The region of Korça lies in the Southeast of Albania, on the eastern side of the Central Mountains.The region includes three cities: Korça (the capital of the region), Bilisht and Maliq, as well as 27 smaller communes.The City of Korça is one of the major cities of Albania.It lies in the southeast of the region at the foot of the Morava Mountains, with an elevation of 869 meters above sea level. The region is surrounded by rugged mountains and foothills—the city itself is bordered by the Morava Mountains to the east and the rugged mountains of Gora, Voskopoja and Vithkuq to the west.Towering to the north is Oak Mountain (Mali i Qarrit), and bordering to the south is Dry Mountain (Mali i Thate).Lower areas include the valley of Korça, one of the area’s largest, as well as the valley of Upper Devoll.The region of Korça is rich with underground water resources and lakes, the most important of which is the Devoll River, including the Dunavec and Osumi tributaries.This zone includes the headwaters of three Albanian rivers (Devoll, Shkumbin and the Osum).Major lakes in the area include Great Prespa and Little Prespa. Korça is bordered on the north by the city of Pogradec (41 kilometers away), on the south by Erseka (45 kilometers away) on the east by Bilisht (27 kilometers away), and on the west by Skapari.The City of Korça itself is 181 kilometers from the Tirana, Albania’s capital city.
Korça is characterized by a climate that is part Mediterranean mountain, and part continental, with cold winters and hot and dry summers.The average yearly temperature is 10.6ºC.The coldest month is January, and the hottest month is August.The wettest month is November, with average rainfall totals of 104 millimeters, while the average yearly total for rain is 720 millimeters. The region is characterized by different local winds such as the Voskopoja wind, Southwest wind, and winds from Morava, Devollka, and other places.
The population of the City of Korça is 130,531.Following the 1990s, the city experienced significant emigration of the population both to other places in the country and abroad.In addition to ethnic Albanians, the region around Korça includes Aromanians, Slavs and Roma.
Korça is predominately comprised of Orthodox Christian and Sunni Muslim adherents.In addition, there are other faiths in the region, including Bektashi Muslims and Evangelical Christians. Korça is considered by many to be a symbol of interfaith harmony and understanding.
Korça is an important transportation hub linking Central Albania with roads to the regions of Devoll, Kolonje, Permet and Pogradec. In addition, Korça is connected by the national road with Greece including the nearby cities of Thessaloniki, Larisa and others.The main automobile routes include Korça-Elbasan-Tirana, Korça-Erseka, and Korça-Bilisht-Kapshtica.
The ethnographic provinces of the region are: Gora, Opari, Devolli, and Prespa.Local craft traditions include working with wool (felt, cloaks, shirts and carpets), thick leather goods with cotton, or woodworking.Voskopoja was traditionally known for its export of felt, Dardha for woodworking, Bradovica for its clay pottery, Progri for house building, and Opari for its woodworking and cobblestones.
Working the clay is one of the oldest crafts and is the basic element used for the production of dishes and furniture. Clay working constitutes the art of pottery that takes the forms and dimensions of the author. It is the oldest craft dating 8,000 years ago. The craft that together with earth and clay, water and fire, creates the foundations of civilization of the world, also having influenced in the development of human existence. The art of ceramics embodied in the works of an artist, flows from antiquity, nowadays with its modern lines and shapes, is used to decorate the working and living environment.
“Vasi Kolevica Art” an art gallery in the heart of Korça, carries on its premises warmth of ceramic art. This gallery brings fragrances of millennial clay artistically figured to work in the new millennium, without alienating them with the same flavor, through the talented hands of this artists inspired by nature, creativity and love.
Korça is known for its delicious traditional cooking., including byrek or lakror (savory pie) with two layers cooked in a wood fired oven, special preparations of the wild carp native to Lake Prespa,the famous dried and salted cironka (bleakfish), as well as the cooking of wild game and fowl.Traditional Korça dishes include savory pies baked over woodfires (petanik, lakror and përvëlak) and small spiced sausages. The village of Vithkuq is famous for its walnuts and tea, roasted meat and dairy, while the village ofDardha is most known for its take on the local savory lakror pie with two layers, baked in a wood fire oven.Particularly unique local flavors include the ligavece from Dardha, snails, local mushrooms and lakror pie with cornmeal. Of course, no visit to Korça would be complete without trying the famous Korça Beer, still brewed locally at the first brewery to ever open in Albania.
The serenades of Korça are songs characteristic to the region, usually sung with guitar and mandolin accompaniment.This particular style of song, though unique to Korça, is famous throughout all of Albania. The songs usually reflect on the sweetness of sadness of true love, and represent an original and local way of musical expression.Famously, these songs would be sung by a love-struck man, standing under the balcony of the mischievous girl he desired, or beside the iron railing of a courtyard garden, or around the evening table filled with traditional food and drink.Serenades reached their peak popularity in the 1930s, but continue to be sung today with live music in bars and restaurants, and in the homes of Korça families.