Pogradec area is extraordinarily rich in cultural and natural monuments among which can be mentioned:

  • 19th and 20th century historical center of the city of Pogradec.
  • Castle of Blace village and Castle of Zemçë village.
  • Fortifications, in the village of Slabinjë & the village of Shpellë in Mokra.
  • Monumental Illyrian graves in the village of Selcë e Poshtme, candidates for UNESCO World Heritage Site, currently in the tentative list.
  • Prehistoric settlement of Zagradie in the village of Lin.
  • Bridge near the villages, Jollë and Llëngë, Golik and Niçë, Terziu Bridge in the village of Proptisht.
  • St. Marina’s Monastery in the village of Llëngë.
  • Paleo-Christian church and mosaics in the village of Lin.
  • Byzantine church in the village of Lin.
  • Mosaic in the village of Tushemisht.
  • Drilon water sources and swans park near Tushemisht.
  • Guri i Kamjes in Mokra.
  • The karstic cave and small lake inside it above the village of Hudenisht.


Pogradec is well known for its famous writers and poets such as Lasgush Poradeci and Mitrush Kuteli, and lately Luan Starova. Their works are a crucial part of Albanian literature.

The main characters of Luan Starova’s cycle of novels, “The Balkan Saga”, are the author’s own parents and their family, who fled Pogradec for Macedonia during World War II. Separated from their old hometown and their relatives by the Albania-Yugoslavia border during the Enver Hoxha’s era, they would often look at Pogradec through a binocular from the vantage point of Monastery of Saint Naum on the other side of the lake.

Pogradec is also the home of nationally acclaimed painters like Anastas Kostandini(Taso), Gjergji Lako, Gentian Zeka, Vangjo Vasili and Ilir Dhima. All kinds of sports are practiced in town, especially by the youth.



Prior to the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and the 1992 declaration of the Republic of Albania, Pogradec was a popular resort destination. However, with the dissolution of the socialist republic, and in the ensuing years of Balkan wars, tourism income was affected in the region leaving buildings empty and Pogradec solely dependent on its agricultural products and exposed to cross border trafficking, as people struggled to earn money for housing and food.


From the 8th until the 14th century, Pogradec area was captured by various medieval states such as the Bulgarian, Byzantine, and Serbian Empires as well as by noble Albanian families such as Gropa. In the middle of the 15th century, the area became part of Skanderbeg state and after his death in 1468, it was invaded by the Ottomans who kept it until Albania’s Independence in 1912.


During their occupation, Pogradec was the center of the kaza of Starova and was developed as a small town of craftsmen and fishermen. When the Turkish traveler Evliya Celebi visited the area in 1662 he wrote that “Pogradec was a sweet city with red roofs, four neighborhoods, four mosques, two elementary schools, six hundred houses, and one hundred and fifty shops”.


On 14 March 1887, the second Albanian language school was started here. During WWI Pogradec became a battlefield divided between the enemy fronts. From 1914 until 1920 Austro-Hungarian, Serbian, Greek, Bulgarian, and French armies, captured the city replacing each-other from time to time.


During WWII, the city was first invaded by the Italian army on 12 April 1939. Italian occupation of Pogradec was interrupted due to Greco-Italian War and Greek troops occupied the city between 30 November 1940 and 14 April 1941. After Italy’s capitulation in 1943, the Italians were replaced by the German Nazis who kept the city until 30 August 1944 when it was liberated by the Albanian partisans.


After the war, the town was a favorite summer escape for many communist government officials and particularly Enver Hoxha. The summer residences and the area around them were sealed off from the public.