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Lezha is one of the oldest settlements in Albania, a historical town located in the north of the Land of the Eagles. Mostly known as the home of Skanderbeg’s mausoleum and some of the best restaurants in the country (like Mrizi i Zanave and Rapsodia, just to name two), Lezha is home to several historical sites, including the Castle of Lezha, one of the most beautiful fortresses in Albania which offers breathtaking views over the Adriatic Sea.
In Albania, Lezha is well known for handicraft, as well. Indeed, the town is home to Artistike Zadrima, Qendra e Artizanatit (Artisanal Center). This beautiful place is a laboratory where the owner Tereze Gega, one of the greatest seamstresses and designers in Albania, creates handcrafted textiles, clothes and accessories with the help of other women.
The history of Artistike Zadrima dates back to 1993 when, in the village of Blinisht, near Lezha, Tereze started to work at the loom creating gorgeous works. With the help of the Catholic Mission in Albania, other women were invited to join and work with Tereze and, in 2006, the laboratory was moved to Lezha. Thanks to Tereze, the ancient art of loom work was resumed in the villages near Lezha with several women involved in the working process of the laboratory, a process which helped create jobs.
Today, Artistike Zadrima employs 20 women, with some working from home while others, including Tereze, work in the shop. If you are planning to visit Lezha, don’t forget to include a stop at this beautiful laboratory as part of your itinerary. Artistike Zadrima sells textiles for the home, traditional clothes, scarves, wallets, bags, and table covers, among others. There is no better place to buy something authentically Albanian.
By: Francesca Masotti