Nivica: The Stunning Ancient Village of the South - Into Albania

Nivica: The Stunning Ancient Village of the South

In the heart of southern Albania, only 30 km from Tepelena, sits Nivica, the charming village that is stealing the hearts of local and international tourists.

Nivica is the largest village of the beautiful Kurvelesh province, with an area of 150 square meters. As if suspended on air, the village sits at 750 meters above sea level on Mount Këndrevica.

A bit of history

This late touristic bloomer, this village was a very important residential area in antiquity. The fortress constructed by the Romans around the 4th-2nd century B.C. period, was once the epicenter of the ancient town. So many of the period’s most important roads passed through this area. The most famous one is Salaria, to this day one of the key roads to pass through the Italian capital. Then, there are also the roads of Kuç, Bënçë, and Vërnik, among others. This former crossroads is said to be one of the key settlements of the Illyrian tribe of Amantes.

The village center has been recently restored in its entirety. In 2016, Nivica was part of the 100 Village Project which focused on the restoration of the most prominent 100 villages in Albania.

The restored Nivica Village center. Photo by Esmeralda Keta.

A natural beauty

In a village of immense natural beauty, the question is what to see first upon your arrival to Nivica! The until-recently undiscovered stunning canyons, now visited by groups tourists. The 220-meter-high waterfall, one of the highest in Europe. Countless water streams that flow from the canyons. Sefer Peak, surrounded by oaks, thought to be the last pagan temples in the region that is still honored by the locals.

And, while you ponder all the options, it may be a good idea to find shelter in the shade of the 250-year-old plane tree that majestically adorns the village center.

Nivica Canyons. Photo by Visit Gjirokastra.

How to get there and where to stay

If you choose to travel by your own car or rent a car, you should take the road Tepelenë – Gjitokastër and, following the road signs, take the turn toward Nivica. If you opt for public transportation from the capital, take the bus Tiranë – Tepelenë and, once you arrive in Tepelenë, hop on a local taxi to Nivica.

Though it is becoming increasingly popular as it opens its doors to more tourists, Nivica preserves its natural tranquil rhythm and environment. As such, the accommodation you can find here is always in the form of intimate traditional guesthouses.

A historically visited site

Over the centuries, Nivica has hosted historical and international figures and prominent thinkers. Chief among them are the famed English traveler of the early 20th century, Edith Durham, and Luigi Ugolino, the Italian archaeologist, whose name is closely linked with the important archaeological work on the ancient site of Butrint.

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