The National Museum of History of Tirana opened today, 20 November 2019, the exhibition 'Miss Mary Edith Durham' on the occasion of the 75 anniversary of the death of 'Queen of the Albanian Highlands', as it was called the English artist, anthropologist and writer, who became famous above all for the reports of her travels in the Balkans and, in relation to theAlbania, of the anthropological representation of life in the Land of the Eagles between the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The Director of the National Museum, the Dr. Dorian Koçi, said that this exhibition focused in particular on the valuable role and contribution of Edith Durham in the Albanian cause and her intense activity in Albania, where she embarked on 7 trips, recorded in diaries that can be read as food for thought on the Albanian role in the Balkans.
"Mary Edith Durham will always remain a wonderful memory for the Albanians, a revered and beloved personality, because she was amazed not only by nature but also by the spirit and values of the Albanians from the day she trampled the soil of our country. She has shown herself to be Albanian in her heart and soul. This is why we consider her as our daughter and we gave her the title of "Queen of the Albanian Highlands". Edith Durham is part of the history of Albania "the Museum Director concluded.
The exhibition will remain open to the public until November 30.
Edith Durham and Abania
Mary Edith Durham (8 December 1863-15 November 1944) was a British artist, anthropologist and writer who became famous for her anthropological stories of life in Albania at the beginning of the 20th century.
Started when he was 37 years, they continued for twenty years, focusing in particular on the Land of Eagles, which was then one of the most isolated and least developed areas of Europe.
He wrote seven books, actually extended to the entire Balkan area, but the most famous book remainsHigh Albania' of the 1909, still considered today as the best historical guide to the customs and society of the highlands of northern Albania beginning' 900.
Voted to the cause of Albanian independence (at the time of Durham's first voyages, Albania was still under Ottoman rule), the Albanians of the time had a particular reverence for this woman who, inconceivable for the mentality of the time, had the habit of traveling alone.
Nicknamed 'Queen of the Albanian Highlands', it crossed the mountainous northern areas of Albania without incurring particular hitches. The centuries-old Albanian tradition made it very safe to guarantee guests safety.
In addition, and most likely, he also recorded the manly attitude of the anthropologist, who did not have problems wearing male clothes to travel, culturally assimilating the 'sworn virgins' of the Kanun of the mountains.
His death sanctioned his definitive celebration in the history of Albania, where he is considered a national heroine.
From a purely literary point of view, instead, his'High Albania', well after 110 years since its publication, it is still considered the best book on Albania written in English.
Albania by Edith Durham
A journey along a lifetime: the Albania of Edith Durham, pioneer of land ethnography in the early twentieth century.
Of Olimpia Gargano
- From Childe Harold to High Albania
- Miss Durham, from London to the Balkans
- From Cettigne to Scutari
- Sound Archive: the first recordings of folk songs from Upper Albania in the British Library (1905)
- From Tirana to London (1921)