hidden europe

Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

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Village of Theth
Magazine article

Albania: A Tale of Two Valleys

It is unlikely that great streams of tourists will be arriving in the mountains of northern Albania anytime soon. But this part of the southern Balkans now benefits from better access roads. Guest contributor Laurence Mitchell reports from two ...
Magazine article

Kosovo travel notes
  

It's perfectly sensible to travel from Budapest to Thessaloniki through Kosovo. But it's unwise to attempt the journey in the reverse direction. Find out why in our notes on travelling through ...
Magazine article

Sharing sacred space
  

The clean lines that we think divide religions often become very blurred in the Balkan region. Thus shrines may be claimed as sacred by adherents of more than one religion. We look at the phenomenon of syncretic ...
Magazine article

Out of place, but not out of mind
  

So why does a statue of Rocky Balboa stand in a small town in northern Serbia? And why did citizens of Mostar (in Herzegovina) decide that a statue of Bruce Lee could unite their troubled town? We take a look at statues that seem improbably out of ...
Letter from Europe

By train through Albania

  • 19 Oct 2010
The railway platform at Tirana was as full as it ever gets. That meant all of half a dozen people waiting for the dawn train to Pogradec, among them an English gricer and a Polish twitcher. The latter had travelled across Europe to catch a glimpse ...
Magazine article

A matter of Principalities
  

A pot-pourri of railway-related facts that you would never have guessed could ever be so interesting. We leap from Wales to Monaco, from Liechtenstein to Vatican City in search of a few railway records. Not just for ...
Letter from Europe

Levoca (Slovakia)

  • 11 Oct 2009
Levoca is picture perfect, a community that deserves to be far better known. As it surely will, for this summer Levoca secured inclusion on UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites. The historic centre of Levoca reflects late medieval Saxon ...
Magazine article

People's palaces
  

Many central and eastern European capitals boast 'palaces' that were constructed in the socialist period. While Berlin's Palace of the Republic is being demolished, other capitals are finding more creative ways of rehabilitating their 'people's ...
Magazine article

Peace parks

International peace parks that seek to promote conservation across national boundaries while also encouraging cooperation across borders, are becoming increasingly common. Bringing projects like the current plan for a Balkans Peace Park to fruition ...
Golem Grad
Magazine article

Border zone: around Lake Prespa
  

At the point in the southwest Balkans where Macedonia, Albania and Greece converge lies Lake Prespa. It is an extraordinary place - brackish waters, fill of bulbous weeds that pull at your feet. In the middle of the lake is Golem Grad, an island ...
Magazine article

Women's lives in High Albania
  

Under the kanun code, which governs life in the mountains of northern Albania, women do not inherit. They barely even have a name. Yet, under certain circumstances, it is possible for women to break free from this patriarchal strait-jacket. Join us ...
Magazine article

Edith Durham in Prokletije
  

It was one hundred years ago this year that Edith Durham made the Albanian journeys that were to feature in her book "High Albania". We look at Edith Durham's adventures in the Albania-Montenegro border ...
Letter from Europe

Gracanica (Kosovo)

  • 13 Feb 2008
When the celebrated English travel writer Edith Durham arrived at the monastery at Gracanica one hundred years ago, she came to a place that had virtually no experience of the twentieth century. It is an episode that Durham recalls in her book High ...
Letter from Europe

Designing identity

  • 28 Aug 2007
Albanians have not lost their way with clothes, as anyone walking the streets of Tirana's business district at lunchtime will quickly notice. Forget notions of an obscure Balkan nation, and look more for the same stylish chic that you might see ...