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If you are looking to enjoy a nice bucolic landscape surrounded by lakes or a picnic with friends and family, not far from residential areas, you need look no further than the increasingly popular Kashar.
Only 10 km outside of Tirana, Kashar is surrounded by lakes while still in proximity to residential and business areas. Over the last decade, the area has seen much development, which makes it comfortable enough to explore without taking anything away from the beautiful natural element. In fact, this interweaving of development and nature makes it an even more fascinating site to visit!
While there is evidence of Kashar’s existence since antiquity, the very first documented source connects it to the Battle of Limuth in 1456, fought by Skanderbeg and his army against the Ottoman troops. Today, Kashar is a protected archaeological site. Artifacts, that are over 300 years old, confirm the history of a local identity. Many of the area’s historical monuments are located in Kus Village. There, you will find ruins of a medieval church, a 300-year-old mosque bearing the village’s name, and ancient cemeteries in the Zalta valley.
While, formerly, Kashar was one of the main agricultural product suppliers of the capital, these days it is increasingly becoming a favorite touristic destination. The four artificial lakes of Kashar, Kus, Gjokaj, and Mëzez, nicely surrounded by hills, create a picturesque and relaxing landscape. In order to best enjoy it, we strongly suggest that you take your bike. Especially on weekends, you will see countless groups of people setting up their picnics, enjoying hikes and, of course, riding their bicycles.
The small restaurants of the area serve some of the best traditional fare. The region is known for tavë dheu, meat or liver in tomato and cottage cheese sauce baked in a clay pot, fërgesë, the vegetarian alternative made with peppers, japrakë, meat-and-rice-stuffed grape leaves, and pashaqofte, meatballs baked in a spiced tomato or meat broth, among others. You will love trying these homemade dishes as well as the welcoming atmosphere of these intimate taverns.
Kashar is well-known for the preservation and cultivation of characteristic costumes of the Middle Albania region. In fact, the area has long been renowned for the artisanal production of local costumes. This long-running tradition has been passed on through generations and is still being preserved by people like Edlira Sulaj, who works the new costumes in the old-fashioned way. To see them close-up, as they should be seen, the Artisanal Museum of Folk Tradition (“Tradita Popullore”), located inside the Casa Italia shopping center, includes a collection of over 400 models.