Macedonians in Albania

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Macedonians in Albania
Македонци во Албанија
Makedonci vo Albanija
Total population
5,512 (2011 census)[1]
other estimates range from 120,000 to 350,000 (according to the Association of Macedonians in Albania[2])
Regions with significant populations
Mala Prespa, Golo Brdo, Maqellarë Municipality, Gora
Macedonian and Albanian
Macedonian Orthodoxy and Islam
Related ethnic groups

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The Macedonians in Albania (Macedonian: Македонци во Албанија, Makedonci vo Albanija; Albanian: Maqedonasit në Shqipëri) are an officially recognized ethnic minority.[3][4] According to the 2011 census, 5,870 ethnic Macedonians live in Albania. However, before the census, Macedonian organizations from Albania asked Macedonians to boycott the census because only in Pustec Municipality were individuals were allowed to declare themselves as ethnic Macedonians.[5] In the 1989 census, 4,697 people had declared themselves Macedonian.[6]

The condition of the Macedonian population living in the Prespa area is described in positive terms and particular praise is given since all the villages of the area are allowed schooling in their mother tongue.[7] Macedonian organizations allege that the government undercounts their number and that they are politically under-represented, arguing there are no Macedonians in the Albanian parliament.[8] Past Helsinki reports stated, "Albania recognizes [...] a Macedonian minority, but only in the Southern regions. Those who identify as Macedonians [...] outside these minority regions are denied the minority rights granted in the south, including minority classes at state schools."[9]


External estimates on the population of Macedonians in Albania include 10,000,[10] whereas Macedonian sources have claimed 120,000 to 350,000 Macedonians in Albania[11][12] Despite high levels of emigration the official number of people registering as Macedonians in Albania has more than doubled over the last 60 years, according to Albanian census data.

Year Macedonian population  % change

In March 2009, the Commission for Minority Issues of the Foreign Ministry of Albania announced the results of its study about the national minorities in the country. According to the study, there are 4,148 Macedonians (0.14% of the total population) living in the country. The mayor of Pustec Edmond Temelko criticised the report and said that "this number once again proves that the Albanian Government denies the existence of the Macedonian minority". He stated that the population of Pustec, which is mainly populated by ethnic Macedonians, is even 5,300 and that the Macedonian minority in Albania makes up 150,000. The ethnic Macedonian organisations of Albania announced they will complain at Albanian institutions and international organisations.[13][14]

Pustec is one of the biggest settlements populated with Macedonians

The 2011 census was controversial for the nation's ethnic minorities. Macedonian and Greek groups sharply criticized Article 20 of the Census law, according to which a $1,000 fine will be imposed on anyone who will declare an ethnicity other than what is stated on his or her birth certificate. This is seen an attempt to intimidate minorities into declaring Albanian ethnicity. In addition, some believed the Albanian government had stated that it would jail anyone who did not participate in the census or refused to declare his or her ethnicity.[15]

Geographic distribution

Regions where ethnic Macedonians live within Albania

Macedonians in Albania traditionally live in Mala Prespa (Macedonian: Мала Преспа), Golo Brdo (Macedonian: Голо Брдо, Golo Brdo), Dibër (Macedonian: Дебар Поле, Debar Pole), Korçë (Macedonian: Горица, Gorica), Pogradec (Macedonian: Поградец) and Gora (Macedonian: Гора) areas.[16][17][18] Some, however, have moved to larger cities like Tirana, where roughly 500 ethnic Macedonians live as of the 2011 census.[19]

Mala Prespa

Macedonians are only officially recognised as a minority population in Municipality of Pustec, on the shores of Lake Prespa. The municipality consists of the following villages:


Macedonians also inhabit the region to the south of Lake Prespa, within the Devoll District. A Macedonian minority can be found in Bilisht (Macedonian: Билишта, Bilišta) and in the village of Verniku (Macedonian: Врбник, Vrbnik), which is the only Macedonian-inhabited village in Albania considered to form a part of Aegean Macedonia. Two other villages with Macedonian populations in the region are Sueci (Macedonian: Шуец, Šuec) and Zagradeci (Macedonian: Заградец, Zagradec).[citation needed]


Small remnants of a population of Macedonians can be found in Boboshticë (Macedonian: Бобоштица, Boboštica) and Drenove (Macedonian: Дреново, Drenovo). The Gorica dialect of Macedonian is used by the Macedonian inhabitants of this region.[citation needed]

Lake Ohrid Region

Macedonians can be found in the village of Lin (Macedonian: Лин). The Macedonians of Lin speak Vevčani-Radožda dialect of Macedonian.[20]

Golo Brdo

Macedonians also form a significant population in the Golo Brdo (Macedonian: Голо Брдо, Golo Brdo) region, however there is a significant minority of Albanians. Macedonian populations can be found in the following places:

Dolno Pole

The area known as Dolno Pole (Macedonian: Долно Поле) is situated east of the town of Peshkopi. Several villages with Macedonian populations can be found in this region. They include:


Many inhabitants of the Gora (Macedonian: Гора) region (which straddles Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia) are Slavic-speaking Muslims, whose number has been estimated at c. 40,000 - 120,000.[23] Sources from the Republic of Macedonia claim the Gorani people to be a subgroup of ethnic Macedonians. In the 2011 census, 11.7% of residents in Zapod and 7.7% in Shishtavec identified as ethnic Macedonians.[24]


There is a general high school in Pustec, one eight-year school in Dolna Gorica and six elementary schools in Šulin, Leska, Zrnovsko, Gorna Gorica, Tuminec and Globočeni. There are eight-year schools at the two biggest villages of the commune, Pustec and Gorice e Madhe, where 20 percent of the texts are held at the mother tongue language. At the centre of the commune there is a high school as well. The history of the Macedonian people is a special subject at the school. All minority schools have twin partnerships with counterparts in Macedonia.[25] All the teaching personnel is local and with the proper education.[26]



The Macedonians in Albania are predominantly Macedonian Orthodox and Muslim. The distribution of religions among Macedonians reflects the trend of confession in their non-Macedonian neighbors- Macedonians in more southerly regions share the Orthodox Christian faith with the high concentration of Albanian Orthodox believers of these regions, as well as local Aromanians and Greeks who are largely Orthodox, while as one goes further north, the proportion of Muslim Macedonians increases with the proportion of Muslim Albanians (which form a majority of some local Albanian areas in the northern parts). The Macedonian Muslims can be found primarily in the Golo Brdo, Gora and Peshkopi regions, with smaller populations in the South of the country in places such as Rajca, etc. There are however substantial Orthodox Macedonian minorities in both the Golo Brdo and Peshkopi regions. In the south of the country around Mala Prespa, Pogradec, Korçë and Bilisht, the Macedonians are mostly Orthodox.

The Community is currently in the process of building the first of many Macedonian Orthodox Churches.[27][28] The Church 'St. Michael the Archangel' was started in the early 2000s. A new church is that of Saint Mary for which a considerable funding has been given by the Macedonian Orthodox Church.[26]


In September 1991 the "Bratska" Political Association of Macedonian in Albania (BPAMA) was established. Other Macedonian organizations include Macedonian Alliance for European Integration, Macedonian Society Ilinden Tirana, Prespa, Mir (Peace), Bratstvo (Brotherhood) and the MED (Macedonian Aegean Society).[29] Ethnic Macedonian organization claim that 120.000 to 350,000 Macedonians live in Albania.[2]

In March 2012, Macedonians in Golo Brdo formed "Most" (Macedonian for "Bridge"). The organisation's president, Besnik Hasani said that the group's goal is to "be fighting for recognition of Macedonians in Golo Brdo by the Albanian state and the introduction of the Macedonian language in schools... Also, our task will be to prevent the Bulgarian propaganda and efforts of Bulgaria for the Bulgarisation of the Macedonians in Golo Brdo."[30]

Political parties

The Macedonians in Albanian are represented by the Macedonian Alliance for European Integration (Macedonian: Македонска Алијанса за Европска Интеграција, Makedonska Alijansa za Evropska Integracija). In 2007 Edmond Temelko was elected to the position of Mayor of Pustec, and was reelected to this position in 2011, in which the party received ~2,500 votes. Edmond Osmani narrowly missed out being elected as Mayor of Trebište, however 5 Macedonian counsellors were elected in Pustec, 3 in Trebisht, 2 in Bilisht and another in Pirg.[31][dubious ]

At present there is no Macedonian in the Albanian Parliament. But many of the Local Government representatives are Macedonian. The mayor of Pustec is Edmond Vangjel Themelko according to 2007 local elections. He is a Macedonian. There are Macedonians represented in the districts of Zvezda and Gorna Gorica.[32]



The local radio of Korçë broadcasts the Fote Nikola (Macedonian: Фоте Никола) program which comprises news bulletins and songs in Macedonian for the Macedonian minority in Albania for half an hour each day. On November 7, 2002 the first private Macedonian-language radio station was set up. It is known as "Radio Prespa".[25]


The local TV station has also released programs from the Republic of Macedonia.[33] In November, 2010, the first Macedonian television station, Television Kristal (Macedonian: Телевизија Кристал, Televisija Kristal), was officially launched.[34]

Print Media

Numerous forms of Macedonian language print media serve the needs of the Macedonians living in Albania. In the early 1990s the first Macedonian language periodical known as Mir (Peace) emerged. Later still the newspaper Prespa (Macedonian: Преспа, Prespa), began to be pubslished by Macedonians living in the Mala Prespa region.[35] The Macedonian newspaper 'Ilinden' was launched in April, 2011, by Macedonians living in Tirana.[36]

Notable individuals

See also


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  2. 2.0 2.1 World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Albania : Macedonians
  4. Council of Europe 2004-2008
  5. Only 0.2 % Macedonians live in Albania according to the Albanian authorities
  6. Artan Hoxha and Alma Gurraj, "Local Self-Government and Decentralization: Case of Albania. History, Reforms and Challenges". In: Local Self Government and Decentralization in South - East Europe. Proceedings of the workshop held in Zagreb, Croatia. 6 April 2001. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Zagreb Office, Zagreb 2001, pp 194-224
  7. Minority Rights in Albania, page 3 - Albanian Helsinki Committee, September 1999
  8. Interview with Edmond Temelko, president of the Macedonian organization "Prespa" in Albania
  9. Helsinki report
  10. Landesinformationen: AlbINFO by
  11. 2003 OSCE - Macedonian Minority in Albania
  12. Jakim Sinadinovski, Macedonian Muslims, Then and Now
  13. Večer Online
  14. Dnevnik newspaper
  15. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  16. Official web page of the Macedonian Alliance
  19. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  20. Hendricks, P. "The Radozda-Vevcani Dialect of Macedonian". Peter De Ridder Press, 1976, p. 3.
  21. Distribution of the Macedonian minority in Albania
  22. Macedonians in Trebiste
  23. M. Apostolov, "The Pomaks: A Religious Minority in The Balkans", (1996)
  24. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  25. 25.0 25.1 U.S.ENGLISH Foundation Official Language Research - Albania: Language in everyday life
  26. 26.0 26.1
  27. Macedonians in Albania Archived May 24, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  28. Minority Rights in Albania, Albanian Helsinki Committee, September 1999
  29. The Macedonian Minority in Albania
  30. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  31. The Macedonian Alliance did not elect a second mayor
  32. Makedonski Icelenuchki Almanac '97, Matitsa na Icelenitsite od Makedonija; Skopje: 1997; p.60-61
  33. Under the direct auspices of the Albanian Helsinki Committee, from September 1999 to September 2000, an intensive work was carried out for the realization of the project "On the status of the minorities in the Republic of Albania". This project was financed by the Finnish Foundation 'KIOS', "Finnish NGO Foundation for Human Rights"
  34. TV Kristal, the First Macedonian Television station in Albania
  37. :: СМК - Светски Македонски конгрес - Официјална WEB страница ::
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External links