The History and population in Theth

Year 1921 Theth

Children Year 1921 Theth

The first official mention of Theth is in a document of 1485 coming from Shkodra, when the village numbered seven houses. In the sixteenth century, during the Ottoman invasion, the ownership of the valley was transferred from the Sandjak of Shkodra to Peja. Today it belongs to the district of Shkodra.
Most Theth families can be traced back to the legendary figure of Ded Nika, who is thought to have lived nine to twelve generations earlier. Collective memory sustains the belief that migration to Theth from the lower Shala valley took place around 300 to 350 years ago in order to avoid conversion to Islam. Although the individual hamlets of Theth do not belong exclusively to a single fis (clan or large family), each is dominated by one such family which owns the surrounding Alpine pastures. In most of these hamlets operated a communal mill.
Durham described Theth as a bajrak of some 180 houses and also observed that it was almost free from the tradition of blood feud (known in the Albanian language as Gjakmarrja) which so blighted other parts of the Albanian highlands.

When the road to Theth opened in 1936, it heralded a new era for the entire region. Theth acquired its own electricity supply in 1966. The tourism complex (Campeggio), with its well-built hotel and numerous wooden bungalows dating from 1968, once afforded many Albanian families the opportunity to holiday in natural surroundings; since the unrest of 1991, however, it lies in ruins. Much is being done to revive tourism in the region, but this is currently restricted to eco-friendly bed & breakfast tourism in private accommodation.
By 1991 Theth was made up of nine hamlets with a total of 280 houses and formed the geographic centre of the Dukagjin region. The population was estimated at that time to be around 7000 inhabitants. But the school had difficulty finding teachers on account of the remote location, and the lack of teaching staff was a major reason why families with children migrated to the towns and cities or moved abroad. This drift towards the cities has become a major problem since the political watershed, leading to the state of virtual depopulation we find today and the serious consequences this has brought with it. Nowadays only a few families spend the entire year in the valley. Most do not sell their houses, coming – if at all – to spend a few days or weeks during the summer holidays.