The Quaint Church of St. Friday in Lukova: Among the Olive Groves of the Ionian Shores - Into Albania

The Quaint Church of St. Friday in Lukova: Among the Olive Groves of the Ionian Shores

The Church of  Shën Premte (St. Friday) in the village of Lukova, an important cultural monument in Albania, will undergo a much needed process of restoration.

In a dilapidated condition, the restauration will effectively save the Orthodox church, states Albania’s Minister of Culture, Elva Margariti, on her Instagram account.

Kisha e Shën e Premtes (Church of St. Friday) hidden by the olive trees in the village of Lukova. Photo by Albanian Archaeology.

This church of the basilica type (from ancient Greek, basilica meaning royal portico), which stands on the side of a hill which slopes toward the beautiful Ionian Sea, dates back to the 17th century. Positioned in the western quarter of Lukova, the abandoned church is located in a peaceful setting; it stands in the middle of an olive grove. Due to a long period of neglect, its old walls are covered with creeping plants, a problem that will be surely solved by the restoration in question.

Cleaning the church from the plants. Photo by Albanian Archaeology.

The church belongs to the domed basilicas type. One can enter it from two entrances, one in the south and the other, on its western side. The church has six columns, overlaid  by arches. Once, it included a bell tower which was donated by the king of Naples in 1695, but it disappeared in 1967, during the mass destruction of churches and mosques that took place under the regime of Enver Hoxha.

Lukova Beach on the Ionian shore. Photo by Matthew Storer.

The church will be one more beautiful object to visit in Lukovë, a beautiful coastal village, 20 kilometers from Saranda. Lukova is renowned for its remarkably long and pristine beach, with turquoise water and a combination of stones and sand. Perhaps the least populated beach of the Riviera, Lukova remains a favorite among those who love tranquility and camping. Because of its very limited number of guesthouses and inns, not many people make it all the way to this beach, one of the last ones along the Riviera.