Photos from Albania

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Along northern Albania's Lake Koman

There was no electric power at all in Albania until 1927 and ten years later only ten towns had electricity. After the Second World War the Communist regime constructed five dams on the Drin river in the north of the country, to harness its large hydro-electric potential. Now the whole course of the river has been transformed, from Vau i Dejës just east of Shkodër to the junction of the White and Black Drin at Kukësi near the border with Kosovo.

Artificial lake on the Drin
 
Small ferry leaving
 
Looking back to Koman
 
Boats on Lake Koman
 
Mountains along the lake
 
On the Drin river
 
Ferry on Liqeni i Komanit
 
Arriving at a village
 
Place to disembark
 
Mountains along Lake Koman
 
Gorge of the Drin
 
Boys in a boat
 
Passengers going ashore
 
Scenery near Fierzë
 
Ferry at Bregluma
 
Ferry on the Drin
 
Passengers on the ferry
 
On the upper deck
 
Albanian flag
 
Flying the flag
 
On Lake Koman
 
Alongside the lake
 
Along Liqeni i Komanit
 
Mountains reflected
 
View from the ferry
 
Riverside village
 
Village on the river
 
Island in Lake Koman
 
Sailing in the gorge
 
Drin river gorge
 
Approaching Koman
 
Dam on the White Drin
 
Liqeni i Fierzës
 
View near Dardhë
 
Valley view
 
Restaurant Kunora
 

A road runs from Shkodër, alongside Liqeni i Vaut të Dejës, an artificial lake created by a dam 18 kilometres from the city, to the massive Vau i Dejës dam, built between 1967 and 1971. The complex has four hydro-electric turbines, producing 600 Megawatts in an underground power station. The road leads through a 3 kilometres long tunnel and ends at the ferry station of Koman. From here ferries run along Liqeni i Komanit, an artificial lake on the Drin river, to the village of Bregluma. The ferry can take about 20 cars and 100 passengers and takes about 4 hours to make the journey. Apart from the roll-on-roll-off ferry that can take cars, there is a small boat looking more like a bus (with the driver indeed steering it with a steering wheel like in a bus) that takes only passengers who can be dropped off at points along the river, from where they have to climb to their villages in the surrounding mountains. The journey from Koman to Bregluma is breathtakingly beautiful, passing through artificial lakes and deep gorges that remind of Norwegian fjords. Passengers are dropped at various villages along the way.

The village of Bregluma, about 15 kilometres south of Bajram Curri in Albania's north east, lies opposite the municipality of Fierzë, with its massive dam and power station; this was built during the Communist times, originally named "Light of the Party Power Station" and opened in 1978. Behind it is the The Fierzë Reservoir (Liqeni i Fierzës), a lake 70 kilometres long, stretching into Kosovo.