The main square of the Albanian town of Laç will be renamed after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan following his Monday (17 January) visit.
In Laç, Turkey has funded the construction of 524 new apartments following the town’s devastation by the 26 November 2019 earthquake that left dozens of families homeless. Turkey invested some €45 million in the project.
While small, Laç is a well-known destination for Albanian believers. The town is home to St. Anthony Church known locally as the Laç Church or “Shna Ndou.” Thousands of people, regardless of their denomination and religion, participate in the annual pilgrimage to the site, walking up the mountain where the famous catholic church is located to give their prayers.
The decision has sparked some reactions given Albania’s complicated history to the Ottoman Empire and the fact that Erdogan’s visit coincides with the 554th anniversary of Skanderbeg’s death, Albania’s national hero. Skanderbeg is often portrayed as a defender of the Christian faith against the Ottoman Empire.
Earlier today, President Ilir Meta visited a memorial to Skanderbeg in Lezhe from where, in his speech, he lauded Skanderbeg as being instrumental to the creation of the European identity of the Albanian people.