The Mystery of the Accursed Mountains/Albanian Alps
Prepare to be amazed by one of Balkan’s finest mountain ranges, the Accursed Mountains (Bjeshkët e Nëmuna). Otherwise, known as the Albanian Alps or Prokletije (Serbian), they are spread between Albania, Kosovo, and Montenegro.
In Albania, they reach their highest point of 2694m called Peak of Jezerca. However, in the middle of the wilderness of nature, you will discover some small villages. There, besides the impressive scenery, you will also find the roots of some of the oldest Albanian traditions.
Why are they called the Accursed Mountains
Inevitably, this question pops up after witnessing the enchanting beauty of this place. Who would curse these alps?
There are a few different theories that explain the origin of the name. The first one is an old tale saying that the curse came from a woman. She was escaping the enemies through the Albanian Alps along with her children in the heat of a summer day. Hence, they start to get tired and thirsty, so the children keep begging their mother to find some water to drink. As much as she wanted to help her kids, there was no water on sight, and they just kept walking. Therefore, seeing them suffering, the woman cursed the mountains so that they never had water.
Another theory claims that the Accursed Mountains got their name from Slavic soldiers while trying to cross them. That is why many also know them under the name Prokletije, which means “cursed” in their language. Nevertheless, it is not certain what exactly gave the mountains this name.
Despite the different old stories, some of the most important Albanian tales and mythology indeed take place in the Albanian Alps. They emphasize the strength of the mountain people and their loyalty. The main mythological creature in these tales is fairies. They were considered inhabitants of the mountains and often seen as helpers of humans.
No wonder why many of the attractions in the alps get their names from these tales.
A True Wonder
Although their name is Accursed Mountains, Albania is blessed to have them. Some of the most remarkable experiences are the hike from Theth to Valbona and taking the ferry at Koman Lake. They are one of the most visited sites in our country and amaze tourists from all around the world. It is a region that promises astonishing views, wild nature, old traditions, and warm-hearted people.