Dropull (definite Albanian form: Dropulli; Greek: Δρόπολη or Δερόπολη) is a municipality and a predominantly Greek-inhabited region in Gjirokastër County, in southern Albania. The region stretches from south of the city of Gjirokastër to the Greek–Albanian border, along the Drino river. The region's villages are part of the Greek "minority zone" recognized by the Albanian government, in which live majorities of ethnic Greeks.[1]

Dawn near Jorgucat
Dawn near Jorgucat
Official logo of Dropull
Dropull is located in Albania
Municipality of Dropull
Dropull is located in Europe
Dropull (Europe)
Coordinates: 39°59′N 20°14′E / 39.983°N 20.233°E / 39.983; 20.233
Country Albania
 • MayorDhimitraq Toli (PS)
 • Total448.45 km2 (173.15 sq mi)
 • Total3,503
 • Density7.8/km2 (20/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Area Code(0)884
WebsiteOfficial Website

The municipality Dropull was created in 2015 by the merger of the former municipalities Dropull i Poshtëm, Dropull i Sipërm and Pogon. The seat of the municipality is the village Sofratikë.[2] According to the 2011 census the total population is 3,503,[3] while according to the civil registry of that year it is 23,247.[4] The municipality covers an area of 448.45 km2 (173.15 sq mi).[5]


A city called Hadrianopolis was founded in the region by the Roman emperor Hadrian (r. 117-138).[6][7] The Synecdemus of Hierocles, which contains a list of the administrative divisions and cities of the Byzantine Empire during the time of Theodosius II (r. 402-450), mentions the city of Αδριανούπολις (Adrianoúpolis) and places it in the region of Dropull.[8][9] With the gradual adoption of Christianity, the city became a diocese sometime before 431;[10] initially under the jurisdiction of the Metropolis of Nicopolis, and later under the Metropolis of Ioannina.[11] The diocese of Adrianoúpolis is mentioned in the sources without interruption, from the 5th century onwards.[12] In a letter of emperor Leo III (r. 717-741) to the metropolitan bishop of Nikopolis, the bishop of Adrianoúpolis (Αδριανουπόλεως) is also mentioned, while in a source at the end of the 12th century the latter is mentioned as bishop of Drinoúpolis (Δρινουπόλεως).[6] The relevant attestations also include the name Adernoboli, as recorded by the Arab traveler Muhammad al-Idrisi at the end of the 12th century.[6] Also, in the Chronicle of the Tocco, which was written at around 1400, the form Δερνόπολιν (Dernópolin) is attested.[6] According to Hammond, the first attestation of the name Drinoúpolis (Δρινούπολις) is from the 8th century, while according to Sakellariou from the 11th century as Dryinoúpolis (Δρυϊνούπολις);[13][14] however Kyriazis supports that this form was a literary creation.[6] The region is today called in Albanian Dropull or def. form Dropulli, and in Modern Greek Δρόπολη (Drópoli), Δερόπολη (Derópoli) or Dhropolis.


According to Çabej, Drópull has been formed from Drinópolis/Dryinópolis (Δρυϊνόπολις) which contains the name of the local river Drino; Drinópolis > Drópull.[15] According to Kyriazis, the etymology of Cabej is not convincing, because he ignores the former name of Adrianoúpolis.[6] Using the available attestations of the name, Kyriazis gave the following evolution, Αδριανούπολη (Adrianoúpoli) > Αdernoboli > Δερνόπολη (Dernópoli) > Δερόπολη/Δρόπολη (Derópoli/Drópoli); he added that the evolution of -ρν- > -ρ- (in reference to Dernópoli > Derópoli/Drópoli) is a common characteristic of the Greek dialects in southern Albania.[6]

Demiraj considers Dropull to derive from Hadriano(u)polis, as the most likely etymology.[7] He provided a number of reasons, which according to him, support the evolution of Hadrianopolis > Dropull within an Albanian-speaking population.[note 1] He added, that among the two current forms of Albanian Dropull and Greek Dhropolis, the original form is that with the initial /D-/. Furthermore, Albanian uses either the voiced dental occlusive /d/ or the voiced interdental fricative /ð/ (/dh/) (e.g. the name Dhrovjan), thus it wouldn't be difficult to borrow the Greek form Dhropol-is; whereas in Greek, the letter Δ/δ, which was once pronounced as a sound stop /d/, has long been pronounced only as a sound fricative /ð/ (/dh/). Thus, according to him, the Greek speakers of this area transformed the initial /D-/ into /ð-/ (/dh/) and replaced the final syllable -pull with the Greek form -polis, producing the form Dhro-polis.[17]


During the Middle Helladic period (2100-1550 BC), a double tumulus was dug out in Vodhinë, with strong similarities to the grave circles at Mycenae, showing a common ancestral link with the Myceneans of southern Greece.[18] In classical antiquity, the area was inhabited by the Greek tribe of the Chaonians.

From the Roman period there was a settlement named Hadrianopolis (of Epirus) in the region, one of several named after the great Roman emperor Hadrian. The settlement was built on a strategic spot in the valley of the river Drino near the modern village of Sofratikë, 11 kilometers south of Gjirokastër.

The foundations of Hadrianopolis were first discovered in 1984 when upper sections of the amphitheater were noticed by local farmers. Italian and Albanian archaeologists subsequently excavated much of the site, revealing a full amphitheater, Roman baths, and changing rooms. The site of the agora (forum) has been detected using ground radar, and excavation is expected in the period 2018 onwards. In the amphitheater, there are post holes for iron railings on first row seats. Also some "changing rooms" - originally for actors - were converted to holding pens for wild animals. This was a site where Romans fed enemies of the state to wild animals.

During the 6th century the Byzantine emperor Justinian I, as part of his fortification plans against barbarian invasions, moved the settlement 4 kilometers southeast in the modern village of Peshkëpi, in order to gain a more secure position. The city is also referred in Byzantine sources as Ioustinianoupolis (or Justinianopolis), after him. Today, ruins of the fortifications are still visible, as are the aqueduct and a medieval Orthodox Christian church.[19]

During the 11th century the city was named Dryinoupolis, a name possibly deriving from its former name or from the nearby river. It was also, from the 5th century, the see of a bishopric (initially part of the Diocese of Nicopolis, Naupactus and then Ioannina).

In 1571 a short lived rebellion broke out under Emmanuel Mormoris, but Ottoman control was restored that same year.[20]

During the 16th and 17th centuries at least 11 Orthodox monasteries were erected in the region with the support of the local population. This unprecedented increase in the number of monasteries has led many scholars to name Dropull as "little Mount Athos".[21]

At the end of the 19th century, many inhabitants migrated to the United States.[22]


At c. 400 a bishopric was established as Diocese of Hadrianopolis in Epirus, a suffragan of the Metropolitan Archdicoese of Nicopolis, capital of the Late Roman province of Epirus Vetus. It was suppressed by the Pope c. 1000, but later got an Orthodox successor. The bishopric of Dryinoupolis included the region of modern southwest Albania and from the early 16th century its center was Argyrokastro (modern Gjirokastër).[23]

List of monasteriesEdit

  • Monastery of the Prophet Elias, near Jorgucat (founded before 1586)
  • Annunciation Monastery, Vanishtë (before 1617)
  • Dormition of the Theotokos or Ravenia Monastery, Kalogoranxi (6th century)
  • Dorminition of the Theotokos, Koshovicë (17th century)
  • Monastery of Saints Quiricus and Julietta or Dhuvjan Monastery, Dhuvjan (1089)
  • Dorminition of the Theotokos or Driyanou Monastery, between Bularat and Zervat
  • Monastery of the Taxiarchs Michael and Gabriel, Derviçan (16th century)
  • Dormition of the Theotokos, Frashtan (16th century)
  • Monastery of the Holy Trinity, Pepel (1754)
  • Nativity of the Theotokos or Zonarion or Kakiomenou Monastery, Lovinë (before 1761), abandoned in 20th century due to proximity to the Greek-Albanian border
  • Theotokos Monastery (10th century), Zervat, abandoned during the crusades (11th century)

Catholic titular seeEdit

The Catholic diocese was nominally restored in 1933 as Latin Titular bishopric of Hadrianopolis in Epiro (Latin; adjective Hadrianopolitan(us) in Epiro) / Adrianopoli di Epiro (Curiate Italian).[24] It is vacant since decades, had had only the following incumbent of the fitting Episcopal (lowest) rank: Josef Freusberg (1953.04.12 – death 1964.04.10), as Auxiliary Bishop of Fulda (Germany) (1953.04.12 – 1964.04.10).


Bilingual roadsign, in Albanian and Greek.

According to the 2011 census the total population of Dropull is 3,503. It is inhabited by ethnic Greeks; Dropull has 34 villages, all of which are Greek-speaking.[25]

Notable localsEdit

Culture and sports

Twin towns – sister citiesEdit

Dropull is twinned with:

  Trikala, Greece[28]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^
    • In Albanian words in general and toponyms in particular have undergone significant phonetic reductions (e.g., Berat < Belgrade) due to the predominantly dynamic accent of this language. While in Greek, due to its predominantly melodic accent, the ancient words have undergone less change.
    • In Greek the voiced dental occlusive /d/ evolved before the modern era into the voiced interdental fricative /ð/ (/dh/), while Albanian has preserved the distinction between the sounds /d/ and /ð/ (/dh/) (as happened with the river-name Drino).
    • In Albanian the sound /-l-/ between two vowels in ancient native or borrowed words, systematically produced the velarized dark /ł/, while in Greek the /-l-/ followed by an anterior vowel has always been pronounced as lateral clear /l/.
    • The evolution /-o-/ > /-u-/ in the last syllable also indicates that Dropull acquired this phonetic form from Albanian under the influence of the voiceless bilabial plosive /-p-/, while in Greek such a phenomenon did not occur (e.g. poli(s), politis, Dhropolis etc.).
    • Another piece of evidence is the phonetic evolution undergone by the namesake of another ancient city, Hadrianopolis in Thrace, which evolved through Greek into Andrinopol, and through Turkish into Edirne.[16]


  1. ^ "Second Report Submitted by Albania Pursuant to Article 25, Paragraph 1 of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 19, 2009.
  2. ^ "Law nr. 115/2014" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2015-03-22.
  3. ^ "Population and housing census - Gjirokastër 2011" (PDF). INSTAT. Retrieved 2019-09-25.
  4. ^ "Gjirokastra's communes". Retrieved 13 January 2016.
  5. ^ "Correspondence table LAU – NUTS 2016, EU-28 and EFTA / available Candidate Countries" (XLS). Eurostat. Retrieved 2019-09-25.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Kyriazis 2019, p. 127
  7. ^ a b Demiraj 2008, p. 80.
  8. ^ "Hierokles: Synekdemos". awmc.unc.edu. Ancient World Mapping Center – University of North Carolina. Retrieved 2021-10-19.
  9. ^ Pappa 2009, p. 28
  10. ^ Pappa 2009, p. 30
  11. ^ Strässle, Paul Meinrad (2006). Krieg und Kriegführung in Byzanz: die Kriege Kaiser Basileios' II. gegen die Bulgaren (976-1019) (in German). Böhlau Verlag. p. 173. ISBN 9783412174057.
  12. ^ Pappa 2009, p. 30, 32
  13. ^ Pappa 2009, p. 36
  14. ^ Sakellariou, Michael (1997). Epirus (in Greek). Ekdotike Athenon. p. 154. ISBN 978-960-213-371-2.
  15. ^ Demiraj 2006, pp. 148−149.
  16. ^ Demiraj 2008, pp. 80–81.
  17. ^ Demiraj 2008, p. 81.
  18. ^ Komita, Nuobo (1982). "The Grave Cicles at Mycenae and the Early Indo-Europeans" (PDF). Research Reports of Ikutoku Tech. Univ. (A-7): 59–70.[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ Epirus, 4000 years of Greek history and civilization. M. V. Sakellariou. Ekdotike Athenon, 1997. ISBN 960-213-371-6, p. 154, 191
  20. ^ Konstantinos., Giakoumis (2002). "The monasteries of Jorgucat and Vanishte in Dropull and of Spelaio in Lunxheri as monuments and institutions during the Ottoman period in Albania (16th-19th centuries)": 21. Retrieved 8 July 2018. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  21. ^ Konstantinos., Giakoumis (2002). "The monasteries of Jorgucat and Vanishte in Dropull and of Spelaio in Lunxheri as monuments and institutions during the Ottoman period in Albania (16th-19th centuries)": 125. Retrieved 8 July 2018. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  22. ^ Religion in Post-Communist Albania. Muslims, Christians and the idea of ‘culture’ in Devoll, Southern Albania. Gilles de Rapper. p. 7
  23. ^ Albania's captives. Pyrrhus J. Ruches. Argonaut, 1965, p/
  24. ^ "Bishops who are not Ordinaries of Sees: FR… – FZ…". www.gcatholic.org. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  25. ^ Kallivretakis, Leonidas (1995). "Η Ελληνική Κοινότητα της Αλβανίας υπό το Πρίσμα της Ιστορικής Γεωγραφίας και Δημογραφίας [The Greek Community of Albania in Terms of Historical Geography and Demography]" (in Greek). Εκδόσεις Σιδέρης. p. 55. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  26. ^ "Miss Globe International 2012: η Κλεονίκη Δεληγιώργη". politikanet.gr. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  27. ^ "Κωνσταντίνος Κουφός (Personas) - Η αποκάλυψη on air για την καταγωγή του (βίντεο)" (in Greek). 2015-11-25. Retrieved 2016-09-02.
  28. ^ "Twin Cities". Municipality of Trikala (in Greek). Retrieved 2021-09-05.


External linksEdit