The Ministry of Culture in cooperation with IMK (National Intitution of Monuments) and other line institutions after a long work on the evaluation of cultural assets and important heritage centers throughout Albania has decided, on the basis of the fulfilled criteria, to give to Thethi the status of a Protected Historic and Culture Center, to this village of a rare beauty amidst the Alps in northern Albania.
The proposed historic center of Thethi valley is the part of the urbanistic and architectural values of the village and the space that carries important historical values, documenting the path of the historical development of the village towards the creation of an inhabited center and urbanistic-architectural features that were formed during his history. The overwhelming part of the village preserves old constructions of architectural and constructive value and characteristic roads network.
These constructions are linked to the traditional environment, which is part of the Historic Center. Within this center are included first-class cultural monumental objects such as Lulash Kec (Dukagjini’s Ethnographic Museum), Nikolai Zef Koček Tower (The Tower of Conquest), etc.
In addition to these constructions, in this area are built dwellings that, although not large enough, are distinguished by the rich architectural elements. These constructions are more recent and widespread in limited areas, as in Thethi village from Dukagjin area or Vermosh village from Kelmendi area.
They share similar architectural processing. Characteristics of these elements are the very sloping roofs, covered with local pine tree boards. The introduction of wood elements along with the stone masonry, brighten up the appearance of the buildings, while the steep roofs harmonize with the rugged rocky environment and seem to repeat the contours of the mountain tops, which constitute the natural background of the buildings in Theth.
The architecture of the construction of apartments in Theth has changed for centuries, adapting to nature and climate. A prouf is actually the tower of Lulash Keqit, which is the Dukagjini Museum, and the isolation tower, ex Zef Koceku’s house. There are some photos of the 1900s – 1925 where the roofs were flat and over time they became steep because the house was threatening to fall in from the great winter snow.
At DCM no.733 dated 08.12.2017, was not included all the village, where it results that two very important parts of Thethi, Grunasi, which included two of the most beautiful destinations of Theth as the Waterfalls and Grunasi Canyon as well as the Okol neighborhood, which is a beautiful up part of the valley, and the Sadri Luka tower which is a living museum mentioned by Edith Durham, the english writer. So, we can say that Thethi’s map was violated by this DCM. We hope in a mistake from the government side and not to hide any interest of a malicious person as it often happens in Albania.
Once you have entered into Theth and you are descending to the center, above the national road, you will see Gjeçaj Waterfall, which is quite beautiful and distinctive, and about 25 meters high.
The walks through the National Park provide the possibility to familiarize yourself with the natural and cultural resources that Thethi has. The Church which is preserved and maintained very well, the ethnographic Museum or the Tower of Lulash Keqi, the Isolation Tower. The waterfall of Grunas and that of Gjeçaj, the caves of the Harapi top, stone tubs of Nderlysa and the Blue Eye of Kaperre, the glacial lakes of Peja neck are of unparalleled beauty. In this village you can stay up to one week and still this time is not enough to enjoy all the nice places.
The location of this beauty is down on Kaprre, one of the most beautiful villages in the Alps. To reach the Blue Eye you must pass one of the rare beauties that are the Grunas Canyon of Theth, one of the pearls of the canyons in the entire country. If you are descended from Thethi, once you pass the Grunas canyon, down to Electric Plant of Ndërlysa and walks straight over the side village of Kaperre until you reaches the Black Well, which is formed by the Black River which comes down from Kaprreja. If you drive, you must stop and park there, because from Nderlysa to the Blue Eye of Kaperre there is no automobile road. Once you have parked the vehicle near the ruins of the School, appear before you the Black Well. From this place you should depart on foot to visit the Blue Eye. Once you have passed the bridge and take the road to Kaprre, it appears before you one of the most wonderful landscapes formed by the erosion of the cliff by the river, where some bathtubs and waterfalls are created, which are the most beautiful sights in Albania.
From the place where the car is parked, until to the Blue Eye is a pedestrian route and takes about 40 minutes for the person who walks with a normal walking. The Blue Eye is one of the rare beauties of the entire Albania. It is formed from the Black River, which flaw out from the Black Top. The Blue Eye is formed by the erosion of rock by the water that descends from the mountains. The Black Well is about 100 m2 and about 3 to 5 meters of depth. The Black River is entirely formed from the melting snow in the Alps. Any tourist (of any age) can go to the Blue Eye because the road lay in a plain valley. Along the way you have to bear in mind to follow the signs that are made by local residents.
The fauna of Park is rich and diverse.
There can be found about 20 species of mammals, 50 nesting species s nearly 10 species of reptiles and 8 species of amphibians. Very interesting is the presence of mammals and birds which are very related with habitat of high forests and the ecosystem of alpine mountains Among the largest mammals of the park are: brown bear (Ursus arctos), wolf (Canis lupus), lynx (Lynix lynix), selvage goat (Rubicapra ribicapra) and roe (Capreolus capreolus), etc..
In higher forest among the birds largely dominate Fragillidae family members (4 types), and Paridae (4 species). Other components are rarer typical elements of high forest as woodpeckers (3 types), reptle of trees (Sitt europea), etc..
On the ground floor other types of shrubs can be found like (Erithacus rubecula), ouzel (Turdus merula), (Lanus collurio), etc.. General condition of habitats is relatively good.
The history of Thethi as a touristic destination starts from the 1890th from some groups organized by the Francescan ordain, which priests use to visit Thethi within their pastoral mission.
Who use to visit Thethi once get a huge impression of its beauty. Year by year the word got spread and visitors start to come in a bigger flux. In 1905 Edit’h Durham describe the village as the most beautiful panoramic she have ever seen till that moment and got impressed from the hospitality of the local people, which accompanied her till next village Vuthaj, in Montenegro.
At this time the first tourists start coming in Thethi as adventurer tourists, which got accommodated near the village Church. Year by year the number of tourists got bigger, mostly from the city of Shkodra, that use to come in Thethi for its health cure.
At this moment start the tourist development in Thethi, where a lot of Thethi’s families straight friendship with Shkodra city families, mostly from Gjecaj and Okol quarters which give the availability of their rooms for guests from the city. First houses was the Vat Nika’s and Dede Ndrethi’s ones in Gjecaj and Sadri Luka’s one in Okol. This relationship was broken by the Communist regime that didn’t allow anymore the free choice for traveling or tourism.
During the communist regime tourism got organized from the state and for this in Thethi got constructed a residencial house for the families of the high class of that time which use to come in Thethi previously organized by the state/government. During that time the local people use to work in agriculture and those ones who use to work at this residence was previously chosen by the government to have a ‘clear biography’.
After 90’tis the camp guesthouse was closed and tourists forgot Thethi for a while! First signs of revitalization of Thethi tourism was in 1996 under the promotion of a organization from Netherlands. This new start was interrupted again in 1997 when the civil war started in Albania and a chaos situation was created. This situation of the tourism in Thethi goes on til 2001, time when Antonia Young implemented a project titled “Balkan Peace Park” that laced Thethi, Valbona, Plave and Guci and till Rugove in Kosovo. This project was a push for the restart of the tourism in Theth. Around the year 2005 the Cooperation and Development Office of the German Embassy (GIZ) implemented a project for the restructuration of some houses in the village to be adapted as guesthouses to host tourists. In this way started a beautiful road to the continuous development of the village of Theth as a touristic destination.
From 2005 till now, in a period of ten years now, with the reconstruction of the guesthouses and the infrastructures improvement there is a big change of the area. Now days in Thethi there are more than 400 beds capacity in the three village areas: Kaprre, Nderlysa and Thethi, which is the most preferred destination. In Thethi there are more than 20 guesthouses, most of them concentrated in the Thethi center. Actually, there are no hotels of a high standard but just traditional houses adapted as guesthouses for tourists, with the maximum capacity of 5 to 10 rooms each. Each one of them is investing year by year to improve its comfort and facilities.
In year 1917 it was At Shtjefen Gjeçovi, who opened the first school in albanian leanguage for Thethi kids.
An unusual and beautiful church built in 1892 and still at the same spot with same foundations until this very day. During the construction period, attached to the east wall was also the presbytery, where the priest used to live. The habitants of Thethi, from itsinheritance , have been Roman Catholics. So, one of the first buildings here was the church. One of the most legendary priests, not only for Theth and the Catholic Church, but the whole of Albanian culture was Father Shtjefen Gjeçovi.
He opened the school in the year 1917 and taught the children reading and writing in Albanian. This tradition was also followed by the other priests of this church.The year 1921 was an official date recognised by the government of the time as the schools opening, with father Marjan Prela in charge. The Education Minister of the time was Ahmet Zogu, through an internal order,set aside the sum of 100 golden francs for the education of the children of Theth.
In this church, for a short period of time, has also served Father Daniel Gjeçaj. Due to the installation of the atheist communist regime, he was forced to flee from Albania and servethe country from Italy. During the communist time, he kept contacts with all the Albanian immigrants abroad. One of his co-workers was also the great writer Martin Camaj, who would consult Father Daniel before he would publish any of his works. Thanks to the sons of Thethi who live in the USA, the church today has been reconstructedand is in full service of the village, as during the Communist regime it was damaged and made a health and pregnancy centre.
Thethi climate is quite favorable for tourism. Its characteristics are cold winter with snow up to 2 meters, and cool summers.
Theth is a wonderful village in northern Albania’s Shkodra region. Set among the peaks of the Shala mountains, Theth is isolated, and in times of snow, practically inaccessible. Edith Durham, a famous English traveler and writer on the Balkans, visited the area in 1908. She wrote of its seclusion:
One of the most exceptional natural beauties in the Albanian Alps is the Grunas waterfalls, which by the Government Decision Nr. 676, dated 20.12.2002 has been declared as a natural monument under state protection.