located along the National road, about a 45 minute drive south from Korça. Guidebooks and Albanian Maps can be bought at major bookstores in Tirana and Korça.

The Land and its People

All Kolonjars are proud of their patriotism, hard-won freedom, and strong educational traditions. We are a hard-working and cultured people with a long history of preserving traditions and values, while embracing the positive aspects from the changing world around.

The traditions of creating handy-crafts such as woodcarvings, stone-carvings, and carpet weaving are still kept alive and well here, giving you the opportunity to purchase unique gifts. In the village of Borova, a man named Nasho Zhidro is known throughout Albania for his beautiful woodcarvings.

Agriculture and raising livestock are the primary industries in the Kolonja region. Known throughout Albania for its delicious apples, the Kolonja region produces 947 tons of apples a year. Another emerging agro-product in the area is honey. With over 70 beekeepers in the area, you can purchase fresh, locally produced honey anywhere in Kolonja.

A Tour through Time

The Kolonja region was originally inhabited by the Desarete Illyrian tribes.

Kolonja’s strategic location attracted many foreign invaders. However, The region’s population managed to resist these many invasions, beginning with revolts during the Roman and Ottoman Empires, right up to Albania’s Independence Day, in November 1912.

Kolonja has played a special role in Albania’s history. This region produced many distinguished ideologists, creative writers, and talented, zealous teachers furthering the cause of Albanian education, as well as many brave partisan leaders who hold an honored place in our national memory.

Folklore and Culture: Archeology, Music, and Customs


Kolonja’s long history during the Neolithic period (6000-3000 BC) has been documented by archeological remains which have been discovered in the dwelling of Nina’s Stone in the village of Luaras and one artifact that was discovered in the village of Kamnik.

Habitation during the Copper Period (3000-2100 BC) was confirmed by the discovery of a copper grave and imported dish from the archeological site of Dimini in the town of Thesalise in Macedonia was discovered in the village of Kamnik.
The Bronze Period (2100-1100 BC) was established by cultural material discovered in the dwelling of Nina’s Stone and Big Rock in the village of Luaras. Of particular interest are graves discovered in the Tumulare Tombs of Prodan, Rehova, Psarr, Shtike, and Borova.

Habitation during the Iron Period (0-1000 BC) was confirmed by the discovery of open forts in the villages of Prodan, Pradelle, and Borove as well as Illyrian circle forts in Hollmin of Qinam, Hasi of Radanjit, Gradec (Bejkove), Cuka of Borova, and the fort of Gradecit (Vrepcke), Bejkova, Boshanj, and Qesarak.
To date, none of these archeological sites have been developed for visitors. However, the Erseka Ethnographic museum has archeological artifacts from these sites and portrayed them in a historical context.

Music and Arts

Kolonja, like most other regions in Albania, has its own music, dance, and traditional dress. The Kolonjars carry on these traditions by teaching new generations these skills.
Kolonja is represented by one folk group that is most well known for its song titled “Neither Small Nor Big” and “Folk Harmony”, which is known for interpreting Kolonjar song, dance, and melody. Many of the songs focus on the traditions surrounding a bride’s entrance into her new family and other traditions.

Kolonja embraces its musical and cultural traditions by hosting regular concerts in both Erseka’s main theater and on the public stage located in the town center.

Ask a local restaurant or hotel representative or check in at the Erseka Town Hall to see if any events are scheduled during your stay. The employees in the Development Coordination Office speak English, ask for Lindita Beqo.


Due to its rural setting, the Kolonja region has maintained many of its traditional customs, more so than more urbanized areas of Albania. Some of these customs include the following the proud tradition of hospitality towards guests, and harvesting and preparing food for the long winter during the cool Fall months.

Raki is a traditional alcoholic drink made from grapes, plums, and other fruits. Be warned, it is powerful! However, Kolonjars enjoy this drink by sipping it while enjoying each other’s company. It is never drunk as a shot or mixed with a non-alcoholic drink.

The Kolonjars are known for their hospitality. It is customary to serve a guest a drink when they enter someone’s home, for men this is often homemade raki, while women will often be served Turkish coffee. Hosts will pour a drink for themselves and toasting your health and your family’s health. Before leaving, guests will be served a sweet or candy treats.

Fall is a time of harvest in Kolonja. During September and October, Kolonjars can be found collecting walnuts from the trees, collecting fresh, wild mushrooms, and gathering a unique red berry called a Shqipkathat is best served dried and then boiled in mountain tea, also collected during this time of year.
Kolonjar women enjoy the fresh autumn air while drying the flour mixture for çorbë, (a breakfast meal) and petka, dried, flat dough, androshnica, small dough granules, both of which are served boiled with hot butter.

Kolonja Products

  • Locally produced honey available throughout Kolonja
  • Wine and raki from Leskovik
  • Woodcarvings by Nasho Zhiro in Borova
  • Handmade table cloths and coverings sold in Erseka
  • Organic herbs such as sage and mountain tea available throughout Kolonja
  • Wednesday markets where you can buy new and used clothing, shoes, and household items at the outdoor market near the football stadium and produce and fish at the indoor market near the library.