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Lezhë County (Albania)

Last modified: 2018-07-21 by ivan sache
Keywords: lezhë | mirditë | shëngjin |
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Flag of Lezhë, two versions - Images by Tomislav Šipek, 17 March 2018

The municipality of Lezhë (65,633 inhabitants in 2011, 15,510 in the town of Lezhê; 50, 910 ha) is located in northern Albania. The municipality was established in 2015 as the merger of the former municipalities of Lezhê, Balldren (6,142 inh.), Blinisht (3,361 inh.), Dajç (3,834 inh.), Kallmet (4,118 inh.), Kolsh (4,228 inh.), Shêngjin (8,091 inh.), Shênkoll (13,102 inh.), Ungrej (1,587 inh.) and Zejmen (5,660 inh.).

The flag of Lezhë (photo, photo, photo) is white with the municipal coat of arms in the center are two verical stripes on both sides. "Bashkia" means "Municipality".

The emblem represents the monument commemorating the League of Lezhê, a meeting of Albanian warlords organized on 2 March 1444 by Skanderbeg (1405-1468). The main achievement of the League was the unsuccessful siege of Krujê by the Ottoman army (14 May-23 November 1450) led by Sultan Murad II (1421-1444 / 1446-1451); the troops of the League (8,000 men) provided support to the garrison of Krujê (1,500 to 4,000 soldiers) besieged by 100,000-150,000 Ottomans. The courage of the defenders and the guerilla strategy set up by Skanderbeg forced the Ottomans to withdraw, living 20,000 dead and losing much more during the return to Turkey. Murad II died in Edirne in 1451.
The siege of Krujê is the subject of the novel Kêshtjella (The Citadel; English, The Siege) published in 1970 by Ismail Kadare (b. 1936).
The rendition on the emblem is quite different from the original (photo). In the monument, the shield features a double-headed eagle surmounted by a six-pointed star, is surmounted by Skanderbeg's helmet with the goat horns, and is superimposed to to four swords on each side. On the emblem, the shield is plain, superimposed with one sword on the left side and four on the right side, and is surmounted by a double-headed eagle.

The writing "Lissus" beneath the shield recalls the ancient town built on the site of Lezhê.
Diodorus Siculus (90-30 BC) reports that the town of Lissus was founded in 385 BC by colonists sent from Syracuse by Dionysus I the Elder (432-367 BC), then allied with Bardylis, King of the Illyrians (393-358). Diodorus' narrative was challenged by modern scholars, who pointed out that the walls surrounding the town were much older than its alleged foundation. Albanian scholars believe that Lissus was established by Illyrians, closed to the older, fortified town of Akrolissos, which dates back to the 10th century BC.
Well-protected by stone walls of 3.5 m in width, Akrolissos and Lissus were watched by rectangular towers erected along the wall and defending gates of 3-4 m in width.
[Albanopedia, 12 October 2017]

Lissus was subsequently seized by Philip V of Macedonia (230-179). The town's fortifications were increased when the Illyrian king Gentius (181-168) set up an alliance with Perseus (179-168), king of Macedonia, against the Romans. Gentius gathered in Lissos the army that would be defeated in 168 BC by Consul Lucius Anicius.
After the Roman conquest, Caesar revamped the fortifications of Lissus and granted municipal status to the town.
[Clara Berrendonner, Mireille Cébeillac-Gervasoni & Laurent Lamoine (Eds.) Le quotidien municipal dans l'Occident romain. 2008]

Lissus was incorporated to the Province of Praevalis by the Diocletian reform. In the 4th-5th centuries, the see of the town was reduced to the citadel and the lower town, both protected by revamped walls. Lissos remained a significant town, as evidenced by several coins, indicating flourishing trade, and foundations of public and private buildings. Lissus was the see of the diocese of Praevalis. Remains of a big Byzantine basilica were found under the St. Nicholas church, which keeps the tomb of Skanderbeg. Remains of another basilica, dated to the second half of the 5th century, were found extra muros, one the slop of a hill overlooking river Drin. The public baths from the 3nd century, currently under investigation, appear to have been transformed in the first half of the 5th century into a paleo-Christian church.
Lissus was seized at the end of the 6th century by the Slavic invaders, but only for a short period. In a letter sent to Pope Gregory the Great (590-604) in 597, Bishop Johannes de Lissus, transferred to Squillacine (Calabria, Italy), announced he was about to return in his town.
[Gêzim Hoxha. Lissus dans la basse Antiquité. Pp. 81-87 in Danièle Berranger-Auserve (Ed.) Épire, Illyrie, Macédoine... Mélanges offerts au Professeur Pierre Cabanes. 2007]

Tomislav Šipek & Ivan Sache, 7 April 2018



Flag of Mirditë - Image by Tomislav Šipek, 22 March 2018

The flag of Mirditë (presentation) is red with the main element from the municipal coat of arms in the center.

Tomislav Šipek, 22 March 2018

Former municipalities


Shëngjin (Albanian for St. John) is a coastal town, home to one of Albania's entry ports.
The flag of Shëngjin is horizontally divided light blue-dark blue with the municipal coat of arms in center. The table flag is yellow with the coat of arms in the center.

Aleksandar Nemet, 11 May 2012

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