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Leskovik

Leskovik is a municipality in the Kolonjë District, Korçë County, southeastern Albania. It is located right at the Greek-Albanian border. Its maximum population was during 1910, with around 10,000 people.

History

Ottoman period

The area came under Ottoman rule in 15th century and became part of the Sanjak of Ioannina. Leskovik was recognized as a town in the early 1800s. It was conceived as a relaxing and retreat center for the Ottoman administration. According to the "Encyclopedia" of Sami Frashëri, it gradually became the center of the Kaza and later the Sanjak.

Leskovik surroundings and its nearby mountain Melesin were a battle arena between Ottoman army and the Albanian rebels led by Iliaz (Zylyftar) Poda (from the nearby village of Podë) during the Albanian rebellion of 1832-1833.

Edith Durham, who traveled the area during the last Ottoman period, would give a description of the town in her book "The Burden of the Balkans" as: "Leskovik is a quiet small place, solid and stony, built much like a North Wales village, but clean and tidy, the population mostly Bektashite Moslems. Some of the Christian women had a small cross tattooed between their eyebrows. There is small church, and a Greek school...".

During the Balkan Wars (1912-1913) Ottoman rule came to an end and Leskovik briefly came under the control of the Greek forces. Shortly after the town was visited by an international commission who was responsible to draw the precise borders between the Kingdom of Greece and the newly established Principality of Albania. Leskovik was finally ceded to Albania under the terms of the Protocol of Florence (17 December 1913).

World War II

During the Greco-Italian War, Leskovik was controlled by the Greek Army, during the penetration of the Greek forces in November 1940. Latter, the town showed a strong support to communist partisans during the Italian and German World War II occupation.

Cold War

The People's Socialist Republic of Albania, being an ally of the Soviet Union, was involved in the Greek Civil War (1946-1949) by supporting the communist led Greek Democratic Army. Leskovic became for a period its headquarters. The town also hosted a training, a supply center, as well as medical facilities for the communist guerrillas, who mounted several invasions from Albanian soil into the Greek region of Grammos and fled back to Albania once an operation was completed.

Today

The population has decreased after the '90s, due to emigration. The population's religion is distributed between Bektashis, Orthodoxes, and Muslims.

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