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Fier County (Albania)

Last modified: 2018-07-22 by ivan sache
Keywords: fier | divjakë | lushnjë | mallakastër | patos | roskovec | ballsh |
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Flag of Fier - Image by Tomislav Šipek, 16 March 2018

The flag of Fier (image) is white with the municipal coat of arms (presentation) in the center. "Bashkia" means "Municipality".

Tomislav Šipek, 13 March 2018



Flag of Divjakë - Image by Tomislav Šipek, 22 March 2018

The flag of Divjakë (photo) is white with the municipal coat of arms in the center. "Bashkia" means "Municipality".

Tomislav Šipek, 22 March 2018



Flag of Lushnjë - Image by Tomislav Šipek, 18 March 2018

The municipality of Lushnjë (83,659 inhabitants in 2011) is located 50 km south of Durrës and 30 km north-west of Fier. The municipality was established in 2015 as the merger of the former municipalities of Lushnjë, Allkaj, Ballagat, Bubullimë, Dushk, Fier-Shegan, Golem, Hysgjokaj, Karbunarë, Kolonjë, and Krutje.

The flag of Lushnjë (photo, photo, photo) is green with the municipal coat of arms in the center. "Bashkia" means "Municipality".
The emblem features the town's landmark, the country house owned by Kase Fuga where the Congress of Lushnjë was held from 21 January to 9 February 1920 (photophoto), resultoing in the proclamation of the Republic of Albania.

Albanian nationalists, exasperated by Italy's apparent intention to remain in occupation, her readiness to sacrifice Albanian territory to Greece and Yugoslavia for advantages elsewhere, and the refusal of the Yugoslavs to withdraw while the Italians remained, organized a National Congress of 56 delegates. The Congress was attended by many influential men, including representatives from Vlorë, Korçë, Pogradec, and some of the Albanian regions not included within the frontiers of 1913.
The delegates assembled at Lushnjë to express outrage at the prospect of Vlorë being left in Italy's hands and a mandate over Albania being accorded to her. They concluded that their country's cause was in desperate position, that they had been misled in the past in the belief that the principles of justice and self-determination would be applied to Albania, and that they had been wrong in remaining passive and trusting entirely in the Powers at the Peace Conference. They released now that to rely on the justice of the Great Powers was to lean on a broken reed, and that Albanians must be determined to make every sacrifice to oppose, with arms if necessary, all decisions which endangered the territorial integrity of their country and their complete independence. Therefore they decided that a Sacred Union must reject the plans of the Paris Peace Conference for the partitioning of Albania and must form a fresh and more active temporary Provisional Government, composed of honest men trusted by the people, and that a general election must take place for a National Legislative Assembly to be summoned and to draw up a new Constitution.
The Congress of Lushnjë was dominated by Aqif Pasha Elbasani, Eshref Bey Frashëri, and Ahmet Bey Zogu of Mati who had now returned from exile and from his internment by the Italians. The area where the Congress was being held and the very town where they were meeting were still in the hands of the Italians, and it was Ahmet Zogu who, also he was there as a delegate, brought up his armed followers to protect the Albanian leaders' deliberations from interference from outside. For their lives were in danger, due to the menacing presence of the Italian troops whose orders were to suppress any national movement, and the only forces available to defend the leader were these sharpshooters from Mati, Zoguu's retainers.

At the first meeting of the Congress (22 January), Ferid Vokopola, who represented the district of Lushnjë, made the opening speech at the inauguration ceremony welcoming the delegates, after which Aqif Pasha Elbasani, the oldest member of the Congress, took the platform. Committees were then immediately formed to study the problems to be dealt with. The situation remained very tense, however, for the Provisional Government in Durrës was a rival faction which tried to impede the work of the Congress by means of intrigues, and by the assassination at Durrës of Abdyl Bey Ypi, one of the initiators of the Congress. The Italian military authorities took the side of the Provisional Government, which falsely described the members of the Lushnjë Congress as merely a group of adventurers with no influence whatsoever in the country. It was the major task confronting the Congress to deal with the threat posed by foreign troops in Albania and to expel the Italian army of occupation.
Aqif Pasha Elbasani was elected president of the Lushnjë Congress on 28 January. The next day, the National Congress of Lushnjë drafted a resolution in the form of an energetic protest addressed to the Paris Peace Conference and to the Italian Parliament in Rome. The delegates formally protested against the plans for the partitioning of Albanian, territory as embodied in the Secret Treaty of London of 1915, and firmly rejected the Italian protectorate which the Allied Powers proposed to establish over the remainder of Albania. The Congress invoked President Wilson's principle of self-determination of nations, declaring that Albania was an independent State which was not prepared to accept an Italian mandate over any part of its territory, nor any form of foreign protectorate or mandate or limitation of its sovereignty, without the explicit consent of the Albanian people.
The assembled Congress resolved unanimously to oppose all schemes involving the cession of territory to Yugoslavia and to Greece, a mandate for Italy over the Albanian Moslems, a separate mandate to some other Power over Korçën, and all other efforts to keep the Albanians divided which were made so persistently.
Several other resolutions were passed by the Lushnjë Congress, chiefly against the Provisional Government of Durrës which did not command much popular support, many Albanians recognizing it as little more than a pro-Italian puppet regime. The Congress passed a resolution to strip Turhan Pasha of all government prerogatives and to depose the Italian-influenced regime, substituting for it a strong central administration pledged to oppose all foreign interference.

The Statutes of the Lushnjë Congress, adopted on 30 January, reaffirmed the Organic Constitution of 1914 which had created a monarchy under King William, and which had never been abrogated nor superseded. Since King William had never formally abdicated, the National Congress now attributed limited executive powers to a Supreme Council of Regency composed of four members, notables representing the four major religious communities in the country, who were appointed to replace the absent sovereign and act on his behalf.
The Congress completed the new government by electing a Cabinet of nine members and by appointing a non-elected Senate or National Council of 37 members entrusted with parliamentary powers until such time as a general election could be held.
On 31 January, Tirana was chosen and proclaimed to be the new capital of Albania, in preference to either Durrës, Shkodër, or Korçë, which were also favored. It was decided that the Congress of Lushnjë was not to be dissolved until elections had been held.
Ahmet Bey Zogu of Mati was now taking the lead in the national movement. Appointed Minister of the Interior at the age of 24, he was given the urgent task of ensuring law and order, to enable the new government's authority to be extended. Consequently, as soon as he had been sworn into office Zogu made known to the Albanian people, by a circular sent to all the prefectures of the country, the reasons why the Congress had assembled and the decisions that it had taken.

The new Albanian government moved from Lushnjë to Tirana and began to function at Tirana on 11 February. The Lushnjë Statutes had been adopted, and Ahmet Zogu had received orders as Commander-in-Chief of the Albanian armed forces to march upon the capital. The large Italian garrison at Tirana offered him little resistance but soon surrendered the city, and Zogu was welcomed by the rejoicing population.
On 20 February, the Provisional Government of Durrës resigned and handed over all the archives to the nationalist government of Tirana. All regions of Albania that had been controlled by the Durrës government, including the city itself, now came under the orders of the new government.
Albania's parliamentary life began on 17 March in Tirana where a National Assembly was convened, resulting from the general elections in February. The Cabinet was composed of the same nine members as in that formed at the Congress of Lushnjë.
[Owen Pearson. 2004. Albania in the Twentieth Century, A History: Volume I: Albania and King Zog. Independence, Republic and Monarchy, 1908-1939]

Tomislav Šipek & Ivan Sache, 21 March 2018



Flag of Mallakastër - Image by Tomislav Šipek, 19 March 2018

The municipality of Mallakastër (27,062 inh.) was established in 2015 as the merger of the former municipalities of Aranitas, Ballsh (seat of the new municipality), Fratar, Greshicë, Hekal, Kutë, Ngraçan, Qendër Dukas, and Selitë.

The flag of Mallakastër (photo) is white with the municipal coat of arms in the center. "Bashkia" means "Municipality".
The emblem features the reverse of a coin (photos) minted in the ancient town of Byllis, showing an eagle standing right and the name of the town in Greek capital letters. The very same coin is featured, in a less conspicuous manner, on the coat of arms of Ballsh.

Billys' origins date back to the 4th century BC, when it was founded by the Illyrians. The original set of walls, whose foundations remain to this day, were built by them during the 3rd century BC. They run around a vast area, in a triangular shape, for about two kilometres. Though they are in varying states around the site, with some parts having been renovated, the structure includes some of the original stones.
Byllis like most Illyrian cities was created as a center that served as the capital in the context of a union or federation of cities or tribes. Looking at its layout and construction techniques and the cemetery near the eastern entry, lead to the conclusion that the city was not founded earlier than 370-350 BC. The fast construction of such a big city was the result of a development of civic life in this area, to strengthen the economic development and to resist the aggression of Philip II of Macedonia in the middle of the century. The area around had a number of other ancient cities like: Nikaia (near the village of today Klos), Gurezeza near Cakranit, Margelliç, near Patos, Rabije Kalivaç in Tepelenë territory.
After the Roman conquest, Byllis turned into a Roman colony and is said to have been a supply base for the Roman legions of Julius Cesar. The city was mentioned in one of Cicero's orations, in a fiery speech damning Marcus Brutus for occupying the city.
[ Official website]

Tomislav Šipek & , 20 March 2018



Flag of Patos - Image by Tomislav Šipek, 23 March 2018

The flag of Patos (photo) is blue on top half with the municipal coat of arms on hoist side, and red-black-red-black-red stripes on bottom half.

Tomislav Šipek, 23 March 2018



Flag of Roskovec - Image by Tomislav Šipek, 22 March 2018

The municipality of Roskovec (21,742 inhabitants in 2011; 11,801 ha) is located 20 km east of Fier. The municipality was established in 2015 as the merger of the former municipalities of Roskovec (4,975 inh.), Kuman (5,611 inh.), Kurjan (3,618 ha) and Strum (7,538 inh.).

The flag of Roskovec (photo) is white with the municipal coat of arms in the center. "Bashkia" means "Municipality".
On the coat of arms, the pumpjack represents the Patos-Marinze oil field, exploited by Bankers Petroleum Ltd. (website), a Canadian company fully owned since 2016 by Geo-Jade Petroleum Co. (China).

Discovered in 1927 by the Anglo Persian Oil Co., the Patos-Marinze oil field was exploited in stages by Russians and Albanians. After the fall of Enver Hoxha's regime in 1991, the new government privatized the hydrocarbon sector. The Patos-Marinze oil field was conceded in 1994 to Anglo Albanian Petroleum, a consortium established by Premier Oil (UK), IFC (International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group), OMV (Austria) and Albpetrol (Albania). After the withdrawal of Anglo Albanian Petroleum, members of its technical team raised funds in Canada to establish Bankers Petroleum, which was granted the concession of the oil field in 2004.
[Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), 21 March 2016]
In the Patos-Marinze oil field, the largest onshore field in Europe, more than 7 millions oil barrels a year are extracted from the sandy formations of the Dures basin at ~2km depth. The intense extraction of buried oil and sandy material goes together with re-injection of waste water under pressure in other buried sedimentary layers. In autumn 2016, an anomalous seismic swarm developed in the vicinity of the main injection wells, damaging houses and triggering the opening of a public inquiry.
[ENS Lyon]

Tomislav Šipek & Ivan Sache, 15 April 2018

Former municipalities


[Flag]         [Flag]

Former flag of Fier, two versions - Images by Tomislav Šipek, 18 March 2018

The flag of the former municipality of Fier was white with the former municipal coat of arms in the center.
The arms feature the facade of the bouleuterion, a monument part of the ancient city of Apollonia, which was proposed for registration on the UNESCO World Heritage List on 3 April 2014, with the following notice:

The ancient city of Apollonia is situated in southwestern Albania, about 13 miles from the city of Fier. Its foundation took place immediately after the foundation of Epidamnus–Dyrrachium and quickly became one of the most eminent cities of the Adriatic basin, which was mentioned more frequently from the other 30 (thirty) cities bearing the same name during Antiquity. The city lay in the territory of the political communion of the Taulantii and was broadly known as Apollonia of Illyria. According to the tradition it was founded during the first half of the 6th century BC by Greek colonist from Corfu and Corinth, led by Gylax, which named the city after his name (Gylakeia). After its quick establishment the city changed its name to Apollonia, according to the powerful divinity Apollo. It stands on a hilly plateau from where expands the fertile plain of Musacchia with the Adriatic Sea and the hills of Mallakastra. The ruins of Apollonia are discovered in the beginning of the 19th century.

The city flourished during the 4th century AD as an important economic and trade center. Over time it was expanded over the whole hilly slope including an area of ca. 81 ha, surrounded by a large wall of 3 km of length and 3 m of width. Although Apollonia was situated few kilometers away from the Adriatic Sea, its position on the right bank of the Aoos River (modern Vjosë) enabled its communication with the coastal part of the territory. In the two hilltops dominating the city stands the temenos area (the sacred area around the temple of Apollo) and the Arx (military citadel). Between the two hilltops were situated the public buildings of the ancient city, which continued to experience a period of grandeur and splendor under the successive roman rule (since 229 BC).
The fame of the city attracted many personalities of the largest empire of the ancient world as the eminent roman philosopher and orator Cicero, which noted Apollonia in his Philippics as magna urbs et gravis (a great and important city). During this period the city became one of the most important gateways of the transballkanic Via Egnatia, while in its famous Academy has studied and underwent military training Octavianus, accompanied by Agrippas, the eminent general and statesman of the Roman Empire. After a long period of continuous economic and cultural development, Apollonia fell into decline until its total abandonment during the medieval period. The culture and the general development of the city maintained a clear Greek character throughout its existence. However, the independent economic and politic activity as well as the close relationships with the Illyrian hinterland determined a distinctive physiognomy of the Apollonian culture.

The symbol of Apollonia is the Roman monument of Agonothetes which would be its bouleuterion, constructed in the course of the 2nd century. City states in ancient Greece called their City Council meeting room the "Bouleuterion". In Apollonia this is located in the city center near the Agora (the central meeting and marketplace of a city). It was built in the last quarter of the 2nd century BC, during the Roman period.
In ancient Greece, an agonothetes was the president or superintendent of the sacred games. At first the person who instituted the games and defrayed the expenses was the Agonothetes; but in the great public games, such as the Olympic Games and Pythian Games, these presidents were the representatives of different states.
The structure had the form of a semicircle and served as an assembly place of the council of the city - the Bule. The front part of the structure was decorated in a special manner: there are 6 pillars crowned with capitals of the Corinthian style. An inscription dating from the middle of the 2nd century AD tells that the building was constructed by high-ranking officers of the city, a monument with the purpose of commemorating the death of their soldier brother.
[ Apollonia Archeological Park]

Aleksandar Nemet & Ivan Sache, 18 March 2018



Flag of Ballsh - Image by Tomislav Šipek, 19 March 2018

Ballsh (7,657 inhabitants in 2011), located 30 km south-east of Fier, was incorporated in 2015 to the new municipality of Mallakastër.
The flag of Ballsh (photo) is white with the municipal coat of arms.

Tomislav Šipek, 19 March 2018