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In Albania's northern Malësia e Madhe mountains

The village of Theth in the valley of the Shala river has always been isolated in the Malësia e Madhe (= "Big Mountains") in far northern Albania: in winter it is almost inaccessible when heavy snows close the road from Shkodër to Theth. A three hour rough and bumpy ride from the village of Bogë, over the Buni i Thorës pass, offers spectacular views of the snowcapped mountains. During the short tourist season (June to September when it can be assumed the road is open) there are small hotels or home stays overlooking the Shala valley and in Theth.

Mountains near Bogë
Malësia e Madhe
Malësia e Madhe
Mountain view
Malësia e Madhe
House in Lelys
Lelys farm houses
Houses in Lelys
Mountains near Lelys
Derelict houses
Suspension bridge
Valley near Lelys
Syri i kaltër
View to farmhouse
Malësia e Madhe view
Mountains near Lelys
Small waterfall
Derelict houses
Lelys views
Sheep farm
View to Lelys
Hotel near Theth
View to Theth
Kapllaj Restaurant

About 10 kilometres south of Theth, along a rough but spectacular road hugging the slopes above the Shala river, is the tiny village of Lelys where life seems to have been unchanged for centuries. This is truly one of Europe's most remote areas where the age-old traditions of the Kanun of Dukagjin still survives, with its great hospitality to visitors. However, there are signs the area is losing inhabitants as there are abandoned houses, falling in disrepair, a great pity as the style of the houses is typical of the area. From Lelys an hours walk through the glorious mountain landscape leads to the "Syri i kaltër", literally "Blue Eye", a small crystal clear pool with icy cold water and a waterfall.