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The city of Korca

Korca is situated at the foot of the Morava mountains, on the slopes of St. Thana hill, it was an Illyrian settlement in an- cient times. Later there was built near here the ancient city of Pelion, which was captured during the second Macedoni- an War with the roman Army under Sulpicius Galba in 199 B.C. By the early Middle Ages Korca had become an urban centre with a ninth century church, rebuilt in the fourteenth century. During this time, a mosque and a hamam were erected and the town developed quickly. The Mirahori mosque was built in 1418. Korca grew considerably in the 17th century, especially after the burning of Voskopoja. By this time, it had become a centre of carpet-making as well as a focal point for trade. A large bazaar was built, preserved as a cultural monument. The city has lived through difficult times especially at the beginning of the 9th century, which brought as a consequence the Qwholesale emigration of its inhabitants to Romania, Egypt and America. Korca was a pioneer in the field of education. The first school in the Albanian language was established here on the 7th of March l887, (which remained open until the year 1902), and the first school for girls in the Albanian language in 1891.
Korca was occupied by the Greek troops 1912-1914 and by French forces in 1916-1920. The latter set up the autonomous republic of Korca 1916-1918, which joined the rest of Albania, when the French withdrew in 1920. During the French occupation a Lyce, was established in 1917. In 1940-1941, the town was again occupied by Greek forces, during the war between Italy and Greece. At the beginning of the 20th century Korca became an important centre of the movement for independence from Turkish rule, producing distinguished patriots, like Themistokli Germenji (1871 - 1917) and Mihal Grameno (1872-1931).
The population is 100,000 inhabitants. Korca is now an important agricultural and industrial centre. The first brewery in Albania was established here and is still in operation. The 'Petro Papi' instrument work (1969) produces machine tools and measuring instruments of high quality. The 8th of March carpet enterprise (1967) is the largest factory of its kind in the country, which produces carpets and rugs with a workforce composed mainly of women and girls.
The knitwear combine, the agricultural machinery work (1962), the woodworking enterprise, the shoe and footwear fac-
tory (1946),the artistic products enterprice are some of the main enterprises in this town.

What to visit:

The most interesting visit is the Museum of Medieval Arts opened in l980; it covers a period from the 5th to the 19 century and there you can see works by Albania's most famous painters of the Middle ages. Onufri (Mid 16th century) and David Selenica (early 18th century) as well as beautiful works by anonymous goldsmiths, silversmiths, woodcarvers and armourers. One of its greatest treasures is an 10th century iconostasis carved under the direction of the master Dhimiter.
The National Museum of Education opened in 1967 in the building when the first Albanian school was set up.
The Museum of the National Liberation War.

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