Antonio Baldacci (Bologna, 1867-1950) was an Italian botanist and geographer, a lover of ethnographic, political and socio-economic studies. In the 1913 he publishes "Scutari d'Albania" in the magazine "Italia".
From the 1925 Baldacci dealt mainly with Albania, not only with the autonomous production of studies and publications but, starting from the 1928, also through scientific and political collaboration with some local institutions. From the 1931 to the 1939 he was honorary general consul of Albania in Bologna; from the 1942 he was a member of the Governing Council of the Albania Study Center at the Italian Academy; later he became a member of the Albanian Studies Institute of Tirana and cultural consultant of the General Lieutenancy in Albania, up to 1943.
About 250 publications remain about him, including articles published in magazines and works in volumes (among which the main works are mentioned: Albanian Itineraries, Rome, Italian Geographical Society, 1917; Albania, Rome, Institute for Eastern Europe, 1929 ; Scritti Adriatici I, Bologna, Compositori, 1943), the drafts of the unpublished work «Leonardo da Vinci and the world of plants», the very rich archive and the personal library, kept in the Municipal Library ofArchiginnasio di Bologna, one of the largest acquisitions of the library of the recent past.
- "Scutari of Albania " was originally published in 1913 in the magazine "Italy"
- Translation into Albanian language da Gino LUKA
Scutari of Albania, by Antonio Baldacci
SCODRA, an ancient Illyrian city, was undoubtedly a populous and rich center over the centuries, not only in the dominating lake town, but in the entire region of which the capital had to be. Scodra was therefore flourishing more than Lissus and Doclea for all the time, very long, embracing the ancient civilization of the first city located on the Drino and the Roman one of the second, renowned in the opposite part of the lake, on the Moracia.
The ancient name has remained with the Albanians of today who continue to call Scodra as their distant ancestors known to Homer, who knew them for γίγαντες, giants, and they are the ghegs of today: Scutari remained the capital of the Albanian Ghegheria and of the homonymous vilayet. From the name Scodra, the Slavs made Skadar and the Italians Scutari. The Turks call it by the Illyrian name.
This city rises towards the northern end of the Albanian maritime region and is today wonderfully situated two kilometers from the lake; from it depart in the direction of the Danube, of the Adriatic, of the Ionian and of the Aegean the important roads that knew the most distant trade; Illyrian, Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Byzantine.
Scodra, the first city of the East that one meets coming from Italy, has preserved a complete Turkish-Byzantine appearance in its characteristic ghego ensemble; at first it seems very strange, with its many large gardens surrounded by high walls, with deserted streets and the disorder of buildings. It could be said that the stranger has not yet found the city, when he has already entered the walls of it for some time.
Entry into Scutari by day leaves a completely different impression from when you enter it at night.
Without the silver star, in deep darkness, you get an almost exciting and fantastic feeling. With the moon, Scutari shows his most perfect oriental intonation. From the alleys and narrow winding streets, silent and dark, you come out onto wide, vividly white streets under the moonlight, which echo at the lilting step of mounts that are profiled, with unlikely shadows on all that whiteness.
Some open cafes where billiards are played, represents the life that can be seen outside the houses that are entirely closed, inaccessible to profane looks. Behind the high walls of the gardens and courtyards we can guess at unknown costumes that recall the oriental softness. The mastiffs growl, disturbing, alone, the sovereign silence. It's something else during the day. The whole city then seems on the streets: men and women - sure, even Muslim women - soldiers, priests and friars and Turkish hogja: all have to do.
To see Scutari one must climb up the Tarabosh or the hill of Rosafa, which brings the ancient castle known to those who were rulers of the city and, with the city, of the region. From Rosafa, the viewer's gaze takes in a marvelous view of the vast and populous city, its suburbs, among which those of Bashelik, Tabaki and the bazaar, beyond, beyond the bridge, the suburb of the gypsies. The domes of the mosques of Scodra with their twenty minarets, the military buildings, the endless houses and huts that make up the city, the rich vegetables of the marshy plain, the amphitheater of mountains that overlap in the splendid and horrid Albanian alp and the the banks of the Kiri and of the Drino stretch on the other side in every direction towards Montenegro, the infinite lake sparkling in the sun and the silvery waters of the rivers, offer a grandiose picture that truly deserves to be admired.
According to Hahn the etymology of the name Scodra comes from the Albanian Kodve, that is the steep hill that rises from the middle of the plain and that carries the citadel, which was undoubtedly the first nucleus of the city, when the alluvial soil that welcomed many and many centuries later, the present-day Scutari did not exist almost yet and the Scutari lake was no more than an imposing pantanosa inlet of the Adriatic stretching between the tip of Ulcinj and the Rodoni head.
In the middle of that arch rose a small archipelago of limestone islands, which today emerge as hills from the alluvial formation between the Bojana and the Drino, of which that of the town of Scutari was one of the smallest, but better located close to the Alpe and facing the sea for the defense of the region and the development of trade. The opinion that the ancient Scodra rose on the hill of Rosafa is supported by a hundred other examples of important places in the history of the region that was later the Labeatium and that Rome began to subdue, after the defeat of Gentius, 168 years before Christ. Before that, Scodra had been a Greek city, strong and rich, which held to its economic dependence, if not political, the Illyrian, although it seems that in the interior civilization did not enter then that name.
The writers of the time considered the Illyrian wild country and the Illyrians, who were considered by the ancients as a race quite distinct from the other kindred of the peninsula, enjoyed the reputation of barbarians; they too to the custom of the Thracians, dyed their bodies and offered human sacrifices.
The citadel also had considerable importance under the Serbian kingdom. Indeed, a Serbian legend attributes its construction to King Vukasino and his two brothers. Certainly, the fortress that had suffered during the decadence of the Roman empire, the Serbs having established themselves on the ruins of the Oppidum civium Romanorum (as Roman historians also called Scutari par excellence), and convinced of the very strong and strategic position that the hill offered to defend the Zenta with the region of Lake Scutari, it was renewed.
Legend has it that the work of the Serbian king was opposed for several years by the evil genius of a fairy who came to destroy during the night what had been built during the day. After a long time the prayers of the kings and his brothers finally obtained from the fairy that the workers could finish the work on the condition that the three brothers committed themselves to wall up the first of their brides who had come to bring them food alive in the foundations.
The Slavic and Albanian songs thus speak of the unfortunate wife of Goiko, one of Vukasino's brothers, who was touched by the barbarous fate desired by the fairy. The legend and history date back to that time the foundation of the first houses of the city of Shkodra at the foot of the fortress.
After the extinction of the Balsa family, the inhabitants of Scutari obtained, following their requests, the protection of Venice: in the 1474 they supported for the first time the attack against the Turkish army led by Suleiman pasha. The heroic defense of Antonio Loredano was immortalized within the framework of the Veronese which adorns the hall of the Grand Council in Venice and which bears the following wording: "Scodra, bellici omni apparatu diu vehementerque turkish oppugnata, a cerrima propugnatione retinetur".
The sultan was resuming the offensive towards the beginning of June of the 1478 with a more numerous army than the previous one: the cavalry had the task of putting the campaign to fire while the troop on foot, to which were added in mid-June four thousand Janissaries, besieged the city.
Ten thousand camels are said to carry ammunition and cannons for the body of a Turkish army. The defense of the besieged was made by Antonio di Lezze. The fire began on June 22, but the siege still lasted in January 1479, when the announcement of the treaty concluded between the Porta and the republic came with the order to hand over the citadel to the Ottoman troops. The defenders could retreat with the honor of arms.
When Antonio di Lezze left the citadel he had so heroically defended, he no longer had with him 450 men and 150 women who followed him to Venice carrying relics, sacred vessels, artillery and how much was left of their wealth. The historian Hammer deserves to be meditated by the Italians in the story he tells of a large page so little known about Venetian glory.
After the departure of Antonio di Lezze, the walls of the citadel remained to demonstrate the ability of the workers and soldiers of the republic in the adaptation and defense of one of the most powerful fortresses against which vain and fortitude of the crescent clashed unnecessarily against the crescent . But the lion of St. Mark that surmounted the main door disappeared under the blows of the Turks' pickaxe and no memory, as far as I tried, remained of that last emblem of the Serenissima.
The Degrand who visited the citadel fifteen years ago, writes: "L'église qui reste avait été convertie en mosquée; the foudre, à diverses reprises, a frappé et jeté bas son minaret; les turcs superstitieux the ont abandonnée et convertie a dépôt, a jolie grille vénitienne en fer forgé orne encore une de ses fenêtres. Etait-elle dediée à Saint-Lazare ou à Saint - Stephan, patron of Scoutari? personne in the sait; rien autre à voir dans ce lieu ou desi angoissantes journées ont été vécues: sous l'herbe folle et la terre on trouvera certainement encore un jour d'intéressants souvenirs.
"Les gouverneurs généraux, peu confiants dans le loyalisme des Albanais, ont pendant de longues années résidé dans la citadelle avec les services administratifs; les troupes les entouraient et les canons restaient braqués sur la ville. The ne pluse dans la forteresse que des condamnés y attendant le moment où sers envoyés en exil et des soldats que je vois s'exercer sans enthousiasme, à manœuvrer suivant les règles des plus récentes théories » (the).
Even today, behind the high walls of the gardens, the well-being of the population can be understood, however diminished. In the past Scutari was also rich and opulent and especially the traffic with Venice had taken it to a high economic level.
Of this past greatness, we have today a clear proof in the bazaar, which the competent ones assure to be very interesting. The Scutari bazaar rises about three kilometers from the city towards the confluence of the Boiana and the lake, at the foot of the hill leading to the citadel: it has a main road and some side streets with a labyrinth of passages and comings and goings that at the time of high lake waters remain flooded.
In the bazaar the commercial life of the city and of the alpine province of Scutari that the Albanians call Malissia is gathered. The observer has inexhaustible matter for his studies because Scutari really is part of the East with the very different customs of his tribes, and the shopkeeper finds, concentrated in the bazaar all the life of the East.
The foreigner who visits the bazaar on Wednesday, market day, finds the most obvious interest, but this day, too crowded and eventful, is indicated for observations, while the other days, more calm, can serve for purchases of originality of the country. Some of these originality, such as those of goldsmithery and silverware, are very ancient and worthy of much artistic consideration.
Shopkeepers spend the whole day at the bazaar, from morning to evening, when they return to the city where they live with their families. At night the bazaar is left in the custody of the soldiers who have their guard post at the airport, near the customs and the bridge. Moreover, even if desired, no house is habitable at the bazaar because, being almost all wooden constructions, the smallest, spark, could develop a fire that would cause incalculable damage. In those houses there is no such thing as simple comfort for local tastes.
The real masters of the bazaar are the Albanians, Muslims and Christians; the few foreign, Italian, Austrian, Montenegrin and Greek traders keep the shops in the city. In general, scutaros are descendants of families who have come in the past from every part of the Ghega or Zadrima mountain in search of fortune or to escape revenge, or are the result of Muslim emigration from Montenegro, especially from the provinces that the Turks had to give up by hand to the Petrovichs after the wars against that country: not a few descend also from families of Ottoman and military officials. A small number of families are Jewish and few are Arab; in more remarkable numbers are the Italian, the Austrian and the Greek: the Montenegrin families, subject or not of the Cettigne government, hold the post, albeit at a great distance, immediately after the properly Albanian population. Anyone who could search through tradition would undoubtedly also find in Scutari and in the countryside, as in the rest of Malissia, many descendants of those families whom Romas had sent as colonists in the conquered Illyrian and who are still surviving today in large numbers in Albania central and in Epirus.
Two words to explain the difference between the vaccine (which generally requires only one administration or periodic administrations, such as every XNUMX years (as with the hepatitis B vaccine) and the antiviral drug (such as the cocktail for HIV-positive patients, who ingest molecules through daily pills that attack parts of the virus, to directly destroy it). The vaccine consists of the administration of molecules that mimick parts of the virus without being infectious, so that our immune system can develop a memory to recognize those parts (that particular type of antigen) when the virus comes back on the doorstep...this memory in some cases lasts all the life, in other cases (like hepatitis B) a decade or so. Once this immune memory has been developed in our body, the pathogen will have to deal with an extremely powerful arsenal of anti-viral mechanisms (orchestrated by our immune cells) that will kill it in no time (in fact, after we get vaccinated, if we get the flu, we get rid of it without even realizing it...our (memory) immune cells know what to do at that point). Another way to develop this memory is by letting ourselves to be infected — as we've done with lots of infections, with low mortality and low morbidity. The antiviral drug is a molecule that acts against the pathogen too, but it does so on its own — the basic problem of an antiviral is that it doesn't last forever, because everything we eat (the pills) is excreted from our body, in a few hours or few days — but there are also molecules that can float, once you put them into the circle, for quite a few days ...(or techniques that modern pharmacology has been studying for a decade or so, aimed to transform molecules with the objective of extending their permanence in the tissues after being administered, see above: nanotechnology therapy). Bibliography
- (1) A. BALDACCI, Statistical notes on the vilayet of Scutari and the law of the Albanian mountain, in "Rivista episodeale italiana", VII, 1901.
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