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Cuisine and Culture

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The combination of fertile land, proximity to the sea, and cultural influences from its neighbours has resulted in a cuisine that is both diverse and simple. Today's influences come from Greece, Italy and Turkey. Meat and vegetables are staples, along with hearty stews, feta, bread, and rice. Popular vegetables are aubergines, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives (which accompany most meals), and legumes.  Very Mediterranean indeed! 

Food Tour

Fancy some local, traditionally cooked dishes? Then follow your local tour guide and be surprised! Try Kërnacka Korca meatballs paired with local beer before exploring the dairy, meat, and fish market stalls in the bazaar. Next on the menu are locally grown grapes, figs, blackberries, cherries, pears, plums, apricots, olives, nuts, baked desserts, and baklava, a traditional sweet pastry.

Food Tour in Tirana

Traditional Dresses

The fustanella (pleated skirt) is probably the most famous garment for men. The women of the north wear a very special dress with a bell skirt, the xhubleta. This garment is still passed down from generation to generation. The Qeleshe is a headgear for men and is worn all over the country. It is a white felt cap with a round or pressed tip and is also used in Kosovo. For Albanians, folk costumes are not just costumes to be worn from time to time, but also a matter of pride.

Folk Songs

Folk Songs are part of Albanian folklore. The songs of the north are mostly dedicated to heroes and are accompanied by the characteristic Albanian instrument lahuta which is a one-stringed fiddle. In the south they have the polifoni, a form of music that was adopted by UNESCO to protect cultural diversity. It is similar in style to the songs of Corsica and Sardinia.

Folk Dances

The Albanian traditional dances (vallet shqiptare) are an essential part of the Albanian culture. The dances were mostly performed independently in the surrounding countries but they retained their common character. They are performed in groups, in pairs or individually. Ther are the lyrical dances, which are mainly danced by women and the epic dances, which are mainly danced by men.  Today, Albanian folk dance is very popular throughout the Albanian-speaking area and is performed at festivals, concerts, school performances, and by many clubs and associations. At the National Folklore Festival in Gjirokastra, dancers are even awarded prizes.

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