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Kraja, between Lake Shkodra and the Adriatic Sea


Hajredin Muja

The toponym "Kraja" has been and has become the object of various researchers. There are opinions and assumptions that the toponym "Kraje" originates from the Slavic word "kraj", which means "edge", "end", "side", or as Vasilije Lukić says (Prečista Krajinska, 1974): "Residence in the south extreme". Other Slavic researchers also derive the "full" toponym as Black Mountain Region" (Slavic: 'Crnogorska Krajina'). But it is known that the toponym "Kraja" existed much earlier than the formation of Montenegro, even its toponym itself. The toponym "Kraja" is mentioned in the annals of the priest of Dukla as early as 1149. While Montenegro is mentioned for the first time in Karl Milutin's Kisobuli in 1318. In fact, even at this time Montenegro was almost unknown, while Kraja it was also the center of the archbishopric (Koliqi: 1991).

If the toponym "Kraja" really means "side" or "edge", then the most logical thing would be that instead of the edge of Montenegro (Crnogorska Krajina) it should be called "the edge of Shkodra" (Skadarska Krajina), as he is also called Krajl Nikola. The region was the Nahi (province) of Shkodra since the 15th century, and an integral part of the Sanjak of Shkodra throughout the centuries of its existence, so such a name would be more logical (Koliqi:2001/9). According to Konstantin Jerichek (Istorija Srba - Beograd 1923), "Kraj", "Krajina" or "Krajishta" were called Serbian-Byzantine border parishes. According to this finding, Milan Shufflay (Historia e Albanians di viuriu, 1968), adds that "Kraja" (Krajina) the Serbs called the side along Lake Shkodra, between Buna and the Cermnica Valley (Shuflaj: 'Serbs and Albanians', p.15 ). Such a definition of the geographical extent of Kraja is too late. Another study gives the hypothesis that the toponym "Kraja" is derived from the name of a village (in Kraja), which was called Krajina in Slavic. With this name we find it in the annals of the priest of Dukla, since the 12th century and in the first Ottoman notebooks, in the 15th century. In the annals of the priest of Dukla, "Krajna" is only one place (today: Ostros), where the Church of Saint Mary of Kraja was located. In the Cadastre Register of Shkodra for the year 1485, the toponym "Krajna" appears, not in the form of a province, but of a village (Pulaha: 1974/137-145), which many researchers think is the current Ostros. . In the context of Nahi e Krajë, it is mentioned here that "the village of Krajna is one of the villages of the valley of Romanë (Valley of Rumia). The toponym "Krajna" in a broader sense, now not as a village but as a province, is found in the Shkodra Cadastral Register of 1582, which in its framework, together with Shestani, contained 18 villages with 623 families. (Memiq: 1996/111). Marian Bolica's report "Kraja" (Ponte di Scutadi...) calls the villages from Ura e Shkodra (Ura e Buna), the foot of the mountain across the shore of the lake (Kraja) to Carnica (Zamputi:1963/259-265) . The Extraordinary Proveditor of Kotor, Nikolla Erico, in the writing dated March 1, 1692, says that: The Kraja (province) includes the entire part of the country, surrounded by the sea, by the Buna River and Lake Shkodra, and bordered to the north by Montenegro, including Tivari and Ulqini... (Zamputi: 1990/401-413). In a geographical part of Kluverius, written from the end of the 16th century or the beginning of the 17th century, "the territory between the lake of Shkodra and the sea, the people call Kraja, ie. the province of Shasi and this is stuck in the mountains..." (Zamputi: 1990/258-261). Meanwhile, Andrija Jovicevic considers the region of Krajina from the village of Shirokë to the village of Selcë, including Shestan (Crnogorsko Primorje i Krajina, Belgrade 1922). (Month: 2009/145-146) There are a number of reasons that time has forced the inhabitants of Kraja to move to nearby or distant places. The first place among these reasons is anyway taken by exterminating diseases, violence and difficult living conditions. History marks an exterminating epidemic from 146 to 180 of the new era, which also included Rome.. What broke out in 545 in Istanbul, spread throughout Europe including Albania. Barleti reminds us of the year 1479, when many families settled in Venice, to escape the cholera epidemic... The plague disease is noted to be present in 1692, when Sulejman Pasha Bushatliu "In the war against the Montenegrins, he had with him a warrior from Kraja - the place of the plague". Dr. Kirrcik counts 12 epidemic periods in Shkodër from 1761-1821. The Austrian Fosell points out the "cholera of the village of Shirokë in Kraja" and adds that this epidemic came from Montenegro and through Kraja in 1868 also passed to Shkodra, causing many deaths. Today, the memory of these diseases is confirmed by the numerous cemeteries in house yards, gardens, roadsides, fields, forests and elsewhere, since the victims of these (infectious) diseases were buried as soon as possible, right where they died. Folk tradition sings of Gjyla a girl from Kraja, who had either moved with her family or married in More. A large number of them emigrated to the center of the Ottoman Empire, never to return. In Zare in Dalmatia, a community of all locals who moved between the years 1726 - 1733.

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