The History

The actual handcrafts products in Kukes region are inherited from the ancient traditions of this area dating since the Illyricum time. The most ancient one of handcrafts in this region seems to be the pottery production but unfortunately in now days can be considered extinct. Only few decades ago, during the archeological researches in the ancient tombs near Kolsh village within the Kukes region, were found pottery objects ornamented with artistic drawings and which were produced by the native ancestors.

Stone, wood carving as well as iron manufacture has been widely used in housing ornaments, starting from middle age till now days. However, even these crafts are every day more prone to abandonment from usage. Fewer people gets interested in these areas or try to exercise them as a real profession.

Women handicrafts appear the kind of traditional products which have survived longer in time and appear to be used even now days. Carpets and quilts made from women of this region are considered in the market as of high quality products with nice colors and very much preferred in the Albanian and foreign market. These products few decades ago used to be exported from Albania in different European states and were considered products quite in demand from the market. Women handicrafts from Kukes region were as famous as those of Korca and Kruja handicrafts also.

An important part of women handicrafts from Kukes region is the production of traditional costumes for men and women. In these costumes are preserved the originality and or details expressing the cultural identity of Kukes region. Now days these costumes are mostly not considered as everyday clothing in Kukes regions. However there are still frequently used by the old generation or the young one living in remote areas of the region where the climacteric conditions concern a strong reason for this type of clothing. These costumes values and beauty is best displayed during folkloric festivals and other traditional celebrations or weddings. The traditional costume has been always considered as an element of identity of the region and an original feature to distinguish it from the other regions and inhabitants.

Traditional costumes, especially the women's ones, are distinguished for their harmony and rich colors and elegance. They are considered unique in their kind. The diversity of women's costumes within Kukes region is quite broad and essentially different from each other. According to their common features they can be categorized as follows:

Men costumes usually are made of strong woolen textile and have many elements in common with the women's one. According to the old folkloric traditions the young girls used to prepare many handicrafts for their new home before getting married. In that were included all the products that new family would need. In this domestic "industry" most of the products are produced out of wool, everyday clothing for all family members that would be appropriate in respect to the weather conditions especially the very cold one. The clothing was created to adapt to the living conditions of the people in these areas very much connected with the nature and outdoor activities like farms and woods. These traditions are abandoned by the new generation. Carpet production is still applicative but not in the frequency it was popular before. Some of these products, are now days replaced by different handicrafts more frequented such as knitting products ect.

Kukës City

Kukes region is composed of three districts, which are Kukes with Kukes city as center, Has with center Kruma and Tropoja with center city if Bajram Curri.

The new Kukes city, is the administrative center of the Kukes region, where are established the most important governmental and local institutions of the area. Until 1925, when for the first time Kukes was considered as a city, Old Kukes was only a village with inhabitants who used to live between White and Black Drini. Inhabitants of this village named Kukes, used to live mainly from their farm productions and plants cultivation. Now days the New Kukes, is the most north eastern city of Albania, only 25 km far from the national border with Kosovo and is laid in 358 latitude from the sea level. This is a fairly new city, built after 1963, 4km away from the previous location of Old Kukes. Kukes city (old) actually lay under the waters of an artificial lake which was created after the building of Fierza big hydro central.

Kukes relief has the shape of a small peninsula, which is surrounded by the artificial lake waters in the most part of it and creates a picturesque landscape near the city.

The population of Kukes region, is an autochthon population if this area originally coming since from the Illyricum times and Dardan tribes.

The tradition of wool productions in manufactures is very well known and old also in Kukes region. Wool was widely used for production of clothes and textures needed in home. The fact that Kukes region has been fairly isolated from the rest of Albanian regions due to geographical conditions and lack of infrastructure, this has positively influenced in the preservation of the old traditions of folkloric art almost unchanged until the actual times.

The motifs used in these folkloric products are particular and ancient at the same time and are widely used in the production of carpets and quilts, with a variety of colors and a fine artistic taste which are not found in other regions of Albania and are typical for this region only.

In 1963 in Kukes was built the state handicrafts enterprise, in which were employed 1000 workers from the city and 200 from Bicaj village. This enterprise used to work mainly on products for export. Main articles produced were carpets, quilts, artistic handmade objects made of hail and thin woods etc.

After the change of the political regime in Albania, in 1992, this enterprise stopped producing these articles for almost 20 years. Actually speaking, conditions in Kukes region have changed and the region is not considered anymore isolated due to the new infrastructure, which connects with the capital in 2 hours and with Kosovo within 15 minutes. With the city of Prizeren has started to develop the cooperation for small businesses in the area of handicrafts. Different fairs has been held in Kukes region by the Women's organization and which are intended to be expanded in other cities of Albania and in the neighbor countries also.