The Accursed Mountains

Last week, in a post about Istog, Kosovo, I mentioned Albania’s Accursed Mountains. One of my blog readers (hi, Mindyandy!) asked about the name.

The Accursed Mountains (or Bjeshkët e Namuna in Shqip [Albanian]) got their name because of their massiveness and density. My friend Ingrid wrote this guest blog post about her adventures hiking in Albania.

You could see the craggy peaks of the Albanian Alps in the distance. They looked imposing. Another name for them is the Accursed Mountains. This part of Albania is known for its rugged isolation, both of the environment and its native people, and until recently, few outsiders ventured there.— Ingrid Lantz

Albania (well, all of the Balkans) has a varied history. A book that’s on my to-read list (I first saw it in a bookstore in Tirana, Albania) is Albania’s Mountain Queen.


Here’s a description from Amazon:

Young ladies in the Victorian and Edwardian eras were not expected to travel unaccompanied, and certainly not to the remote corners of Southeast Europe, then part of the crumbling Ottoman Empire. But Edith Durham was no ordinary lady. In 1900, at the age of 37, Durham set sail for the Balkans for the first time, a trip which changed the course of her life. Her experiences kindled a profound love of the region which saw her return frequently in the following decades. She became a confidante of the King of Montenegro, ran a hospital in Macedonia and, following the outbreak of the First Balkan War in 1912, became one of the world’s first female war correspondents. Her popularity in the region earned her the affectionate title ‘Queen of the Mountains’ and she is fondly remembered in Albania until this day. Marcus Tanner here tells the fascinating story of Durham’s relationship with the Balkans, painting a vivid portrait of a remarkable, if sometimes formidable, woman.

The book was nearly 30 Euro at the bookstore, so I didn’t buy it. But once I track down a (hopefully cheaper) copy and read it, I’ll post a review.

I hope this post answered your question, Mindyandy!

If anyone is interested to learn more about Albania, here are some links to previous blog posts I’ve written:

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