Peshkopi (definite Albanian form: Peshkopia, Macedonian: Пешкопеја, Turkish: Debre-i Zir) is a city in Dibër County, northeastern Albania.
It is located 187 kilometres (116 mi) away from Tirana, the capital of Albania, and 20 kilometres (12 mi) from the Macedonian border. It is situated at 41°40'N and 20°25'. It sits 651 metres (2,136 ft) above sea level. In the 2004 census, there were approximately 14,100 residents. It is the capital of both the county (Albanian: qark) and district (Albanian: rreth) of Dibër. It is the only county capital in Albania that does not share its name with its county.
Peshkopi lies east of the Black Drin river. The Drin valley is the lowest part of the district. Mineral ores such as chromium, sulphur, and marble have been discovered in the district. Peshkopi has a branch of Aleksandër Moisiu University.
The region now known as Dibër was inhabited in pre-Christian times by the Illyrian tribe known to the Romans as Penestae (Albanian: penestë).
The name of Peshkopi is derived from the word peshkop meaning bishop in Albanian. Bulgarian maps of the eleventh century show the town under the name Presolengrad. The region of Dibër was subsumed under the Orthodox archepiscopate of Ohrid in 1019, and one year later received the status of an episcopate with its center in the Bulke ward of Peshkopi, located in what is now the neighborhood of Dobrovë.
The central church of the Dibër Episcopate was that of St. Stephen (Albanian: Kisha e Shqefnit). The seat of the Episcopate would later be relocated, but the town of Peshkopi retained its name. Peshkopi is referenced as early as the fifteenth century under the name Peskopia.
By the beginning of the sixteenth century, the Ottoman Empire had completed its conquest of Albania. Under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, Peshkopi (then Debre-i Zir, which meant "Lower Debre" in Ottoman Turkish) was a small market town, overshadowed by the larger and more flamboyant Debar (Albanian: Dibra e Madhe, "Greater Dibër"), which today lies just over the Macedonian border. The population of Peshkopi was almost completely Muslim by 1583. In 1873 an Ottoman barracks was built in Peshkopi, housing up to 8,000 soldiers.
The Dibër region, including Peshkopi, took part in the uprisings against Ottoman authority that were occurring throughout Albania in the early 1910s. Albanian armed bands (Albanian: çeta) captured Peshkopi from the Ottomans on August 16, 1912.
In the aftermath of the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, a Serbian army invaded Dibër and entered Peshkopi in early December 1912. Albanian forces retook the city on September 20, 1913. A Bulgarian army invaded Peshkopi on January 1, 1916. The Austro-Hungarian Empire, an ally of Bulgaria, brought an army to Peshkopi on April 12, 1916 and engaged in punitive house-burnings and executions throughout the region in an attempt to quell local resistance. The Bulgarians and Austro-Hungarians departed the area in September 1918.
Italian forces invaded Albania in 1939, reaching Peshkopi on April 15. Albanian Communist partisans retook Peshkopi on September 9, 1943. The following October, the partisans defeated Balli Kombëtar forces in an armed battle for control of the city. In July 1944, German forces occupied the city, but were expelled later that same month.
Fighting continued in the Dibër region until early September, leaving the Communist-dominated National Liberation Army (Albanian: Ushtria Nacionalçlirimtare) in control. It is also an important industrial center in Albania, in particulary in relation to the food industry.
Places of interest
The museum, located beside the general secondary school. It houses an excellent collection of local costumes, carpets, kitchen equipment and filigree jewelry, as well as a number of models of local architecture.
Elez Isufi Boulevard, a pedestrian-only street lined with linden (Albanian: bli) trees.
Thermal mineral water springs (Albanian: llixha) in the vicinity of Peshkopi are a draw for seasonal tourism, primarily from within Albania, but also to a lesser extent from neighboring countries. They are located a short distance east of the city, upstream along the Bellova Creek.
Lagjja e Re ("the New Neighborhood")
The local football (soccer) club is KS Korabi Peshkopi.