Librazhd, Place of Karst Fields and Water Resources

Librazhd, Place of Karst Fields and Water Resources

TIRANA, September 2

Photo Credit/Lencer

Librazhd is a town in the south-east of Albania, Elbasan county. It spans an area of 793 km2, and in 2011 it had around 31.000 inhabitants. The maximum height is found in the Red Point in Shebenik Mountain, 2253 meters above the sea level. The territory of Librazhd has a rich flora, where there are registered around 1857 types of vegetation, which make up 58% of Albania’s flora and 16% of Europe’s flora, ranking Librazhd in one of the richest territories in Europe with plants of different species. The flora covers 72% of Librazhd’s territory. 

Cultural Heritage

Librazhd Museum (Muzeu i Librazhdit)

Librazhd Museum is a first category museum and it contains extraordinary cultural values. For years and years, this museum was declared a model museum. 

librazhd museum
Photo Credit/City Hall of Librazhd

Ethnographic Museum of Librazhd (Muzeu Etnografik i Librazhdit)

The town of Librazhd has inherited from its past a wide variety of ethnographic cultures that based on national culture is developed and enriched over the centuries that today represents the ethnographic culture of Librazhd territory. The premises of the museum are presented the economic life of the population of the country, developed based on climatic living conditions and the establishment of houses. An important corner in the museum is the family environment known as “Konaku” of friends, which reflects the best tradition of hospitality and the ‘bread house’. In this environment, there are set the characteristic objects of a cottage. Librazhd’s territory is in a very favorable geographical position for the development of various craftworks, such as stone, metal and wood processing. Being an area abundant with natural wealth, in this province, there were practiced several handicrafts like: building houses of metal, textiles, etc. Some of the work products and tools of these artifacts are placed in a specific area of the museum. The good habits, dances, songs, and beautiful artistry, speak for a rich ethnographic culture of this region.

librazhd ethnographic museum
Traditional costume of women of Librazhd. Photo Credit/City Hall of Librazhd

Tourist Attractions

Birch of Qarrishta (Meshtekna e Qarrishtes)

Birch of Qarrishta, is located in the village of the same name in Librazhd. This monument is part of Shebenik- Jabllanice National Park. The maximum height is 1228 meters above sea level, whereas the average height of the trees is 12 m. They could be even 60 years old. This natural monument has extraordinary values, in terms of landscape, research or ecological values. To get there, you have to take the road Librazhd –Qarrishte (Fushe e Zeze). The walking pathway is 0.5 km further south of the aforementioned road. 

birch of qarrishta
Photo Credit/Pellumb Bajrami

Hasan’s Cave (Shpella e Hasanit)

Situated near the village of Dardhe e Malit, is 930 meters above sea level. It is formed in the limestone cliffs of upper Crete. It is 43 meters long, 1 meter wide and 4m high. The cave is filled with numerous forms of stalactites and stalagmites.

hasan's cave
Photo Credit/City Hall of Librazhd

Hermit Cave of Koshorisht (a.k.a. Church Cave) (Shpella Eremite e Koshorishtit or Shpella-Kishe)

Hermit Cave of Koshorisht also known as Church Cave  is a cultural monument unique in its kind, is believed to have been created in the IX-XII century AD, holds a special historical value. This cave-church is located on a cliff, on a height about 70 meters above from the river of Qarrishta, where Mary and the disciples were painted during a ceremony. Avery important fact is that the colors have not been worn out, since then. Many of the residents of the surrounding areas go to visit the shrine that is believed to bring luck, also the cave church is visited by many other local and foreign tourists, who remain captivated by its beauty.

hermit cave of koshorisht
Photo Credit/Nje Komb

Bee Rock Cave (Shpella e Shkembit te Bletes)

Located northwest of the village of Monte Pear of Librazhd district, on the eastern slope of Mount Polis and Bee Rock, on a height of 1409 meters above sea level, this cave was discovered for the first time by the Italian speleologists. To go to this cave you should take the road Librazhd – Dardhe and then continue on foot, towards the eastern slope of Mount Polis.

bee rock cave
Photo Credit/Bota Sot

Letmi Mountain Cave a.k.a. Ice Cave (Shpella e Malit te Letmit or Shpella e Akullit)

The Ice Cave is located near the Letmi Mountain, at an altitude of 800meters above sea level. It is formed in the limestone cliffs of the upper Trias and lower Juras. It is about 60meters long, and 7-8meters wide. The cave is filled with numerous stalactites and stalagmites. 

ice cave
Photo Credit/ATA

Studen Spring (Burimi i Studen)

This spring is located on the eastern edge of the Studen field, 600m above sea level. It constitutes a great source of karst, between the upper Trias and old Flish. The water of the source is clear and cold, It has great scientific values, as well as cultural, didactic and touristic. 

studen spring
Photo Credit/City Hall of Librazhd

Kosharist Fountain (Gurra e Koshorishtit)

This fountain is located near the village of the same name, at the height of 600m above sea level. It contains a large source of karst, between the limestone of upper Trias and the lower Jura. The waters are abundant, cold and clean.

kosharisht fountain
Photo Credit/City Hall of Librazhd

Floq Lake (Liqeni Floq)

This lake is located near Floq village, at the height of 700m above sea level. It is a small karst lake, formed in the exit place of a karst source, between the limestone of upper Crete and Mollas. 

floq lake
Photo Credit/City Hall of Librazhd

Shebenik Lake or Circuses and Shebenik Glacial Lakes (Liqeni Shebenik or Cirqet and Liqenet Akullnajore te Shebenik)

This lake is located on the northern slope of Shebenik Mountain peak, at 1800m altitude, situated in a large circus glacial complex. The waters are crystal-clear and cool. During winter, the lake freezes on the surface. It has a rich fauna. 

shebenik glacial lakes
Photo Credit/ Rrajce-Shebenik Guide FB

Lake of Old Woman’s Grave (Liqeni i Varrit te Plakes)

Lake of Old Woman’s Grave is located in Vehcan village, at the height of 600m above sea level. It is a small karst lake, formed in the exit place of a karst source, between the limestone of upper Crete and Mollas. 

lake of old woman's grave
Photo Credit/City Hall of Librazhd

Gurakuq’s Maple Trees (Rrapet e Gurakuqit)

Found in the middle of Gurakuq village, they are about 800m above sea level. It represents two separate maple trees. The height of the trees is 15-16m, and the diameter of trunks reaches 220-230 cm, while their age ranges between 250-300 years. Maple trees have always been preserved and cared for, by the villagers of Gurakuq, because they serve as a meeting place for talks, assemblies, etc. 

gurakuq's maple trees
Photo Credit/Cermenika, perla e Librazhdit FB

Taksim’s Maple Tree (Rrapi i Taksimit)

Situated near the village of Katund, it is 1000 m above sea level. It represents a separate maple tree. Taksim’s Maple Tree is about 10m high and is believed to be 140 years of age. It has a beautiful crown and the tree is well-preserved by the residents. Near the tree there are always men of the village that gather for important meetings and conventions.

taksim's maple tree
Photo Credit/

Shebenik-Jabllanica National Park (Parku Kombetar Shebenik-Jabllanica)

This National Park is located in the eastern part of Librazhd district, bordering with North Macedonia. It stretches an area of more than 30km, from the village of Stebleva in the north to the village of Rrajca in the south and covers an area of 339km2. It has a rich flora and fauna, also this park is visited by many local and foreign tourists throughout the year. 

Shebenik Jabllanica National park
Photo Credit/Alan Grant

Special value has the hydrography of this National Park, made up of the rivers, streams, artificial lakes, fountains and karst water ponds. Inside the park, there are over 14 small glacial lakes of particular beauty, which are situated at an altitude of 1900meters above sea level. Two rivers flow through the parking area with a length of 22km, including the Qarrishta River in the north joined by Rrapun River and in the south Bushtrica River joined by Shkumbin River. The climate of most of the park falls into the category of the Mediterranean climate, with average annual temperatures between 7 ° C and 10 ° C. The average annual precipitation is between 1,300 mm and 1,800 mm rain. 

Photo Credit/Seth Pyenson

The fauna is very rich, and the main species that could be encountered at the park are: the brown bear, wolf, badger, fox, squirrel, weasels, eagles, falcons, etc. Rarer are: the beaver, wild boar, roe deer, chamois, lynx, grouse, mountain trout, etc. Shebenik- Jabllanica is considered to be one of the main centers for the Balkan lynx, an endangered species. Regarding the flora, the park has beech trees, black pine, spruce, oak, birch, pine, bush, maple, willow, hazelnut, hornbeam, steal, wild fruit, wild cherry, blueberry, wild pears, rose wild, mountain tea, etc. 

balkan lynx
Balkan lynx is one of the wild animals found at the national park, which is considered endagered. Photo Credit/mpiet, Wikimedia

The National Park Shebenik- Jabllanica apart from the numerous values in flora and fauna, it offers a very relaxing and recreational area for the families, throughout the seasons of the year. The park is also an excellent opportunity to spend the holidays, a nice weekend, or even for just a day to choose between hiking, skiing, etc. The National Park is only 20 km away from the town of Librazhd.

Polis Mountain (Mali Polis)

It is located about 80 km from Tirana, between Librazhd and Elbasan county, in the place called Mirake (you have to pass the Shkumbin River and climb up north for 15 km). There is diverse vegetation and for 6 months of the year, the mountain is covered by snow. Here there can be practiced winter sports, such as: horseback riding, skiing, etc.

polis mountain
Photo Credit/City Hall of Librazhd

Gurra Field Beeches (Ahet e Fushe Gurres)

They could be found near the Gurra village of Librazhd, 1300m above sea level. It represents a beech forest, with an area of about 50ha. The forest is still in good condition. 

gurra field beeches
Photo Credit/City Hall of Librazhd

Forest of Paunchy Kostenje (Pylli i Barkmadhit Kostenje)

This forest is located near Kostenje village, in the highlands of Çermenika, 1200m above sea level. It represents a mixed forest of beech, oak, and other timber. This forest too is still preserved and in good condition. 

forest of paunchy kostenje
Photo Credit/City Hall of Librazhd

Cave of Old Lady Gizavesh (Shpella e Plakes Gizavesh)

In Gizavesh village there is a cave known by the name “Cave of the Old lady” because it is believed that there has lived an old lady. Many years ago, it was thought that this cave connected two villages, Gizavesh and Katund, but now this road is blocked. In the entrance of the cave, there is a water spring, whereas inside there are special stones that sparkle.

cave of old lady gizavesh
Photo Credit/City Hall of Librazhd

Reddish Series of Librazhd (Seria e Kuqerremte Librazhd)

In Shkumbin valley, on Librazhd- Pwrrenjas road, emerge potent Pliocene deposits. They are continental formations, lake, formed in a shallow environment, with steep slopes, during a long period of hot and dry climate. They are represented by conglomerates, sandstones, silts, clays, etc. Because of their red color, they are named the ‘Reddish series of Librazhd’. This is a unique phenomenon, spread mainly in the pond, on the surface of the ultra-basic Shebenik massif. There could be observed textures and numerous pictures of sedimentation, and often erosion pyramids.

reddish series librazhd
Photo Credit/City Hall of Librazhd

Egnatia Road route a.k.a. Via Egnatia (Traseja e Rruges Egnatia)

Street Egnatia, also known as “Via Egnatia”, was one of the major important roads in the ancient world. It was built between 149- 120 A.D. by the Roman proconsul of today’s North Macedonia, Gnaeus Egnatius, on the trail of a road which according to Aristotle connected the Adriatic coast regions with ancient North Macedonia and Thrace areas, west with east, Roma with Constantinople. Via Egnatia has known the trade, historical battles, church preachers, Roman, and Ottoman religions. This road is still kept untouched, throughout the upstream of Shkumbin River, particularly in mountainous areas of Librazhd from Miraka to Qakes. When visitors walk through the old Egnatia road, they will walk in the pathway of history, by learning and visiting fragments of one of the oldest and famous road in ancient times.

via egnatia
Photo Credit/Albinfo


Kamara Bridge (Ura e Kamares)

The Kamara Bridge in Mirake was built around 5 centuries ago. The object, which was declared a “Cultural Monument” is located about 20 kilometers northeast of Elbasan county, 5 kilometers before reaching the town of Librazhd, directly on the Shkumbin River bed. Kamara in the local spoken language means window. In terms of the building structure, this bridge has five windows with space lights, which are not equal, considering the striking force of the Shkumbin river. Located on five vaults, built of gray stones in the quarry itself as a white composition of the mountain of Murrash, the basis for pedestrians’ path is built by round stones river, placed horizontally with the movement of passengers. This bridge was built in 1715 by Ahmad from Elbasan, according to the inscription on the plaque of Turkish stone in the bridge, which is now preserved in the museum of Librazhd.

kamara bridge
Photo Credit/City Hall of Librazhd

Karst Field of Studen (Fusha Karstike e Studen)

Studen karst field at a height of about 1100m above sea level and has an area of 5.6 km2. It is surrounded by mountains, making up a typical karst formation in the form of a syncline groove. Considered a tectonic-karst area formed by groundwater that circulated and circulated in the plinth and built by Triassic limestone plates. Only at the northeastern part there emerge flysch formations, whereas in the center there are saved remains of the conglomerate’s erosion and slate clay-sand. It was no surface runoff because it is closed. The sides of the Karst pit are forested with beech, fir, pine, which gives the touristic value. At northwest there is Stone Top, 1825m high, also full of karst forms on the surface; out of most important is Prevall Field.

karst field of studen
Photo Credit/City Hall of Librazhd

Karst Field of Qarrishta (Fusha Karstike e Qarrishtes)

This area represents the area where is placed in the village with the same name. It has 2-3km stretch and width 800-1000m. The thickness of the deposits in the field reaches 3-5m. Geologically it represents the contact between ultrabasic rocks and limestone. In the north of Qarrisht village, after Qarrishta Mountain ends, 500-600m north, there are meet two karst pits with a 50x50m area and depth of 25-30m. Both pits have a sloping side 50-60 °. In the period from October to May, these pits are filled with water. The landscape is quite attractive. It has geological values, tourism, and climate.

karst field of qarrishta
Photo Credit/City Hall of Librazhd

Karst Field of Miraka (Fusha Karstike e Mirakes)

Miraka Mountain (1751m) lies to the northeast of Çermenika Mountains and built out of carbonate rocks T3J1. It dominates the karst landscape with funnels, pits, especially in sectors with soft relief forms. Among the typical karst forms, there are distinguished: Letmi Field (about 50ha), Lower Field with 1300m length and fields higher up (1751m altitude).

karst field of miraka
Photo Credit/City Hall of Librazhd

Stone Bridge (Ura e Gurit)

This bridge is located between the village of Polis and the Fushe-Buall area called Gostime. Its style is typical medieval stonework with arcs, with lime and other elements, raising the hardness.

stone bridge
Photo Credit/City Hall of Librazhd

Well of Big Site (Pusi i Faqes se Madhe)

This well is located near the village Dardhe e Malit, up to 1750m above sea level. It is a vertical cave (well) karst, formed in the upper Crete limestone cliffs, with depth about 62m and finally closed with a mass of ice. The well has scientific, cultural, touristic and didactic values. Visited by Librazhd- Dardhe e Malititinerary – the monument.

Photo Credit/City Hall of Librazhd

Source/City Hall of Librazhd 

Read also: Church Cave in Koshorisht, the Solitary Cave of Shebenik-Jabllanica

Shebenik-Jabllanica Finally Wins Deserved Place on Albania’s Map

Rrajca, Village of Glacial Lakes and Lush Forests

Best Places to Explore Along Shkumbini River

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