Labovë e Sipërme

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The village of Labove e Sipërme is an administrative unit “Odrie” in the Municipality of Libohova, Gjirokastra Region. This village is also known as Labova e Kryqit or Labova of […]

The village of Labove e Sipërme is an administrative unit “Odrie” in the Municipality of Libohova, Gjirokastra Region. This village is also known as Labova e Kryqit or Labova of the Cross, because of the Church with the same name, which is the oldest church in Albania. This fact make this village historical too, with great cultural values in centuries.  The “Church of Labova e Kryqit” is one of the most interesting monuments in Albania dedicated to St. Mary.

How to go there: You can take the highway and return to Libohova Municipality. Before reaching Lobohova city, take a turn to Suha village and continue on this road until a right turn towards the heights of the hills. A few kilometers further is the Labova of the Cross. The whole journey takes about 40 minutes.

The Church of the Labova of the Cross is one of the oldest in Albania and once contained a sacred relic believed to be part of the true cross of Christ. The building is typically Byzantine with a high central dome with nave and aisles built in order to create the figure of the cross. There are at least 9 distinct levels of frescoes painted on the surface of the interior walls. The church, as seen today is mainly 13th century construction, although the initial foundations can go deep into the time of Emperor Justinian in the years 527-565 e.j.

Other attractions in the area are apartment complex of the Zhapa family, the old classroom, churches and various monasteries. The landscape is beautiful and surrounded by valleys and picturesque places, covered with numerous medicinal plants. Hiking can be done in the area of ​​Labovë-Libohovë, Labovë-Përmet and on the mountain Burreto. Among the most prominent holidays are Easter in the Labova of the Cross. Treasures of our cultural heritage of antiquity, antiquity and other periods of human life development, ancient cities, castles, cult objects, monasteries and churches rich in iconostasis, frescoes, icons, antiques, furnishings and works of art and handicrafts worth extraordinary are numerous. Although some have been looted and destroyed those that have been able to escape are numerous and should be kept intact as cultural heritage treasures. The villagers preserve as their most precious thing the church that gave the village its name, one of the oldest in Albania and that once held a sacred relic, a cross believed to be a fragment of the True Cross of Christ, but which unfortunately disappeared in 1989-90. It is a rare relic from which the village got its name.

Another cultural treasure is the church of St. Julita in the Monastery of Dhuvjan.

There are 32 churches and 4 monasteries in the whole territory of Labova village. The monastery of Saint Thomas with pelasgian stones is located at Moni, the monastery of Koçi at Lunxhatet, the monastery of Saint George and the monastery of Shënkolli or as it is also called Poseidon. When it comes from Libohova we have the church Mat then on the shore of Qishamot is the church of Saint Kolli and the village has 4 churches of Saint Kolli. We continue to walk further, in the cave of Kokoshi is the church of St. Constantine, in the middle of the village the big church of St. Mary, then the church of Jani which is also called Justinian, the church of Lis i Madh, the church of the cross after school, the church e Gulajve, the monastery of St. George, an old ruin located near a rare centuries-old tree that the locals call “vënjë”, located on the bare slopes of Mount Bureto, opposite the villages of Stegopullot, Suha and Selca beyond Suha river.

In the triangle Antigone – Stegopul – Labova

For years, any data related to the Pelasgian culture and especially to the “Temple of Dodona”, which is considered the oldest temple in Europe, has been studied, traced and researched. According to the writings of ancient times in this temple was the most famous oracle of antiquity and only after its flowering, much later came into history “Temple of Delphi”. The oracle of Dodona had the greatest prestige in the ancient world, as it was erected in honor of Zeus and according to legends it is estimated that in the land of Dodona there was a temple that 3000 years BC. The challenge for Albanian and foreign archaeologists and scholars is to have the impetus and confidence to find the ruins of the supreme temple, adding another stone to the diamond of world history, to go towards bringing the truth to light as there are still hypotheses. and numerous doubts about the true location of this temple.

Upper Labova in the Gjirokastra region is located 146 km south of Tirana, the country’s capital, and 15 km from Gjirokastra.

Typical activities that take place:
September 8,  Labova Cross Day.
September 2018, Argjiro-Fest Festival.
European Heritage Days (Artisan Fair).
Albanian polyphony in UNESCO