0 thoughts on “Images tagged "pyotr-nikolayevich-lvov"

  1. Greatly explaining the arch that was featured on Bald And Bankrupts “This Country Was Ready For War” video. Thanks!

    • I don’t really understand this comment. The link is to the bannedthought site – over which I have no control whatsoever. And anyway when I click on the link it works, although slowly. Further, the fact that a item has been published doesn’t mean to say it is readily available.

      • Yes, sorry for the confusion, I meant to say that the last 2 volumes of Mao’s Road to Power
        Revolutionary Writings: https://www.routledge.com/Maos-Road-to-Power/book-series/MRP

        Have been published in the Year 2023, your website only has till volume 8 of that work, which is the only English translation of the 1912-1949 collected works of Chairman Mao.

        Your website has the official Selected Works, but still, Mao’s Road to Power
        Revolutionary Writings: is an awesome book, if it’s accurate.

  2. The Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance Project does excavations in the area and seeks summer volunteers, with the possibility of academic credit through Northern Arizona University. The similar Maya Research Program does work in northwestern Belize. I’ve thought about volunteering or otherwise visiting Belize, but I haven’t been to Mesoamerica at this point. Are the decapitated figures mentioned on El Castillo supposed to be modelled on specific people and if so who were they?

    • All I know about the decapitated figures is what is written in the text; ‘seated inside the niches are the figures of people who were decapitated towards the end of the Classic period (AD 800-900). Judging from their position, these figures may well represent the Bacabs or ‘skybearers’. The frieze on the west side displays just one and a half of these masks symbolising the sun god. Situated between them is a square frame around an image of the fire god Chaac or Kah’k Chaak, which in turn is framed by bands adorned with the woven mat design, Pop in the Maya language. The upper record also shows the image of a mutilated figure, possibly corresponding to a pauwahtun, as in the frieze on the opposite side’.

  3. The Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance Project, which Dr Jaime Awe is a co-director of, does excavations in the area and seeks summer volunteers, with the possibility of academic credit through Northern Arizona University. The deadline for the 2024 field school with academic credit is in February, though there might be flexibility. The similar Maya Research Program does work in northwestern Belize. I’ve thought about volunteering or otherwise visiting Belize, but I haven’t done much travelling at this point. I’ve wanted to visit Mesoamerica, especially central Mexico, and the American tropics for a long time, so this is an interesting series of posts.

  4. Pingback: 21 Best Things to Do in Tirana, Albania (2024 Tirana Guide) – Slow Travel News

    • Hello Maureen
      Sorry for the delay. The information I used when I did the walk was the guide and maps for the Cingles de Bertí. The guide I have scanned and placed at the bottom of the post Els Tres Monts – Stage 1 – the post to which you added your comment. It’s in Catalan but hopefully it will be of help. The two maps that accompany the guide I found (if my memory serves me right) quite good.
      Please remember that I did this walk more than ten years ago and some of the information might be out of date. However, I don’t see why the maps shouldn’t still be available.

  5. Hi

    I found some interesting books here. Thank you very much. But what a pity that some books are in image format, not PDF. It would be great if all books are available in PDF. By the way, the link to
    On Literature and Art, Progress, Moscow, 1973, 509 pages.
    is broken.
    Best regards

    • Hello Nasar

      Good to read you found the Marx/Engels page interesting and useful.

      Thanks for pointing out the broken link – don’t know how that happened. Should be OK now.

      Don’t really understand your other point. All the documents on that page (and most of the documents on the rest of my site) are downloadable as pdf’s. Could you cite specific cases so I can investigate and understand what you mean?

  6. Firstly I very much enjoy meandering through your wonderful website, especially the Albanian writings.

    The tampering of this mosaic is certainly an interesting topic.

    “The War of National Liberation against the invading fascists, first Italian then the German Nazis, was led by and principally carried out by Albanian Communists. ” I am not sure David Smiley would agree. I think the history Albanian resistance has not been fully understood and published. The communist regime most certainly exaggerated their effectiveness and of course set the narrative for the Ballists and Legalitit combatants.

    • Just as the ‘west’ tried to undermine the crucial/fundamental role of the Soviet Union in the defeat of the Nazis (all as part of their ‘Russophobe’ campaign (which began long before the Special Military Operation of February last year) so capitalism has constantly been attempting to undermine any role played by Communists in the Second World War.

      But if it wasn’t the Communist who drove first the Italians and then the German fascists out of their country who did?

      The ‘Nationalists?

      The Communists disrupted ‘the plans of the German Nazis from establishing some element of legitimacy to their occupation of the country with the setting up of a ‘Quisling’ government. The date chosen for this sham was the 18th October 1943 and on that day the Albanian traitors met in the Victor Emmanuel III Palace on the outskirts of the city of Tirana.’

      And who was it who brought the disparate groups fighting the invaders together?

      ‘Different nationalist groups, but especially those organised by the Communist Party of Albania (CPA) after its foundation on 8th November 1941, fought against the invaders but by the middle of 1942 it was recognised that the struggle for liberation needed co-ordination and with that in mind the Communists invited all nationalists to a conference to create a structure that would defeat the materially superior foreign forces.’

      Perhaps it was the English ‘James Bonds’ who threw out the fascists, all by themselves?

      But the Nazis knew who were their real enemy shown by their murder of Persefoni and Bule and the destruction of Borove.

      And even the British knew who the real fighters were by finally ‘accepting’ that the Partisans were the only force that was serious in its fight for National Liberation.

      But once the war was won the British did everything in its power to destroy the new Socialist Republic.

      So what does a little ‘re-writing’ of history matter?

  7. Grover Furr is not a Soviet Historian! He’s a despicable apologist for Joseph Stalin and denier of his atrocities! Furr has a degree in Medieval English not Russian History or any history! Conquest didn’t lie about anything Skunkwipe! He used legitimate sources and provided evidence of Stalin’s genocide! Furr ignored evidence and provided worthless sources! He’s the scum of the earth and so are you!

  8. can I have wattapp number in order to communcate with someone to answer my questions regarding Spring 6 at Tskaltubo – Georgia

    • Just ask you questions through Comments on the Spring 6 post and I’ll try to answer them. I don’t use whatsapp.

  9. Well, you may be right about that, for little appeared to be going on this week ((the one which ends up with oil being wiped over the British head of state. But the statutes of Lenin and Stalin, at least, have moved from the gallery’s back yard to the (impeccably kept) front garden of Mehmet Shehu’s house, now guarded by security men. Makes of that what you will….

    • Thanks for the update of the whereabouts of Lenin and Stalin. Does it mean both the Stalin statues have been moved there. And do you have the address of Mehmet Shehu’s house? I don’t think I’ve ever been there. If you give me the adress I’ll update the post in case anyone wants to go looking for them now that the art gallery may not return to what it was if any renovation actually takes place.

      • If you walk down rr Ismail Qemali from the Boulevard, into the former Blok, you walk along the north side of a little park. When you get to the end of the park, the house on your left is Mehmet Shehu’s house, so the address is probably the corner of Ismail Qemali and rr Ibrahim Rugova. The front or Enver Hoxha’s house is diagonally across the crossroads in front of you and at the back of the Shehu’s house, but whether there is a tunnel connecting them, as Kadare wrote, is not known. The house is used as a government guest house, and is under security guard, which prevents getting near. In the front garden you can see (the top parts of) Lenin and Stalin (and a jeep-like truck). I am afraid I cannot say whether there is any more, though someone suggested that some works from the gallery of Figurative Arts were being stored there on the inside.

        • Thanks for the update Adrian. I’ll try to work out how best to include the latest information in the other blogs where I’ve mentioned the statues of Lenin and Stalin. It will also be interesting to see how, or indeed if, they find a permenant home – accessible to the public – in the future of all the statues that were hidden away at the back of the National Art Gallery. I’m particularly concerned with the fate of the statue of Liri Gero

  10. Michael, I wonder if we might have permission to use your photograph of Beggars Bridge to accompany a biographical entry for Thomas Ferres? He is to be included in a new book on people related to Hull over many centuries which is currently being compiled to mark 100 years of Lord Mayors in Hull.. All proceeds are to go to the Lord Mayor of Hull’s charities. I look forward to hearing from you. Dr Robb Robinson R.N.,Robinson@hull.ac.uk

    • Hello Robb,
      No problem. I’ll send you direct higher definition copies which might be better for your purpose.

  11. Pingback: Grave Journeys – GSQ Blog

  12. Thanks for this write up. It was very helpful. Would you please tell me if they move all business class seats towards to forward movement direction of the train? Thanks!

    • I wouldn’t have thought so – but don’t know for sure. These are fixed trains. Seats will face front going one way and back the other. It all depends.

    • I might have posted information and pictures of the mosaic some time ago But I’m still interested in updating/correcting if necessary anything I might have written. In that way I be able to, slowly, fill in the gaps in my information about Albanian lapidars in general.
      Thanks for the name. Would he have been an artist or an architect? I know on other lapidars the two skills worked together.

  13. Hello, Petro Sota was my grandfather’s brother. There is a book made about him. Also there is the technical university of Albania that was named after him.

    I can give you more details on his life.

    As per the sculpture in 2014. It was paid by my grandpa in honour of his brother. The original monument was destroyed when the city council gave the land to UAE mollahs to build a mosque without any consultation and through some generous bribes.

    My grandpa collected a few favours here and there in order to get the statue there.

    Side note, Raqi Sota (another brother also died during the occupation) him and Petro were exercising their aim when a bullet ricocheted and killed Raqi. He was later made hero of the people.

    As per Petro, he was being followed based on information given by a local spy. He noticed that he was being spied and tried to get into a local “bar”. He tried escaping from the windows since he had in his possession a lot of over 40 something names of the resistance. He got shot, and tried eating the letter based on the local eye witnesses. The fascist broke his jaw while his was dying in order to get the letter. Apparently the letter was so damp with blood and chewed that it was unusable.

    He got shot a total of 28 times total. And left in the the middle of what yes to be the market for 2 days. His father went to pick up his corpse on the 3rd day by night time.

    After this incident, his/my family was sent to the goulag for 2 years.

    They were able to come back when the Germans were defeated.

    • Hello Bessi,
      Thanks for the information. It’s so difficult to get details about many of the lapidars and monuments from the socialist period in Albania and there are many gaps in my knowledge. Thanks you, again, for filling some of those gaps.

  14. Hello Michael,

    Thank you very much for this very accurate and useful article. There is so much good content.
    Glad you shared the coordinates as some points are really hard top find.
    I’m currently in Albania and will take time to visit some of these fabulous places.
    Keep up the good work.

    • Glad to hear you have found the information useful. Please get in touch if you find any errors or omissions. I will then update. Have a good time in Albania.

    • The National Art Gallery was closed around the end of November 2021 following the most bizarrely curated exhibition I have ever seen. For a few months towards the end of 2021 it seemed that ALL the exhibits from the Gallery’s storerooms were brought into the exhibition space and put on ‘display’. No organisation, no information but an interesting exhibition, nonetheless, for anyone interested in Albanian Socialist Realist art. I wrote a blog post, together with hundred of pictures, here. When I saw the hoardings around the building I wondered about the fate of the statues from the ‘Statue Park’ at the back of the building.

      When I first went to Tirana I had to play cat and mouse with security to get to the back of the building but in recent years it has been on the itinerary of the Tirana walking tours. So it seems Joe and Vladimir have a new, if only temporary, home. Some of the other larger bronze statues can be found in the internal courtyard of the Historical Museum in Skenderbeu Square – go through the doorway that is opposite the main visitor entrance and turn right.

      I wasn’t able to find out anything about when the gallery would reopen or what had been the fate of all the exhibits that were placed on show last year.

      The ‘anger’ mentioned in the short piece to which you provided a link just goes to show how stupid some people are. These statues, and more, had been on ‘public’ display for years. Ignorant people seem to have the perpetual desire to be outraged.

      I’ll place a note at the end of my posts about the gallery to let readers know of the current situation with the ‘refurbishment’. Thanks for your comment, it has reminded me that I should have done that once I realised the gallery was closed.


  16. Liverpool Town Hall.
    “The four spandrels (the triangular corner paintings) are by Charles Furse …”
    They are called pendentives, not spandrels.

  17. Liverpool Town Hall.
    “The statue at the top of the first flight of stairs is of George Canning, an MP for the town and Prime Minister for 4 months in 1827, was completed in 1832 by Francis Chantry.” — Chantrey seems to be the preferred spelling.

  18. Not mentioned directly is the fact that at Yalta and Teheran, Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt agreed that Greece would be in the Western sphere, whereas Albania and Yugoslavia would be in the Eastern sphere. If Stalin had broken the agreement and supplied arms and support, the Greek communists would certainly have won control of the country after the war.

  19. Dear Micheal

    You have done a great work publishing all of these issues. I hope you will publish more on your blog in the next month. That would be amazing. I hope you’re still active


    • Hello Adam
      The reason there are gaps in the postings is that I don’t have access to those issues. I’m constantly looking for a source but, to date, without any luck.
      If that situation changes then I will certainly post the missing issues as soon as possible.
      But not in the next month, I’m afraid

  20. Hi Michael, an incredible work you have done with pulling together all this content. I am the found out albaniangallery.art website and was wondering if I can republish some of your articles on my website. Without saying the credits will go to you as author/curator. let me know if I get your permission. Regards Alban

    • Hello Alban,
      There’s no problem using items from my site. Good to hear you find my blog useful.
      Take care

  21. Are you related to the Michael Harrison who was moved to leave the rather disobliging assessment of Rinas airport, and those who work in it, last year ? If you are, it sounds as things do not only get better…

    • I posted on the airport more than nine years ago. Since then I’ve both arrived and left Rinas a number of times. It’s a small airport – though much busier now than it was when I wrote the post – as well as being quite modern and because of that is one of the more ‘pleasant’ airports to pass through. (ALL airports are unpleasant to a lesser or greater extent.) I don’t have any serious criticisms of the airport and I’m not the person that has posted on any site about Rinas – I don’t post on review sites for anything.

  22. Another attempt by the imperial core to offload the blame for their own problems onto the victims of neocolonialism. Perhaps somewhat related to this was the recent remark by William Windsor blaming environmental damage on “Africa’s rapidly growing human population.”

    • Exactly. The problem is they have been doing it for decades and still get away with it. They blame someone else to protect themselves.

  23. Hi Michael,

    Interesting site/content. A 1952/3 book caught my eye: https://michaelharrison.org.uk/2018/08/jv-stalin-biographies-reminiscences-and-appraisals/

    I became skeptical and did a search. According to the only Amazon review of the Budu Svanidze book, it “was exposed as a forgery shortly after it came out by historian Boris Souvarine (Bulletin de l’Association d’Etudes et d’Informations Politiques Internationales, May 1953, Nos. 88 and 89.)” I acquired the articles and confirmed they do indeed refer to this book as a forgery – along with several others. I could send them along with my translations if you’d like.

    • It’s a long time since I read ‘My Uncle Joseph Stalin’ but my memory was that it was quite benign. How Joe came out of it I can’t remember exactly but I don’t think the book tried to make out that Stalin was a perfect husband and partner – the only reason why I could think of of it being a ‘forgery’.

      At the same time I would think that anything written by Souvarine has to be considered suspect – especially when it comes to the topic of Joseph Stalin. Souvarine was a Trotskyite and like all Trotskyites spent much of his time from the mid 1920s attacking the Soviet Union and its leadership.

      By all means send the article you mentioned (with translation) if you have them to hand. It would be interesting to read Souvarine’s ‘proof’ that the publication was a ‘forgery’, by whom and for what reason it was ‘forged’ and what political gain there was in such an elaborate task over a book that is hardly well known. I’ve never come across any reference to it so if it was concocted then the aim was a failure.

      • Two sample points that can be checked independently of BEIPI on the “Svanidze” book (“forgery” = not Stalin’s nephew): [1] Stalin’s second wife didn’t overdose but instead shot herself by the morning of 8 Nov 1932 due to a migraine episode that started Nov 6 and was made worse by attending the Nov 7 anniversary parade; [2] Rosa (Rachel) Kaganovich could not have been an option to be Stalin’s third wife because she died in 1926.

        [1] Artem Sergeev, Stalin’s adopted son, comments on Nadezhda’s migraines: translate.yandex.com/translate?url=hrono.ru/biograf/bio_a/alliluevans.php&lang=ru-en – “…Nadezhda Sergeevna had constant, very powerful, completely unbearable headaches. She often held her head in her hands and cried out: ‘My head! My head!’” “Svanidze” may have known this: “‘I have a headache,’ Nadia said stiffly. ‘Please excuse me.’” (p. 59) “Svanidze” says: “One night she took an overdose, with fatal effect.” (p. 98)

        [2] Kaganovich family comments on ‘Wolf of the Kremlin’ (1987): revolutionarydemocracy.org/rdv1n2/kaganfam.htm – “LMK’s [Lazar Kaganovich’s] only sister, by mistake named in the book as Rosa (her name was Rachel), died in 1926…” Therefore the statement in “Svanidze’s” book that “Molotov, Kaganovitch, Mikoyan, Beria […] now that Stalin was once more a widower […] took the liberty of selecting a wife for him—Rosa Kaganovitch, the beautiful sister of Lazar Kaganovitch” (p. 99) is false.

        “Waverly Root” (“Svanidze” again?) in the preface: “If Molotov is to be one of the future rulers of Russia also, it is not unimportant to know that he is a bad loser, or that he dislikes to take responsibility in critical situations.” Fake Stalin quote: “Everyone complains of Molotov’s stiffness, his inability to show the slightest flexibility. It’s true, you know. Sometimes he is really unbearable.” Fake Mikeladze quote: “…we’ll arrange for you to come again when you have that memorandum to prove that Molotov has become anti-Marxist.” Even without BEIPI or the sources above it’s not impossible to see “Svanidze” only pretended to be favorable to the Soviet leadership while in substance making them appear ridiculous.

        • I’m not really sure where this discussion is going and neither could I couldn’t really understand the points made by the BEIPI analysis.

          If the Trotskyites want to make out it is a forgery then it’s to use that against the Soviet Union. But then it would have to have been produced in the Soviet Union. However, the simple mistakes which you point out would seem to suggest it wasn’t produced by someone who knew all the facts.

          Then who do you suggest created this ‘forgery’ and for what purpose? And is it really important? It is a rather obscure book and I can’t remember exactly where or when I came across my copy.

          If it was created for some ‘ill intent’ then what was it? As it doesn’t seem to have been very successful – especially in the great scheme of things when Uncle Joe has been accused of everything apart from causing the present climate emergency.

          • This was written just prior to Khrushchev’s slander of “Uncle Joe” and it’s true the book was soon overshadowed. One of the points made in BEIPI is that this series of publications, including those by “Svanidze”, occurred with unusual (or even impossible) speed, so the implication is that the book was authored by international imperialism. The purpose would have been to create confusion and dissatisfaction abroad with the Soviet leadership, potentially for people to quit their parties. And from the description in “The Wolf of the Kremlin” (1987): “The true story of Stalin’s third wife, Rosa, who was Lazar’s sister.” This was decades later so was this sort of narrative really unsuccessful? As to where this is going, the whole point of reading history is to learn, isn’t it? And if it’s disinformation, to alert people. I’ve given my contact info if more needs to be said. I don’t want to spam this page.

            • I don’t disagree with anything you say. Your memory/knowledge of some of the facts is better than mine and I also agree it’s good to point out these situations in the past to remind people what the enemies to socialism are prepared to do. We only have to look at the ‘Zinoviev Letter’ to realise that the idea of ‘fake news’ is not something invented in the last few years. There’s a book, which I have but have yet to scan, called ‘The Great Conspiracy against Russia’. That documents just such incidents to cause confusion amongst those who might have been sympathetic to the aims of the Soviet Union. I’ll see if I can get it scanned and posted on the Soviet Union page on this blog in the next few weeks.

  24. A Reeeeally Wonderful Website! Learn a lot from it ! Precious documentaries!

    —— From a Maoist Researcher China

  25. Hi there


    I read your reviews regularly. It would be helpful to know whether you have been to North Korea, either as a tourist (as I have); as a guest of the DPRK; or in your own right. It might actually help people to understand more clearly the pluses and minuses of that amazing country.


  26. Hi, can tell you now, the Historical Basis for socialism in Ireland is from 1919, originally published in New York

  27. Pingback: Three Weeks of sadness but also of hope – Immanuel Verbondskind – עמנואל קאָווענאַנט קינד

  28. It is a pity there are still uninformed people like you Michael and Thomas Mrett that believe executed innocents during communism in Albania do not deserve rehabilitation. Communist’s leaders in Albania were nothing more than murderers! They isolated the country to destruction only for their privileges.
    During king Zog, Albania recognized economic growth. Private property and free speech was never denied, nor were people executed for speaking their mind.

    • Your hero Zogolli;

      returned to Albania in 1924 with the support of foreign, reactionary forces;
      bestowed dictatorial powers upon himself;
      made an alliance with Italian Fascism;
      in a similar act to the megalomaniacal Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself king;
      like a coward ran away when the Italians invaded Albania in 1939;
      no doubt was instrumental in post-war efforts of the British government to undermine the government of the people following liberation in 1944;
      and lived a life of luxury at the expense of the Albanian people.

      Albania today still celebrates Skenderbeu and the idea of Independence but Zogolli’s actions and life were the antithesis of the national hero. He would have preferred to preen himself in a mirror in his dress uniform than get his hands dirty in actually fighting against the fascist (or any other) invaders. That task was left to the working men and women of Albania under the leadership of Comrade Hoxha and the Albanian Communists.

  29. Pingback: 22 Fun Albania Facts You Didn't Know - Adventurous Miriam

  30. “The organisation still exists but seems to function more as a mouthpiece of the Chinese government in Britain and providing its members with official visits to capitalist China.”
    “…Now it praises the erstwhile Socialist country for its capitalist (and imperialist) development.”
    Excuse me, what?

    • Hello Aleksander

      Not really sure what you getting at. Is China a capitalist and imperialist country or do you think it is still a ‘socialist’ society?

      Those who produced the SACU News in the 1960s and early 1970s were promoting Socialist China at a time when it wasn’t easy to get information about developments in the country. By continuing to support ‘socialist’ China after the coup against the revolutionaries within the Party very soon after the death of Chairman Mao. If such support in the early years of capitalist restoration could be excused as ignorance of the reality any support, or thought that the country still follows a socialist agenda so many years later, is just plain stupidity.

      Any support organisations, for example, set up to promote the interests of the United Kingdom or the United States would be to support the dominant economic and social system in place in those countries. Such slavish support always comes with advantages.

  31. Hi Michael,

    I’ve been following your blog for a long time now. It’s probably the best account online relating to the socialist era of Albania. I have a question regarding a building that was once located in Tirana, you might be able to help me. The building is the Museum House of the Party and I can’t figure out if it is still standing or what might be at its location now. If you have any idea I’d appreciate the info.



    • Hello Richie

      Sorry for the slight delay in replying, have been trying to find out more information from a friend who knows Tirana better than me.

      Many years ago I went looking for the building. The only information I had at that time was the small map that’s in the book Museum House of the Party. You can download it here if you have not already done so. It was posted on Documents of the PLA 31-40 page. On page 19 there’s a small sketch map of the location – the problem was that street names were changed after the reaction took power and there is no actual street name for where the building was located.

      I think I found a place which looked as if it might have been the building, but all locked up and no one around. I’m assuming it wasn’t demolished as it was a good building in it’s own right close to the centre of town. My assumption is that it was taken over by some individual as a bit of free people’s property – a private privatisation.

      The friend I mentioned earlier is going to see if he can find any more info, if anything more comes to light I’ll forward the news on to you.

    • Hello Aleksander

      Thanks for the link. The presentation is two and a half hours long and haven’t had the time to watch it yet. It’s interesting that it deals with the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ but the subject can be approached in a number of ways.

      Considering you comment about the SACU News I’m not sure if we see the dictatorship of the proletariat in the same way.

  32. It’s not easy to refrain from commenting. This time wanted to say that couldn’t have ever read his invaluable speech hadn’t it been singled out here. Many many thanks! I expected it to be interesting but not easy and understandable. One is able to see what he means. We are very different people now from then conscientiously speaking, but the then reality was also different from what is pictured here in 1958. A cultural revolution must’ve been due much earlier than beginning of ’80s.

    • It would be a mistake to think that the Cultural Revolution in China only took place after the decision of the Central Committee of the CPC dated 8th August 1966. The struggle against revisionism and those who wanted to re-establish capitalism in the People’s Republic went into a new stage after that date but a ‘cultural revolution’ goes side by side with the efforts to build socialism from the first days after the revolution – and this is the case in all countries.

      And it’s not just the case of the successful revolutions which took state power in the 20th century. We can see efforts to change peoples ideas and world view during the 72 (too short) days of the Paris Commune with the Patriotic Women’s Clubs, for example.

      There was no formal ‘Cultural Revolution’ in the Soviet Union though we can see references to such a continuing struggle in the writings of both Lenin and Stalin.

      And also in the writings published by Enver Hoxha and the Party of Labour of Albania.

      • Useful readings as always. It was wandering to me why this blog uses ‘Cultural Revolution’ extensively for Albania. It now makes perfect sense for even though Albania never had a ‘formal’ Cultural Revolution as you put it, at least the three first decades during the construction of Socialism were a movement close to that, a continuing restless search and critique involving all in general.
        Appreciate you taking the time to stop and provide an extended explanation.
        Very interesting what your said about Paris Commune.

  33. when i look at the lapidar sculpture i just know it. We’ve known the Peza stories of WWII when we were young from many sources, history school books, movies, literature etc.
    And i’m thinking now but find that i am not able to even mention a specific book or story, it seems a long time ago.

  34. Hi Mr. Harrison,
    The group to the left relates to the event of the partisan intervention in the village of Peza after the fascists burnt and massacred it. Peza has been burnt more than once by fascists as it was known to be a great support point to local and other partisan çeta.
    What is happening with the left hand side group is, the harmed and vulnerable peasants are desperately welcoming the partisans as these arrive the last minute to rescue them from fascists.
    The trio of family is instead a group of unrelated people: The non-uniformed partisan has just rescued the orphan baby most likely from a burning house and is holding the baby, whose one hand is on shoulder of the woman partisan. I can’t figure out what she holds in her left hand either but they’re about to go secure the baby in a safe place away from the bullets field where he is taken care of.

    Next, the woman resting her head on the man’s chest is in fact the mother of the partisan, an old lady, and she has been desperately looking for him and his partisan friends to come any minute now to save them from the disgrace. The little guy is her grandson she’s guarding while his father – meaning her son which is near her now – is away from home fighting for freedom.

    In the meantime partisan çeta is fiercely fighting with the fascists. In this fight they are joined by village men, the village always being a reliable point of support for partisans.
    The partisans of the çeta of Peza, were some of the very first organizations that would later become the national liberation army structured into brigades and divisions. At this initial stage we encounter partisans in distinguishable uniforms and already communists as well as many partisans still on their own local outfits, these maybe recently having joined the çeta or that while into a fighter mentality were not yet a partisan. But they would become soon.
    Also Peza was one of the very first liberated sites during antifascist war with the national liberation council regulating and governing the area being the people’s power established there. This is what we see to the right group of the memorial, the unified group of communist partisans, non-communist partisans, civilians and village people. Among the four front figures the two civilians who stand in the middle should be the leading figures of national liberation council for Peza.
    All are armed nevertheless. All civilian people are armed to the best they can and stand unified around their power representatives, the national liberation council and communist partisans.

    • An interesting interpretation. As I asked when you made a comment about ‘The Albanians’ mosaic – how do you come to such a detailed reading of the sculptural story?

  35. verses are actual folk songs, Mavrova and Drashovica are individual villages and it’s being sung to each one of them altogether. You Mavrovë and you Drashovicë, what havoc combined that day, machine guns and artillery, the night looked like day.
    Hysni Kapo like a hawk, threw himself over barbed wires, spoke himself to the germans, surrender you hateful aggressor.

  36. With Shkoder being the last liberated, on Nov. 29th 1944, the Albanian National Liberation Army kept the fights going beyond country northern borders, in the area of Kosova and further northern to that, in Yugoslavian territory, helping neighbours and pushing Germans as further away the Albanians border as possible. These last army sections returned home in 1945.

    My grandfather fought there and returned home only that year.

  37. the mosaic man in suit with a piece of paper in hand is an Albanian renaissance figure rather than Ismail Qemali, the independence man.
    this man is likely one of the three Frasheri brothers, probably Sami Frasheri or Abdyl Frasheri. Sami Frasheri the youngest, more of a philosopher, wrote the precious piece “Albania what was, what is and what will be”, Abdyl Frasheri the olderst was leader of the League of Prizren a unifying congress for albanians fighting against Turkey, 1878. Naim Frasheri, the second brother, was a great Albanian renaissance poet, maybe the greatest of the era.

    Edvin Rama is disinterested in survival of the mosaic and is intentionally allowing its disintegration just like he’s doing with every socialist era buildings, architecture, structures, that have survived to date. His ambition is replacing the urban layout of the centre of Tirana so that no sign of pre ’90s is left as remembrance of that period.
    In addition to Frasheri brothers, Edvin Rama recognized a successor of them Mit’hat Frasheri who headed a collaborationist government to Nazis during WWII, honoring him and adding him space in the grave ansamble of the trio Frasheri brothers. This was carried out in speedy sneaky but nevertheless official way, Rama being aware of not being allowed to do so if acts were publicly announced beforehand.

    • Thanks for another interpretation of the story behind the images. I must admit that with many of the lapidars I have described (and those still to post) I’m very much in the situation of making a (hopefully) informed guess as I have been unable to find any sources which provide a definitive explanation of the images, in whatever format.

      I assume that much of this material was lost when the Writers Union archives were destroyed. I suppose there could be information in the National Archives – but then I come across the problem of the language.

      Where did you find the details you have presented here?

      Thanks also about the information about Rama and the addition of a fascist to the group of the Frasheri brothers in Tirana Park – I hadn’t heard of that. Reactionaries removing, destroying, or altering socialist monuments in secret and the dead of night isn’t new. The removal of the statue of Joseph Stalin that stood in the park that bears his name in Gori is another example that comes to mind.

      But what was/is Rama’s rationale for this addition? Who is he hoping to impress? Surely there’s not much left of the country for him to ‘sell out’?

      Take care


  38. there’s a typo on painter’s name, the work “Partisan Vow”
    correctly spelled it is Guri Madhi. Thank you so much.

    • Rectified. But WordPress doesn’t make it easy. You would have thought that moving two letters would be a doddle but it isn’t. Thanks for pointing out the error.

      • very kind of you. If of any use the below is from your great post on National Art Gallery,
        – Ilia Kici Dashi, 1978 – Sali Shijaku
        The title is Hero i Punës Socialiste – Hero of the Socialist Work, equivalent to People’s Hero but now during construction times rather than war times.
        – The wireworker, 1969 – Sotir Capo
        The wire factory was in Shkoder, and that was supplied with copper raw material by the copper enrichment factory of Rubik, Mirdite.
        – The days of flying, 1986 – Spiro Kristo
        there’s a typo error on date, as it is year 1968, which might affect the painting concept.
        – July 30, 1978 – Çlirim Çeka
        Relationships between Albania and China broke in the summer of 1978, however the date might mark the first production of albanian steel. Which relates to China because with the break they quit assistance to Albania on that project.

        • Thanks for more information and pointing out the error on the date of the painting of the airmen. It does change the the meaning of the painting – context is everything. Have made appropriate alterations.

  39. I am looking to read the short Soviet booklets as part of the series “The Fifteen Soviet Republics Today and tomorrow.”

    I have read one on Azerbaijan, printed in 1959

    • I might have to disappoint you there. I don’t think I have the series you refer to. However, it might turn up some time.

  40. Michael thank you for making such wonderful socialist resources available to those who are still fighting for a socialist society ie here in England

    • Glad to hear that you find the blog useful. There’s a lot more to come so if you’re interested in a particular topic you might find more material here in the future.

  41. Very good article. Thanks.
    Can I ask a question. Is there at least one party of workers in England? Is there a “red university”? a “university of worker correspondents”? a “red channel” on youtube?

    «The Party’s
    the compass
    that keeps us on course,
    the backbone
    of the whole working class.»

    • Unfortunately, there’s no Party I would consider as a true revolutionary Marxist-Leninist party in Britain – although there are a few organisations that claim to be. As for a ‘red university’ there’s never been anything like that in the UK – and perhaps one of the reasons for the lack of a party is the lack of emphasis on creating a structure where people can learn the basics of Marxism-Leninism in the past (parties were more concerned with practice and the theory, some times, wasn’t given the emphasis it requires).

      A few sites (other than this one) are providing digital versions of much of the Marxist-Leninist theory as well as the history and experience of those societies that have attempted to build a socialist society. I would recommend BannedThought and From Marx to Mao. Also for other varieties of socialism the Marxist Internet Archive.

  42. Wonderful post! Let we never forget the enormous sacrifice the Sovjets made for the defeat of Nazi-Germany and the liberation of Europe!

    • I’m glad you found the post interesting. With the western capitalist countries virtually writing the Soviet Union out of the war against Fascism – and at the same time attempting to present their contribution as greater than it really was – it’s important to keep the Red Flag flying.

  43. Thank you, Michael. It’s a precious information, which helps us very much, to better understand the global situation. Stay strong. No pasarán !

    • Hello Francesc

      Glad you’re finding what I write useful. Nothing surprising in their (the British government’s) approach – just a confirmation of their incompetence.

  44. Just out of curiousity, I think that you can make a specific post about Vietnam under Doi Moi from your perspective. That would be great.

    • I could – but won’t.

      To me ‘Doi moi’ is just a continuation of revisionism from the time of the First International – but with a Vietnamese twist.

      Socialism’s biggest enemy is not capitalism, vicious militarism that comes as a consequence of imperialism (and the Vietnamese people had their fair share of that experience) but the traitors from within – and the failure of people to identify and crush them when they raise their ugly heads.

  45. This was very interesting reading. For me, as someone with no ideological skin in the game, what;s quite interesting from reading “Reflections on China” (I have a *lot* of time nowadays, as do many of us!…how I got here in fact) is that Hoxha finds Mao irreducibly weird from early on, because he’s Chinese, or more broadly, Asian. I think the subjective aspect of this is mostly positive, i.e. he;s not being ethnocentric, but simply trying to make sense of a leader, and a country, that are totally befuddling to him even though they’re his only significant allies. It’s also interesting how Hoxha, whose cult of personality was a figure of fun in the West, convincingly distinguishes between the utilitarian rationale for that phenomenon in Albania and what he sees as the beyond-all-reason (and again, only understandable in cultural context) cults of Mao and Kim.

    • Hello Rich

      Apologies for the delay.

      I don’t really understand your point. For me the the issue which lay behind Hoxha’s frustration (which was expressed in the 1976 letter to the CPC) revolved around the time it took the Chinese Party to make the ‘definitive’ split with the Revisionist Soviet Union.

      I haven’t read the Enver’s ‘Reflections .. ‘ for some time so don’t really know where you got your ideas about the ‘cult of the personality’.

      I also don’t think that was, at all, the way the ‘West’ approached Albania post WWII. The British, especially, were pissed that they couldn’t get control of the Balkans (something which determined much of their military approach for the Britain to get back into the war – i.e., go via Italy, then turn east and deny the Red Army success in that part of the world).

      As it was the Albanian Communist Partisans freed their own country (as did, indeed the Yugoslavs – even if Tito took the Federation into the capitalist camp in the 1950s) and denied the imperialists their prize. I went into this idea in one of my earliest blogs.

      The propaganda campaign against Albania, at least in Britain, was centred on the country’s so-called ‘isolation’, to try to denigrate its independence.

      As it stands now the word ‘independence’ shouldn’t have an Albanian translation – they have no concept of it.

  46. As a Vietnamese I am saddened by the parts you said after Doi Moi :(.

    • Tragic for a country that was able to defeat the Japanese, French and then American invaders.

  47. Thank you, Michael, for all this information. I think many comments, you make about UK, apply also to Spain and Catalonia… unfortunately.

    • Hello Francesc

      It’s not possible to closely follow events in all countries that are going through the pandemic at the moment. At the same time it’s not a surprise that you can see many parallels between events, statements, inactivity, errors and crass incompetence in Catalonia and Spain as I have seen in the UK. They all follow the profit agenda and not one that cares for people or the long term well being of an economy which isn’t ruled by short term gain.

      It will be interesting to see if the people will allow the same selfish capitalist system to carry on doing what it has been doing for centuries – a system which constantly creates crises, whether they be financial and economic or, as at the moment, a health pandemic.

      Take care


  48. Dear Michael

    Find your link from Stalin Society India and saw that you are doing very
    good work by posting Albania today with its contents.
    I will see if I have missing numbers after 15th April if lock down ends here in India.
    Our Facebook page-Kamgar Prakashan.
    Balram Sharma

    • Hello Balram, Thanks for getting in touch. Will look forward to your news about missing Albania Today’s later in the month. Hope all is going well with you in the present health crisis. Take care, Michael

  49. I am delighted to see this very full and thoughtful article about the fantastic art in the Tirana Gallery. My wife and I were there in 2015 – very briefly in a gap in our tourist tour of the country. We were the only people on the first floor enjoying these extraordinary examples of socialist realist art – an art style which has been almost totally removed from the ex-Soviet bloc countries’ galleries. The floor attendant was very concerned that we were taking photographs – so the ones I took (mainly of industrial scenes) were rather hurried and sometimes out of focus. But I have a selection of those in this brilliant overview, and a few more which may not have been there in 2015.

    Are you aware of any book covering these key works of a very significant period of western art which is so ignored by the bulk of the British art establishment ? If not, have you ever thought about publishing your own ? It would be a pity to lose these works as has happened nearly everywhere else.

    Thank you for bringing this to public attention

    • Hello David,

      Happy you found the post useful and interesting. The attitude of the gallery (and the attendants) has changed over the years. It was a bit like a guerrilla campaign some times in the past but things were very much more relaxed when I was there in the autumn of 2019.

      Even the ‘Sculpture Park’ at the back of the gallery – where I had to time it so I would get by without the security guard noticing – is now possible to visit freely. The authorities have obviously decided that there is an advantage to allow people to see the works of the Socialist period, even to the extent that the rear of the gallery is now on some of the organised ‘walking tours’ of Tirana. I’m sure with all the negative commentary that is seen as obligatory by the ignorant and anti-Socialists when it comes to Albania’s history between 1944 and 1990. Albania is such a paradise on earth now.

      The only contemporary album I’ve seen about Albanian Socialist Realist Art is a book about graphic art from the Socialist period.

      However, albums were produced in the past and I have added two that I have in digital format. Thanks for making your comment as it made me remember that I had other material which complement the contemporary photos. They are fairly large files but you should have no real problem in downloading them if you so wish. I’ve just added them to the end of the post.

      I also have photos of art work from other museums/galleries in different parts of the country. They will eventually appear somewhere on this blog

  50. In re “The breasts seem like small bowels that have been plunked on their chests” – I think you meant ‘bowls’
    The other thing is that a gang of telecommunications workers (cable layers) are also treated as heroic in Venedikt Yerofeev’s “Moscow Circles’ Anti-heroes may be more accurate, or maybe parodies of heroes, or fasiledf heroes, but even then the idea is drawing on what I think might have been a known figure of heroic legend at some times in the Soviet imagination. Cf. Solzhenitsyn’s canal-workers, perhaps harking back to and inheriting something of an image of heroic road-builders (Lermontov?) and/or railway workers, all pioneers in the opening up of communication, progress, snd the bringing of modernity, even in earlier, pre-Soviet times. Is this fair ?

    • Hello David

      Thanks for pointing out the typo. Always a problem proof reading your own work but this one takes it into another dimension. The post-socialist revisionists in Georgia might have been perverse but not quite as suggested in my original (pre-corrected) post. What a difference an ‘e’ makes?

      As for the terracotta mural I still contend it is no more than decoration. I don’t dislike it. Quiet the contrary I think it has some charming aspects – the looks on the faces demonstrating an element of innocence, for example.

      But that’s me being soft.

      My argument is that no work of art that is created in a society that used to be on the Socialist road but which, due to manoeuvrings in the Party which had succeeded in changing that Party from a revolutionary to a revisionist one, can be considered a work of Socialist Realism.

      Images of Marx, Engels and Lenin were paraded in Red Square after 1956 until things fell apart in the 1990s. That didn’t mean the country was following the sort of society those individuals considered to be Socialism.

  51. This is a stupendously wonderful resource, particularly for someone who first went to Albania in the 80s but who now fears that his own memories will fade as the things which one could marvel at in the 80s also fade from view. May your work prosper.

    • Hello Adrian, Glad you find my blog posts on Albania useful. I have a few more pamphlets/books to scan as well as many lapidars to describe whilst providing a photographic record. Do you have any material from your visit/s in the 1980s which doesn’t appear on my site? If you could lend them to me to scan and then post that would make the collection that more complete. I’m especially interested in copies of Albania Today (I’ve scanned and posted all to which I have access) and New Albania – I have some more to scan but there are many gaps in that collection.

  52. The icon “Bloody Martyrdom” depicts a real historical event. Two Franciscans from Italy – Giacomo da Sarnano and Ferdinando d’Albissola – were impaled by the Muslims in 1648. That’s why the dress of the bystanders is old (foustanellas etc). More details here: Pacifico Sella, “Testimonianze inedite circa il martirio dei frati minori Giacomo da Sarnano e Ferdinando d’Albissola (Scutari 28 febbraio 1648)”, (2015), https://dialnet.unirioja.es/descarga/articulo/5533704.pdf

    • Thanks for the historical information.

      When I saw the painting I was more interested in the style the artist had taken from the previous 50 years of Albanian art.

      However, the putting the painting into its historical context raises an interesting point.

      I’ve been in many Catholic churches in various parts of the world and seen paintings which with present thinking would be considered racist and inflammatory – Sant Iago Matamoros being one example. These images would be explained away now by the Catholic guardians as ‘being of their times. Things are different now and the Catholic Church is more tolerant.’ And then the present Pope would be cited.

      But obviously not in Shkoder. Just over a hundred metres from this Franciscan church is a large, modern mosque. Yet in the 21st century, in a country that claims ‘religious tolerance’ after the atheist campaigns of the Socialist period, Albanian Catholics still seek to stoke hatred against Islam.

      Conveniently forgetting the atrocities that have been committed in the name of Christianity/Catholicism since 1648 against anyone who doesn’t bow down to the incumbent in Rome – including the counter-revolutionary activity carried out in the very same building where the Franciscan ‘martyrs’ are being celebrated.

  53. Pingback: Minister Blendi Klosi "Restores" the Lapidar of the Artillery - Exit - Explaining Albania

  54. Fabulous detailed info Michael. Thank you. We visited Martyrs cemetery on the anniversary of the slain student and were fortunate to meet his cousin and friend at the graveside.

    We later went to Hoxhe new grave. The road you turn off is 10.minites walk from the end of the bus line, and continues in the direction the bus was travelling (the part of your text where you said to keep on the returning bus and continue walking was ambiguous: it was not clear if you should walk on the return direction or continuing out if town direction).

    Excellent information all round though. Thankyou for taking the time to post.

    • Thanks for your comment Tina. I’ve altered the text, and updated the bus fare, so hope that has done away with any ambiguity. Sorry for any confusion caused. Hope you’re enjoying your time in Albania.

  55. Wonderful photos and commentary. Perhaps you can initiate a Go-Fund-Me effort to finance a rhinoplasty for Comrade Enver? I am good for a small contribution.

  56. Good to read this this is true but seldom taught amongst friends and all us , should ,know yes

  57. Thank you for letting us see some of real history , not mentioned oft I have a b a in political science and I am no smarter than the most average person believe me but the way Greece was treated was reprehensible they were committed to the fight that we anericans we’re simple as that and also simple perhaps also takes so much work but it’s the peace building with egalitarian robust energetic cooperative economies of human civilization without nationalist division but with national distinction a true communism would be the greatest step towards peace

  58. Dear Mr. Harrison,

    I was wondering if I could use the picture of “The Hanged Women – Gjirokastra”, the first one in this article, for a little quiz on twitter?

    Some colleagues and I run a channel called @quiztime, where we post weekly quizzes for other so solve in order to train for geolocation and verification skills.

    The image would be attached to a tweet tomorrow for people as a hint where to start the search.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Best regards

  59. Thank you, Michael. There are many aspects of your report that I didn’t know… See you… No pasaran !

  60. I used to work in Martins Bank International Branch in Water Street. I now live in Nottingham but often visit Liverpool to meet up with friends whom I used to work with. Could you let me know if there are any plans to see inside the beautiful old building or heritage days organised for this year.?

    • The building has been acquired by an up-market hotel group. It seems to be taking a long time to do the conversion and, as far as I know, there’s no date about when it will open. The plan was announced almost 4 years ago so there have been questions about funding. The latest I’ve seen is that has been acquired by the IHG chain.
      When/if it does open as a hotel the banking hall will almost certainly be the reception area so open to the public. What plans they have for the Board Room I have no idea. It could be converted into a dining room so that would also be available to the public.
      Start saving up your pennies if you hope to visit the building in the future.

  61. One clue as to the strangeness or incomprehensibility of the figures/bas reliefs around the monument is given by this translation of a guide-book-style website (1):
    “The monument was projected by a group of artists resident in Ushuaia, directed by the sculptor Vilma Nattero and represents the silhouette of the islands.”

    The group-produced artwork has a built-in tendency towards inconsistency in execution. The “group of artists resident in Ushuaia” may have been no more than the local arts club, with members of varying competence. Bringing the local community into the construction of a monument under the direction of a ‘proper’ artist sounds like a good idea, but it does run the risk of producing below-par work, as you clearly illustrate.

    (1) see https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=https://www.ypf.com/guia/Paginas/Plaza-Islas-Malvinas.aspx&prev=search

    • That makes me feel a little better. If the artist/s don’t know what it’s all about then how can anyone else?

  62. Oh dear, bang goes my credibility as a commentator of the left! At least, given the date, I can claim that I was under the influence of sherry and mince pies while failing to distinguish my Galtieris from my Pinochets. Thanks for not laughing too loudly!

  63. Mike, apart from the egregious use of ‘it’s’ when you should write ‘its’ (the English teacher writing here) this is a very entertaining and genuinely interesting piece of travel writing and matches anything to be found in the Guardian or elsewhere. [You might recall I left those animated arguments with yourself, Norman and Richard et al in the Caernavon pub, after the usual Friday show in the Merseyside Film Society, and headed out of the UK in 1980.] I was teaching in Jamaica at the time of the Falklands war and there was a strange sense of pride amongst some of the ex-pats who worked with me at the school. I saw it as a piece of grotesque opportunism from the Thatcher government. It was almost as if the Argentinian military dictatorship had colluded with her. Her wildest dreams came true as she was able to wrap herself in the union flag, sit in the front of tanks and in put back progress even further.

    The museum seems rather tacky and the semi-detached house it seems to be based in (I’m looking at the blue fencing outside) might be a model for the development of future British museums, given government cuts.

    Mike, I admire what you’re doing here. There’s quite an interesting alternative world view available although, as you would probably guess, I don’t agree with much of what you say. Anyway keep travelling and wrirting.

    • Hello Frank, I know there’s no excuse for bad grammar but I will offer a ‘reason’. By the time I’ve done something in the day to write about, get back and write it, process my photos, et al it is getting quite late when I press the ‘publish’ button. That means I’m considerably down the wine bottle (my chosen tipple here) and that means I might miss the ‘. I humbly apologise and will stop drinking to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
      As for the museum you have to look at the sky blue colouring as a patriotic motif – it’s the colour in the national flag (or should that be ‘its’?).

  64. This looks like deliberate policy on the part of the owners – you do not say whether it is privately owned or state-run. Assuming the latter, and that post-junta Argentinian governments have been broadly centrist or left-wing, you’d think that some historical analysis of the failings of Pinochet would have been highlighted. On the other hand, if it is privately-owned, perhaps the owners are/were pro-Pinochet and don’t want too many historical questions asked. Some perspective on this might be gained by studying the date when the museum was opened.

    • Hello Ian, I’m afraid you’re getting mixed up with your military dictators. My ideas have been evolving about who actually commissions the different memorials to the Argentine dead in the Malvinas War. Some are definitely the State but others are more likely to be commissioned by local veterans organisations.
      As for the Rio Gallegos museum it appears to be part of some army complex. Whether it was a barrack or some administrative building I don’t know – didn’t investigate too closely and won’t be going back there. At the same time although there was no admission fee there was a request for donations for the maintenance of the museum and for the purchase of new material.
      I’m hoping the museum in Buenos Aires will be a proper affair. We see in 3 weeks or so.

  65. It is an awkward, unbalanced monument (compare the image of the miner in your earlier post, which had the merit of capturing with some skill the powerful dynamics of a man and a manual drill) which, though abstract up to a point, reminds me of some form of plant-life, with shoots growing from the ground at different heights. From these green(?) shoots emerge the faces of workers – presumably a generic visage to embrace all workers, though specifically in this case the office-workers at the FOM HQ. Again, though, the image is unclear. Perhaps the Pinochet lackeys realised the message of this monument was too obscure to become any sort of focus for discontent, and certainly not worth the cost of dismantling it. Or perhaps they didn’t get the point, either.

  66. I read this statue as something like ‘the spirit of Argentina’, represented by a modern woman (hence the clothing) in rebellious pose (the exposed breast a reference to Delacroix’s ‘Liberty Leading the People’, as well as the Amazon warrior), armed with a lance (to represent a willingness for armed conflict) and a book (to represent the importance of education and civilisation). I am not so sure that this is intended to be an indigenous person – I don’t see the evidence or the rationale for that.

    I think the bronze (?) panels with the Malvinas silhouette are effective, but a fair amount of expense seems to have been spared on the statue, which is slowly mouldering away. Pity, because it is an arresting image.

  67. Hoy los recordamos …. aqui, en calles y escuelas…

    “Today we remember them, in the streets and in the schools…”

    And those are precisely the places where we should teach others about what some people wish to do to us. (And if not, the internet must do, as it does here! Of course, I did not know of this piece of history, but I do now.)

  68. We are beginning to see the ‘minute’s applause’ in the UK, in sports grounds and similar, which as you say requires a tad more participation than silence. It also obviates the possibility of a silent period being hijacked by counter-demonstrators (or just idiots) wishing to make their voices heard.

    The inability of the teachers to coordinate with other workers over demonstrations is surely not because they cannot see the point of doing so, but because such organisation requires a lot of background work – which teachers (if their profession is anything like ours) simply will not have the time to do; their primary responsibility is for the children. State operatives, on the other hand, are paid to coordinate their responses.

  69. Your first mural illustrated is indeed grotesque – what makes it so is the children’s comic idiom in which the soldier is (not very expertly) drawn. What does this say about the mindset of the artist? Gross sentimentality, perhaps, but certainly not the thoughtful dignity with which the 649 deserve to be remembered. That said, this particular area of the country seems well short of good street artists – none of the murals shown is especially well executed, the soldier-grandma image desperately short of artistry. Perhaps the best is the simplest – the “649, siempre eran nuestros heros” image. (I’m surprised that the Spanish plural is “heroes” rather than “heros”, but then again my Spanish never progressed beyond O level.)
    It’s regrettable that the memorial is poorly maintained, but as you imply, it seems to be trying to say too much at once. The backwards tilt of the main element is intended, I suggest, to reflect agony (a soldier shot while advancing into enemy fire, perhaps). I can’t make much of the rest.

  70. Some remarkable images here, Michael! Well done for circulating them.

    As for the G20 Summit, we are reminded that among the plenipotentiaries attending is that currently interesting character from the Middle East MBS, whom the Argentinian authorities might (it is reported here) attempt to arrest!

    I’m not holding my breath on that one, though.

    • Hello Ian, There are more images in the Gallery. I forgot to add it earlier on but should be there now.

      Not picked up anything, on TV news or newspapers, about an Argentine arrest during the G-20. Argentina will be sucking up to the IMF and won’t want to upset MBS’s best mate in the White House.

    • What’s your point? It’s an Orthodox Cathedral. Christian. Crosses are all the rage. The mosque is being built elsewhere. Get your facts right before you bother me with your ignorant and uninformed prejudices.

  71. Hi, thanks for sharing. I was just wondering if anyone could tell me if the finikas lines ferry from corfu to saranda was reliable?

    • Very. The only time I had a problem – and that was just a matter of bad timing on my behalf – was in 2011 (my first visit to Albania) when the very day I wanted to travel there was a)
      work on the dock in Saranda and b) maintenance of the boat (or so I was told).
      Every other time I’ve travelled by boat it has been spot on.
      Obviously, depending upon the time of year, you have to take into account potential weather problems.

    • Very. All the buses that go to Tirana from Saranda go close to Durres and they’re very frequent, at least until mid afternoon. Those buses don’t go to the centre of Durres itself, though. They go to the bus station at Plepa and you catch a local bus from there. Local buses run every few minutes and only cost 30 lek. That bus takes you pass the bus/train station in the centre of town and its terminus is a further couple of hundred metres west in the direction of the Martyrs Cemetery.

  72. Hi Michael,

    Two days ago I visited Skadar and the Franciscan church. After coming home looking for some information I found your story. I’ll probably visit her again. Thanks for this fantastic explanation.

    • Hello Aida, Glad you found my explanation useful. I think the artwork in the Skhoder Franciscan church might well be unique. I’ve certainly not seen anything like it anywhere else.

  73. Hi Michael,

    The statue of Bajram Curri is by Fuat Dushku (who also worked on the monument of the Four Heroines of Mirdita, which was formerly in Rreshen, but was destroyed after the end of socialism). I found this artcle (http://www.fjalaelire.com/tema/27967.html), which seems to indicate the Bajram Curri statue was inaugurated in 1982, corresponding to the anniversary of Albanian independence.

    • Thanks for the information Raino. Have updated the post to take the name of the sculptor into consideration.

  74. Thank you for this – San Michele al Pozzo Bianco is my favorite church in Bergamo, where I have the good fortune to be living for a while.
    And regarding the quaint saint with spectacles, I have come across two more and thought you might be interested.

    Both are in Lorenzo Lotto paintings of the assumption with the apostles.

    The first one is the the 1512 Assumption of the Virgin now in the Brera Pinacoteca in Milan (http://pinacotecabrera.org/en/collezione-online/opere/assunzione-della-vergine-3/) in which the apostle on the far right is looking up, through spectalces, as if to better see or validate it, at Mary going to heaven on a cloud pushed by bunch of cupid-looking angels.
    The second one is the 1527 altarpiece in the Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Calena, Bergamo (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ad/Lorenzo_lotto%2C_assunta_di_celana%2C_1527%2C_00.jpg). Here, the bespeckled apostle is in the center, behind the empty tomb.
    My best guess is that the bespeckled in the Lotto paintings is Saint-I-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it-Thomas, but I am not sure of this.

  75. During my search for information on war memorials in Albania I came across your blog. Having read the information, you stated that you did not know the background of the changes made to the cemetary after the 1980s. Chances are that you have already deepened your knowledge in the meantime and I have simply not read the follow-up posts, but if this is not yet the case, maybe this article that I have found online as well might be of interest to you.

    Sincerely yours, Karen

    • Thanks for the correction. I try to get the details right but I’m not an expert in WWII weapons and sometimes end up making a, as near as I can get, guess.

  76. Pingback: Friendship and Solidarity with Socialist Albania, part two – woodsmokeblog

    • “Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again”

  77. My wife is English and has taught English in Saranda 6 years. We lived in Ipsos Corfu 8 years.When you get off in the port a taxi to town centre is 4 to 500 Lek. Or turn right out of port walk and you will see about 40 yards on your right a long flight of steps at the bottom you will walk straight on keeping the sea on your right keep walking its a 10 mins nice short walk and you will eventually come to another flight of stone steps about 80 of them on your left easy to walk up with restaurants either side at the top you will see a bus stop that bus stop is just to your left that bus is to Butrint its 100 lek fare they run about every 30 mins and its about 20 mins to Butrint terminus and drops you off at the front of the Butrint site TAKE WATER and a CAP 80yards from terminus you will see a Hotel Toilets Food Beer Etc and very nice. Or ask a taxi how much, normally they will take you and wait for you same with Blue Eye just come to an agreement on the fare. DO NOT give any money to Gypsy kids or you will be pestered from then on by others. If hungry and want a beer 200Lek for a large draught or a nice cheap meal good varied menu with a very clean toilet go to top of steps you came up for the bus look down and 15 foot on left is Leos OR go to bottom of steps cross road and to Left is Limani good food and Beer next to sea but a bit dear. 2 Supermarkets just get off bus and walk up road with park on right you will come to Conads supermarket for Drinks andCigarettes to take back you are allowed only 1 litre of Gin Vodka Brandy Etc each and only 2 packs of cigarettes or 40cigs each NO MORE the Greeks do not have a sense of humour in customs. You will be save here no problems at allHonest you will be shocked when you compare cost off cigs beer and restaurant food in Saranda compared to Corfu believe me. Nearly everyone takes Euro but ask 1st. Sorry no commas Etc. its my wife who is English teacher hope this helpsyou enjoy yourday.

  78. Thanks for this explanation. We travelled through Ksamil earlier this month and thought that the buildings had collapsed due to bad footings, or an earthquake. We were on a coach from Sarandë to Butrint and the guide on the bus was expounding the wonders of democracy in Albania, and mentioned nothing of the obvious wonky buildings.

    • I’m surprised there are still buildings which haven’t been completely demolished – I haven’t been there for a year or so. When I first saw them in 2011 there were many more along the route from Sarande to Butrint – not just in Ksamil.

  79. Hi ,
    my husband and I are planning a day trip in Albania this coming June 2018,
    Would it be best to book in advance but I cannot find a website that says we will be using the hydrofoil so it would be quicker and we also want to go to Butrint and visit the Blue eye cave. Basically,Saranda,Butrint National park and Blue eye cave as day trip from Corfu(with pick up and drop off from hotel)if possible.
    Which tour operators are best to use and website please?
    As I don’t know how to go about from Saranda to Butrint National park,would it be best to to a package day tour for this.Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
    Best Regards,

    • Sorry for the delay in replying. I don’t think there should be a problem with getting on the hydrofoil in June. It’s the hydrofoil that leaves every day at 09.00. You will have problems doing both Butrint and Blue Eye in the same day trip – they are in opposite directions out of Saranda. I don’t know anything about package trips s I’ve always traveled independently and with less time constraints.
      There’s a local bus to Butrint that leaves from the big tree, which you can see on the right when you get to the road above the port after clearing immigration. It takes about 45 minutes but it’s only once an hour so time could be wasted if you arrive just after a bus has departed.
      As you are tight on time the best bet might be to negotiate a taxi for the both trips. The cost shouldn’t be too prohibitive – how good are your negotiating skills?
      The problem with going to Blue Eye by public transport is that there’s a bout a two kilometer walk each way from the main road so a taxi to take you to the sight itself makes sense.
      You could do a pick and mix – taxi and public transport – but that all alters the time it takes to get from point to point.
      Hope this helps.

    • Be careful on Package Tours the Greeks will charge you 10 Euros each person Saranda port entry tax and give you just a cloakroom tkicket with a number on for a receipt. This 10 Euro port entry tax stopped over 7 years ago its a CON We live in Saranda ask em why the Dolphin doesnt charge it and why you cant pay it when you land, wil they come back with a load of waffle honest.

  80. As a result of stumbling across your wonderful blog site, we are taking the boat from Corfu to Saranda this week to go to Boutrin.

    Can you tell us if there is any significant social realism art in Saranda? We will visit the martyrs’ cemetery in hopes.

    • Hello Gretchen
      Glad to hear you find my posts on Socialist Realism in Albania interesting. This is my post on the Saranda Martyr’s Cemetery. There’s another lapidar, at Manistir, which is at a low point in the hills, between the sea and the lake, about half way along the road from Saranda and Butrint. My post is here.
      All the recent development in the town of Saranda itself has left us with little. However, there’s a nice little sculpture of young girls picking oranges on the sea front promenade. This is between the port where you arrive on the hydrofoil and the small marina which you will see on the right hand side of the bay.
      Hope you have a good time.

  81. Thank you for this article. It is “true to life”, which in this case means that it is true to the real event that has happened in Edinburgh. I enjoyed looking at the pictures, learning about the artists and bits of life mosaic reflected in it.

    Good “true to life” painting is always a little window to the time and place depicted by the artist. It provokes thoughts and emotions, it calls to learn more about the times and peoples that are in the pictures.

    To enjoy text we have to know its language. To enjoy figurative “true to life” art we don’t have to know anything. It is universal. It moves us to learn about who, and what, how and why is there. “True to life” as a style is different from Social Realism.

    Social realism is charging us with ideas of socialism the same as church art is charging us with ideas of christianity. It would be true to life to say that it is still possible to love these kinds of art not sharing the ideas expressed by them. At least it is how I feel about it. There is so much that they say about real people, their eternal struggle, inspiration, motivation…