The Bringing of the Bones: The Man

Journeying up the southern Albanian coast from Saranda, the traveler passes through two small villages. Nivica is situated in the mountains, while Shen Vasil, halfway down into the valley, seems fastened to the slope by a hidden longing. Its one- and two-story rustic houses cling all the way to the top of Mount Plakoto. These contiguous villages traditionally have identified themselves as one entity and have long been distinguished for the bravery and non-submission of their residents. Centuries ago, the inhabitants ambushed the Ottoman armies, marching to Himara, farther up the coast. Here these symbolically named “Gates of the Coast” were barricaded against the invaders, because to venture further would mean facing the wrath of Shevasjote and Niviciote.