Teth National Park

National Park (Albanian:Parku Kombëtar i Thethit) is a national park in extreme northern Albania declared by government decree in 1966.It covers an area of 2,630 hectares and is located along the Theth River. The main attractions in the park are the Grunas Waterfall and the Lock-in Tower. Valbonë Valley National Park is adjacent to it and was declared a national park in 1996. It is proposed that the two parks, along with the areas in Montenegro and Kosovo[a] form a tri-border Bjeshket e Nemuna National Park. Theth remains remote. It is most easily accessible by a 25 km unmade road from the village of Boga which is impassible during the winter months and is not generally suitable at any time of the year for motor vehicles without off-road capabilities.

Although the Kanun (traditional Albanian law) remains influential, Theth has not suffered from the recent (post-Communist) reappearance of the blood feud which has troubled other areas of Northern Albania. Ironically, Theth boasts one of the very few remaining “lock-in towers”, an historical form of protection for families that were “in blood”.

Depopulation represents a serious long-term challenge for the community. The population has been greatly reduced over the past few decades and the majority of those remaining occupy Theth only during the summer months. However, the community has a nine-grade school and recent efforts have been made to stimulate tourism. A number of local families offer board and lodging to visitors who come to Theth to hike in the National Park – or merely to admire the mountain scenery. Apart from the lock-in tower, other attractions include spectacular waterfalls, a working watermill (still used to grind the local inhabitants’ corn) and a modest ethnographic museum. A Balkans Peace Park Project is working towards the creation of a park extending across the borders of Albania, Montenegro and Kosova and has taken a lead in recent years in encouraging sustainable and ecologically sensitive tourism in and around Theth (for example by funding the marking of footpaths).

 

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