The capital of Mirdita, the residence of the Kapidan or head of the great and well-known tribe of the Mirditi, the seat of the bishop-abbot of Mirdita. A series of groups of houses, located around various streams that flow into the Small Fandi river, make up the inhabited area of Oroshi. The oldest inhabited place seems to be Gryke Oroshit at the bottom of the valley where the ancient ‘serai’ or palace of Bib Doda Pascia was built in 1833 and partly destroyed by the Turks in 1877; here is also the ancient house of the collateral branch of the family to which the current head of Mirdita belongs, now home to a boarding school. In Fage, on a hillock at the foot of the Holy Mountain, the house of Kapidan Gjon Marka Gjoni and below Fage, in Bulsare, the house of the bishop of Oroshi. On the other side of the valley is the residence of the bishop-abbot of Mirdita with the modern church of S. Alessandro“.

“Localita, chiese, fiumi, monti, e toponimi varii di un’antica carta dell’Albania Settentrionale” by Ermanno Armao, Console d’Italia, 1933

Since its destruction in 1945, the Sarajet has remained untouched; a silent symbol of the bravery and sacrifices of the Markagjoni (Gjomarkaj) family. The historical importance of this symbol is felt and recognized all throughout Albania, but mostly in the North, where it sits. The Mirditore people are fiercely proud of its Kapidan and its history and hold the sacred land where the estate sat as holy ground.

Many pilgrimages have been made there to reflect on the passing of the heroes of this family. The last century’s losses are still being felt today. Those who fought and ultimately paid with their lives or internment in Albanian concentration camps during the communist regime will never be forgotten.

Kapidan Gjon Marka Gjoni (1888-1968), leader of Mirdita, forced to flee his homeland in 1944 leaving behind his sons: Kapidan Mark Gjon Marku, who led the resistance from 1944-1946 when he perished in Kthelle. Kapidan Ndue Gjon Marku, who led the resistance fighters in the accursed mountains of Mirdita for five months, beginning May 1944. Kapidan Sander (Llesh) Gjon Marku, who stepped in for his brother Mark and continued the fight against the invading forces until 1947 when he was ambushed and killed in Mungje. Kapidan Dede Gjon Marku, who was imprisoned for over 15 years and then interned in concentration camps until democracy in 1991. Kapidan Nikoll Gjon Marku, who was arrested with the rest of the family in 1945 and sent to the camps in Berat and Tepelene, from where he successfully escaped in 1949. Dava, Mrika, Marta, Bardha, Kristina, Celestina and Kapidan Gjon Mark Gjomarkaj, all endured decades in Albanian concentration camps, from 1945 to 1991.

The Sarajet and its land legally belongs to the heirs of Kapidan Gjon Marka Gjoni, yes, but before God and the watchful eye of the Eagle, in heart and mind, it belongs to all of Mirdita. To all of the heroes and followers of its Kapidan.

The ruins of the estate lie in silence, waiting to be resurrected and brought to life once again as a symbol of courage, honor and

pride in its history. The people of Mirdita deserve to have the estate of their beloved leader restored to its grandeur and be allowed

to pilgrimage there once again with their heads held high and proudly declare that they are Mirditore, that they respected and

loved their Kapidan. Nobody can take that away from them.

Upon complete restoration, the Markagjoni family will open the estate to the public. It will later be placed in a charitable foundation with the intention to further engage culture, history and heritage through the enjoyment of its surrounding gardens and guided tours of the house, along with hosted events that promote the estate’s history and legacy and to advance the education of the public regarding Mirdita, with particular emphasis on the Sarajet e Kapidan Gjon Marka Gjonit.


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