Velipojë, also called Velipoja, is an Albanian town in Shkodër District. The population is approximately 8026 people.
Geography and economy
Velipoja is situated on the estuary of the River Buna (the only navigable river of Albania), where it flows into the Adriatic Sea while making border with Montenegro. The Commune (i.e. the administrative unit) of Velipoja has a population of around 10,000, spread over several small settlements, the largest of which is the town of Velipoja itself.
Its economy is based on agriculture (arable land and livestock, sheep and cattle), some fishing, and chiefly tourism. The scenery is largely unspoilt: a mixture of sea-coast, river estuary, heathland, thick pine woods, farmland, and high mountains. It has been remarked by visitors that the heathland to the north of Velipoja is very reminiscent of Scottish scenery. A nature reserve lies within the commune. The area is a prime site for birdwatching, game shooting and fishing. A long, sandy beach is a popular attraction in summer.
In recent years, several projects have been instituted with the aim of conserving the environment (including the marine life of the Buna) and the encouragement of ecological tourism. There have also been recent efforts to develop fish farming. The area has many small hotels and guest houses. There is a market, where local farmers sell their produce. In the commune, there is a church-sponsored kindergarten, several primary schools, two secondary schools, and one gymnasium. There is also a small theatre and a thriving local football team, KS Ada Velipojë and ground.
History and traditions
Historically not a wealthy area, and like the rest of the country subject to much emigration, Velipoja has recently begun to expand as a tourist resort, favoured especially by the inhabitants of Shkodër, the chief city of northern Albania, which lies about 30 km (19 mi) distant inland.