Moscopoli ( Voskopojë in Albanian) is an ancient village to see in south-eastern Albania both for the beauty of its splendidly frescoed churches and for the relaxed atmosphere that reigns, between mountains and cultivated fields.
It is an Albanian tourist destination that is located near Korca but, if desired, it is possible to stay on site because, unlike other small Albanian towns in the hinterland, here you will find hotels and restaurants prepared to welcome tourists, both in summer and in winter.
- The history of Moscopoli
- What to see in Voscopoja
- What to do in Moscopoli near Korca
- Useful tips for visiting Voscopoja
The history of Moscopoli
Today Moscopoli is a fraction of Corizza in south-eastern Albania but in the eighteenth century it was one of the major cities of the Balkans , standing out for the presence of the first printing house in the Balkan Peninsula and numerous churches. Voscopoja was razed to the ground in 1788 by Alì Pascià di Tepeleni Albanian governor of the Ottoman Empire of Epirus but the sacking of the city continued even during the First World War so that in 1916 Voskopoja was devastated by fire.
Inhabited village starting from 1330, in the fifteenth century, it was occupied by the Ottomans who expanded the city as a commercial center and reached its peak in 1750, when its population grew to almost 30,000 inhabitants. Voscopoje was known for its Academy, for its library, for being an important center of craftsmen and textiles and obviously for its frescoed churches. In the past the churches of Moscopoli were 24 but only seven survive today.
What to see in Moscopoli
The churches of Moscopoli are full of frescoes painted by famous Albanian post-Byzantine painters, including David Selenica and the Zografi brothers, and remain to testify to the importance of the city as a cultural and intellectual center of the entire South of Albania and northern Epirus .
These are the main reason for arriving at what is now a small mountain village located 20 kilometers west of Corizza surrounded by the beautiful Morava mountains and fields. The churches of Voscopoja are real treasures of Albanian art, among them do not miss the Church of San Nicola , the Church of Santa Maria , the Church of San Atanasio , that of San Michele , the church of S. Elia and the Monastery of San Giovanni Battista . Their wall paintings are wonderful and comparable to those of the great monasteries of Greece.
At the monastery of San Prodhon , every year, on June 24, many visitors come from the city of Coriza and not only to attend what was the religious service in the past. To visit the churches, just call the tourist office which will open them and organize a small guided tour (you will find the directions on the church doors).
What to do in Voscopoja near Korca
Located at 1,150 meters above sea level, between high mountains, forests and green fields it is a typical Balkan country and if the churches of Voskopoja are certainly the main attraction, the village is also a perfect destination for those who want to enjoy nature and go trekking.
In the town you will find very well organized hotels and restaurants , in winter there is snow and many choose it as a ski destination. Also a tradition of the area is beekeeping and in the village you can buy the delicious wildflower honey from Voskopoja. But of course, just like in the rest of Albania, here too there are some dishes not to be missed including the traditional pie cooked in the fire, meat on the spit, plum rakia.
Tips for visiting Moscopole
If you decide to sleep in Corizza – which is about 30 minutes from Moscopoli on a road in excellent condition – we recommend the Bujtina Leon Apartments . It is a property that rents apartments in a quiet area of Korca , near the center. The apartments are well equipped and clean.
And if you are thinking of a road trip, we advise you not to leave without a tourist guide of the Land of Eagles . There are not many on the market in Italian, this guide of Albania is suitable for those looking for different itineraries, this one from Polaris is very well done as regards historical and cultural news and then there is the Lonely Planet of Albania .