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Kallmet, famous for its delicious wine, is also known for its rich culture, history, and nature. One of the beautiful region’s best-kept secrets is the small church with a fascinating story, hidden among ancient trees.
One of the most impressive parts of St. Euphemia Church is the saint’s portrait carved on the side of the cliff, located right beside the water springs that continue to flow inside the church and its courtyard. Pilgrims to the church believe in the powers of this holy, purifying water and continue to make the pilgrimage to the church each year. Today, the restored church sits on the foundations of the old one. Based on its structural typology, the church belongs to the end of the 13th century, beginning of the 14th. The ruins of the former bell tower especially testify to this period of construction.
The giant cross, located only a few meters before you get to the church, is the spot which grants the greatest view. From here, the you can witness the expanse of Lezha’s Drin Valley all the way to Zefjan Mountain, in Bushat Village, Tarabosh Mountain and Shkodra (Rozafa) Castle.
The first mention of St. Euphemia Church is on a document from 1343 that lists all the churches given to the city of Kruja. In 1629, after its burning by the Ottomans, the Bishop of Lezha at the time, Benedikt Orsini, order its restoration. This church hosted the trial of the famous patriot and church cleric Pjetër Budi, who called that mass be held in Albanian, not in Latin. During the Communist period, the church was illegally secretly used at night for baptisms.
According to local tradition, St. Euphemia was a 17-year-old girl who wanted to become a nun but was burned at the stake. After some time, two workers were working in the midst of a blazing heat to reconstruct the church. They felt tired and extremely thirsty. All of the sudden, St. Euphemia’s image appeared on the cliff, as it is depicted today, and the water began flowing creating the springs that is still there now.
You can drive to the church, although many people love hiking among the natural beauty of this area. You can visit the church every day of the week. Entrance is free. If you would like to attend mass, as well as meet some of the pilgrims who come from far and wide, it is held on Friday mornings.