Albanians from the Museum

Though the National Albanian Museum may not be the most famous attraction in Tirana, it still has some interesting things to see. I was interested in seeing all the portraits of the people whose names I see everywhere on the streets, plus others with some interesting poses.

Here they are (biographies from wikipedia, portraits from the museum)

Girolamo de Rada (Arbëresh: Jeronim de Rada) (1814 – 1903) was an Italian writer of Italo-Albanian of Arbëreshë descent, he was the foremost figure of the Albanian National Awakening in 19th Italy.

The most popular of his literary works is the Canti di Milosao (Songs of Milosao), known in Albanian as Këngët e Milosaos, a long romantic ballad portraying the love of Milosao, a fictitious young nobleman in fifteenth-century Shkodra (Scutari), who has returned home from Thessalonica. Here, at the village fountain, he encounters and falls in love with Rina, the daughter of the shepherd Kollogre. The difference in social standing between the lovers long impedes their union until an earthquake destroys both the city and all semblance of class distinction. After their marriage abroad, a child is born. But the period of marital bliss does not last long. Milosao’s son and wife soon die, and he himself, wounded in battle, perishes on a riverbank within sight of Shkodra.

Dora d’Istria (January 22, 1828, Bucharest – November 17, 1888, Florence), pen-name of duchess Helena Koltsova-Massalskaya, born Elena Ghica, was a Romanian Romanticwriter and feminist.

The family’s history and fame, as well as it’s putative Albanian origins, are mostly known to the Western readers from Princess Elena Ghica’s memories, Gli Albanesi in Rumenia. Storia dei principi Ghika (“The Albanians in Romania. The history of the Ghica Princes”).

For Dora d’Istria (Elena Ghica’s nom de plume), the crumbly theory of an Albanian origin of the family’s founder, resurrected after several centuries of latent existence, proved to be very lucrative: it gave a new sense for her Romantic involvement in the Balkan people’s emancipation struggle.

Thimi Mitko (1820 in  Korçë – March 22, 1890) was  an Albanian rilindas and folklorist.

Mitko’s own collection of Albanian folklore, consisting of folk songs, tales and popular sayings from southern Albania, Bleta Shqipëtare (The Albanian Bee) was published in Alexandria, Egypt on 1878. According to Mitko, the collection was meant to provide Egypt’s flourishing Albanian community with information about Albanian customs. (interesting!)

Zef Jubani (1818–1880) born Zef Ndokillia was an Albanian folklorist, philosopher and activist of the Albanian National Awakening. He is known for the publication of a Collection of Albanian Folk Songs and Rhapsodies in the Gheg Albanian dialect. Jubani advocated the creation of a unique alphabet of the Albanian language.

Abdyl Frashëri People’s Hero of Albania (1839, Frashër, Përmet District, Albania – 23 October 1892, Istanbul, Turkey) was an Albanian diplomat, politician, writer, and a first political ideologue of the Albanian National Awakening[1] through the League of Prizren.

Jani Vreto (1822–1900) was an Albanian writer, publisher and important figure of the Albanian National Awakening.

In 1879 he became one of the founders of Shoqëri e të shtypuri shkronja shqip (English: Sociey for the Publication of Albanian Writing), an organization responsible for publishing Albanian textbooks and opening Albanian schools. Vreto transferred its headquarters from Istanbul toBucharest after the organization was banned by the Ottoman authorities. As a member of this society Vreto set up and operated the Albanian printing house of Bucharest playing an important role in the advancement of the Albanian movement.

At the same time he was excommunicated by the Orthodox metropolitan of Gjirokastër, who accused him of having committed heresy by “creating an Albanian question”.

Pashko Vasa (1825, Shkodër, Albania, Ottoman Empire – June 29, 1892, Beirut, Lebanon,Ottoman Empire) also known as Vaso Pasha or Vaso Pashë Shkodrani, was an Albanianwriter, poet and publicist of the Albanian National Awakening, and Governor of Lebanon from 1882 until his death.

On July 18, 1883 became Governor General of the Lebanon, a post reserved by international treaty for a Catholic of Ottoman nationality.   There he spent the last years of his life and died in Beirut after a long illness on June 29, 1892.

Together with other nationalist figures on the Bosphorus, such as Hasan Tahsini, Koto Hoxhi, Jani Vreto and Sami Frashëri, he played his part in the creation of an Albanian alphabet and in this connection published a 16-page brochure entitled L’alphabet Latin appliqué à la langue albanaise, Constantinople 1878 (The Latin alphabet applied to the Albanian language), in support of an alphabet of purely Latin characters.

Sami Frashëri (June 1, 1850, Frashër, Përmet, Albania, then Ottoman Empire – June 18, 1904) was an Ottoman Albanian writer, philosopher, playwright and a prominent figure of the Rilindja Kombëtare. 

He gained a place in Ottoman literature as a talented author under the name of Şemseddin Sami Efendi and contributed to the Ottoman Turkish language reforms.

However, Frashëri’s message, as declared in his book “Albania – What it was, what it is, and what will become of it” published in 1899, became the manifesto of the Albanian Renaissance (Rilindja Kombëtare). Frashëri discussed the prospects for a free and independent republic of Albania. In this way, beginning with a demand for autonomy and struggle for their own alphabet and education, he helped the Albanian National Liberation movement develop its claim for independence.

One response to “Albanians from the Museum

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