Photos from Albania

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Along northern Albania's Lake Koman

There was no electric power at all in Albania until 1927 and ten years later only ten towns had electricity. After the Second World War the Communist regime constructed five dams on the Drin river in the north of the country, to harness its large hydro-electric potential. Now the whole course of the river has been transformed, from Vau i Dejës just east of Shkodër to the junction of the White and Black Drin at Kukësi near the border with Kosovo.

Artificial lake on the Drin
Small ferry leaving
Looking back to Koman
Boats on Lake Koman
Mountains along the lake
On the Drin river
Ferry on Liqeni i Komanit
Arriving at a village
Place to disembark
Mountains along Lake Koman
Gorge of the Drin
Boys in a boat
Passengers going ashore
Scenery near Fierzë
Ferry at Bregluma
Ferry on the Drin
Passengers on the ferry
On the upper deck
Albanian flag
Flying the flag
On Lake Koman
Alongside the lake
Along Liqeni i Komanit
Mountains reflected
View from the ferry
Riverside village
Village on the river
Island in Lake Koman
Sailing in the gorge
Drin river gorge
Approaching Koman
Dam on the White Drin
Liqeni i Fierzës
View near Dardhë
Valley view
Restaurant Kunora

A road runs from Shkodër, alongside Liqeni i Vaut të Dejës, an artificial lake created by a dam 18 kilometres from the city, to the massive Vau i Dejës dam, built between 1967 and 1971. The complex has four hydro-electric turbines, producing 600 Megawatts in an underground power station. The road leads through a 3 kilometres long tunnel and ends at the ferry station of Koman. From here ferries run along Liqeni i Komanit, an artificial lake on the Drin river, to the village of Bregluma. The ferry can take about 20 cars and 100 passengers and takes about 4 hours to make the journey. Apart from the roll-on-roll-off ferry that can take cars, there is a small boat looking more like a bus (with the driver indeed steering it with a steering wheel like in a bus) that takes only passengers who can be dropped off at points along the river, from where they have to climb to their villages in the surrounding mountains. The journey from Koman to Bregluma is breathtakingly beautiful, passing through artificial lakes and deep gorges that remind of Norwegian fjords. Passengers are dropped at various villages along the way.

The village of Bregluma, about 15 kilometres south of Bajram Curri in Albania's north east, lies opposite the municipality of Fierzë, with its massive dam and power station; this was built during the Communist times, originally named "Light of the Party Power Station" and opened in 1978. Behind it is the The Fierzë Reservoir (Liqeni i Fierzës), a lake 70 kilometres long, stretching into Kosovo.