Leskovik is a town and a former municipality in the Korçë County, southeastern Albania. At the 2015 local government reform it became a subdivision of the municipality Kolonjë.[1] It is located right at the Greek-Albanian border. The population at the 2011 census was 1,525.[2]

The city of Leskovik and the Melesini Mountain
The city of Leskovik and the Melesini Mountain
Leskovik is located in Albania
Coordinates: 40°9′N 20°36′E / 40.150°N 20.600°E / 40.150; 20.600Coordinates: 40°9′N 20°36′E / 40.150°N 20.600°E / 40.150; 20.600
Country Albania
913 m (2,995 ft)
 • Municipal unit
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal Code
Area Code(0)871



The toponym Leskovik is formed from the Slavic word leska meaning ‘hazel, corylus avellana’ or ‘hazel river' along with the suffix ik(ë).[3] The name of the town has been written as Lexovico in a map (1821) by Pouqueville and as Leskovik in an Ottoman document (1851).[3]

Ottoman periodEdit

The area came under Ottoman rule in the 15th century and became part of the Sanjak of Ioannina.[4][5] Leskovik was recognized as a town in the early 1800s. It was conceived as a relaxing and retreat center for the Ottoman administration. Leskovik subsequently was elevated from kaza into a sanjak.[4] Leskovik kaza (subdistrict) was located within Yanya sanjak, part of Yanya Vilayet (province) till 1912.[6]

Leskovik and the nearby mountain Melesin was the site of a battle in 1831.[7]

Ottoman Albanian spahis and landowners from nineteenth century Leskovik owned estate properties (chiftlik) in parts of the Balkans and in particular the Thessalian plain, until its loss to Greece in 1881 leading to local economic decline and increasing reliance on agriculture.[8]

Leskovik was a significant centre for the Sufi Bektashi order[9][10] and it was strongly established in the surrounding area.[11] The Sufi Halveti order was also present in the town[10] and the Sufi Hayatiyya order had a tekke dating from 1796.[12] In the late Ottoman period and on the eve of the Balkan Wars, the population of Leskovik was mostly Muslim Bektashi.[13][14][10] In Leskovik, a Bektashi tekke was founded in 1887 by Abedin Baba, a town native and religious figure.[15][12] The tekke housed a small number of dervishes and Abedin Baba's gravesite, later destroyed by war.[14] Another religious building was the Pazar (Bazaar) mosque of Leskovik.[16] A few Muslim Albanians from Leskovik were employed in the Ottoman bureaucracy as administrative officials governing some districts in parts of the empire.[17] Greek education was present in Leskovik at the 1898-1899 school year with one boys' and one girls' school and a total of 100 pupils attending them.[18]

During the Balkan Wars (1912-1913) Ottoman rule came to an end and Leskovik briefly came under the control of the Greek forces. Shortly after the town was visited by an international commission who was responsible to draw the precise borders between the Kingdom of Greece and the newly established Principality of Albania.[19] There was some difficulty in drawing the new border by the international demarcation border commission as the area around Leskovik and nearby Konitsa contained mixed populations of Albanians and Greeks.[20]

Leskovik was finally ceded to Albania under the terms of the Protocol of Florence (17 December 1913). In March, 5 [O.S. February, 20] 1914 the town officially joined the Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus.[21]

World War IIEdit

At 21 November 1940, during the Greco-Italian War, units of the II Army Corps of the advancing Greek forces entered Leskovik after breaching the Italian defences.[22] Latter, the town showed a strong support to communist partisans during the Italian and German World War II occupation.[citation needed]

Cold WarEdit

The People's Socialist Republic of Albania, being an ally of the Soviet Union, was involved in the Greek Civil War (1946-1949) by supporting the communist led Greek Democratic Army. Leskovik became for a period its headquarters. The town also hosted a training, a supply center, as well as medical facilities for the communist guerrillas, who mounted several invasions from Albanian soil into the Greek region of Grammos and fled back to Albania once an operation was completed.[23]


The population has decreased after the 1990s, due to emigration. In the modern period, the town of Leskovik is religiously mixed, composed of Muslim Bektashis and Orthodox Christians.[24][10]

Few monuments in Leskovik surviving its turbulent past are the decorated tomb of Kani Pasha, located inside the present Bektashi tekke.[9]

In the wider area, the religious composition is distributed between Islam: (Bektashis and Halvetis) such as in nearby Gjonç and Gline and Christianity (mostly Orthodoxy)[25] with some converts to Orthodoxy,[10] others to Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, as well as some irreligious people.


Leskovik is located 0.7 miles from Melesin mountain,[26] inside Ersekë-Konitsa-Çarshovë triangle.

Notable peopleEdit


  1. ^ Law nr. 115/2014 Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ 2011 census results Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b Elsie, Robert (1994). Hydronymica Albanica. A survey of river names in Albania (PDF) (30(1) ed.). Zeitschrift für Balkanologie. p. 22. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 March 2016. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  4. ^ a b H. Karpat, Kemal (1985). Ottoman population, 1830-1914: demographic and social characteristics. p. 146. ISBN 9780299091606. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  5. ^ Motika, Raoul (1995). Türkische Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte (1071-1920). p. 297. ISBN 9783447036832. Retrieved 22 September 2011. Sancaks Yanya (Kazas: Yanya, Aydonat (Paramythia), Filat (Philiates), Meçova (Metsovo), Leskovik (war kurzzeitig Sancak) und Koniçe (Konitsa)
  6. ^ Hartmann, Elke (2016). Die Reichweite des Staates: Wehrpflicht und moderne Staatlichkeit im Osmanischen Reich 1869-1910. Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh. p. 118. ISBN 9783657783731.
  7. ^ Portrait of Albania, "8 Nëntori" Publishing House, 1982, p. 50, The battles in the Melesin Mountain (Leskovik) in 1831 and in Shkodra in 1835,...
  8. ^ Clayer, Nathalie (2007). Aux origines du nationalisme albanais: La naissance d'une nation majoritairement musulmane en Europe [The origins of Albanian nationalism: The birth of a predominantly Muslim nation in Europe]. Paris: Karthala. p. 110. ISBN 9782845868168.
  9. ^ a b c Elsie, Robert (2019). The Albanian Bektashi: History and Culture of a Dervish Order in the Balkans. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 174. ISBN 9781788315715.
  10. ^ a b c d e Bachis, Francesco; Pusceddu, Antonio Maria (2013). "Mobilities, Boundaries, Religions: Performing Comparison in the Mediterranean". Journal of Mediterranean Studies. 22 (2): 371. "The villages of the Kolonjë district are commonly either Muslim or Orthodox Christian, whereas the towns of Ersekë and Leskovik have a mixed population. Leskovik used to have a majority Muslim population, related to the Bektashi and Halveti sufi brotherhoods. In connection with growing migration to Greece, conversion to Christianity has increased, as being a Christian Orthodox—even if only by name (Kretsi 2005)—was perceived as a better way to position oneself in Greece."
  11. ^ Clayer, Nathalie (1990). L'Albanie, pays des derviches: Les ordres mystiques musulmans en Albanie à l'époque post-ottomane (1912-1967). Harrassowitz. p. 118. ISBN 9783447030885.
  12. ^ a b Norris, Harry Thirlwall (1993). Islam in the Balkans: religion and society between Europe and the Arab world. University of South Carolina Press. pp. 111–112. ISBN 9780872499775.
  13. ^ Winnifrith, Tom (2002). Badlands-borderlands: a history of Northern Epirus/Southern Albania. London: Duckworth. p. 127. ISBN 9780715632017. "Durham proceeded to Kolonia... and to Leskovik, mainly full of Bektashi Muslims"
  14. ^ a b Hasluck, F. W. (1915–1916). "Geographical Distribution of the Bektashi". The Annual of the British School at Athens. 21: 118. JSTOR 30102759. "Liaskovik.-The population of this (till the war) thriving hill-town is largely Bektashi. The tekke just outside it, on a hill above the Kolonia road, is said to have been about thirty-five years old; it contained the grave of Abeddin Baba, and housed seven or eight dervishes. It is now entirely destroyed"
  15. ^ Elsie 2019, p. 275.
  16. ^ Clayer 2005, pp. 331.
  17. ^ Clayer 2005, p. 319, 324, 331.
  18. ^ *Koltsida, Athina. Η Εκπαίδευση στη Βόρεια Ήπειρο κατά την Ύστερη Περίοδο της Οθωμανικής Αυτοκρατορίας (PDF) (in Greek). University of Thessaloniki. pp. 227–228. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  19. ^ Stickney, Edith Pierpont (1926). Southern Albania or Northern Epirus in European International Affairs, 1912–1923. Stanford University Press. pp. 38–39. ISBN 978-0-8047-6171-0.
  20. ^ Nitsiakos, Basilēs G.; Nitsiakos, Vassilis (2010). On the Border: Transborder Mobility, Ethnic Groups and Boundaries Along the Albanian-Greek Frontier. LIT Verlag Münster. p. 40. ISBN 9783643107930. The ethnic and cultural mosaic of the wider area was so composite, it was impossible to mark down the border in a way that would yield a clear distinction between Albanians and Greeks... The difficulty, as is well known, was not created only by the fact that populations were mixed even within the same areas and villages (i.e. Konitsa and Leskovik)
  21. ^ Kaphetzopoulos, Ioannis; Flokas, Charalambos; Dima-Dimitriou, Angeliki (2000). The struggle for Northern Epirus. Hellenic Army General Staff, Army History Directorate. p. 153. ISBN 9789607897404. In the area of Leskovik and Kolonia, following the proclamation of autonomy in Leskovik on 20 February 1914 by Konstantinos Melas
  22. ^ Eisenhower, [author, Ivor Matanle] ; foreword by Viscount Montgomery, Manfred Rommel, John S.D. (1998). World War II. New York: Smithmark. p. 82. ISBN 9780765192653. 21st saw the Greek 2nd Corps under Genera Papadopoulos cross the Albanian frontier to take Erseke and Leskovik.
  23. ^ Shrader, Charles R. (1999). The withered vine : logistics and the communist insurgency in Greece, 1945-1949 ([Online-Ausg.]. ed.). Westport, Conn.: Praeger. pp. 188–192. ISBN 9780275965440.
  24. ^ Pusceddu 2018, p. 151.
  25. ^ Pusceddu, Antonio Maria (2018). "Dealing with boundaries: Muslim pilgrimages and political economy on the Southern Albanian frontier". In Flaskerud, Ingvild; Natvig, Richard J. (eds.). Muslim Pilgrimage in Europe (PDF). Routledge. pp. 143–149, 151–152. ISBN 9781317091080.
  26. ^ "1" (PDF), Local Environmental Action Plan (in Albanian), Leskovik Municipality, 2007, p. 13, retrieved 22 September 2013,

    Qyteti i Leskovikut është i vendosur në një lartësi mesatare 920 mmbi nivelin e detit dhe shtrihet rrëzë malit të Melesinit dhe kodrave përreth tij. Leskoviku është i rrethuar nga një sërë kodrash dhe malesh.

    Në krahinën e Leskovikut bëjnë pjesë, përveç qytetit, një mori fshatrash të përmendura jo vetëm në traditat historike e kulturore, por edhe aktualitetin agro-blegtoral të tyre. Këtu përmenden fshatrat Postenan, Lashovë, Cërckë, Gërmenj, Podë, Radat, Glinë, Vrepckë, Radanj, Pobickë. Në lindje, qyteti kufizohet me malin e Vashës dhe në perëndim me malin e Melesinit. [Leskovik is located at an average height of 920 meters above sea level and lies at the foot of the Melesin Mountain and hills around him. Leskovik is surrounded by a range of mountains and hills. In Leskovik province, in addition to the town, there are a number of villages referring not only to the historical and cultural traditions, but also the relevance of their agro-livestock. We can mention here the villages of Postenan, Lashovë, Cerckë, Germenj, pode, Radati, Glina, Verpcka, Radanje, Pobickë. To the east, the city is bordered by Vasha Mountain and to the west by Melesin Mountain.]

  27. ^ Clayer 2005, p. 311.
  28. ^ Clayer, Nathalie (2005). "The Albanian students of the Mekteb-i Mülkiye: Social networks and trends of thought". In Özdalga, Elisabeth (ed.). Late Ottoman Society: The Intellectual Legacy. Routledge. p. 319. ISBN 9780415341646.
  29. ^ Dalip Greca (7 August 2013), Enigma e Hymnit të Federatës "VATRA" [Enigma of the "Vatra" Federation Hymn] (in Albanian), New York, NY: "Dielli" online, retrieved 17 September 2013

External linksEdit