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50 Ways to Make Some Money

The death of communism in Albania brought a flourishing market economy to life just as it did across Central Europe and Russia. On the streets of Tirana people are buying and selling, trading goods and services in predictable, or sometimes novel, ways. The shops are the most obvious expression of this. The streets are lined with little stores selling almost everything you could want. Freed from the choking grip of state bureaucracy Albanians are now at liberty to buy whatever they can afford. No matter how absurd the demand, someone will create the supply. Hence the preponderance of shoe stores in this city of muddy streets and torn up footpaths. Especially outlandish is the fashion for high heeled white boots - about as impractical a style of footware as could be imagined. Dotted across the city are the market stalls, sometimes just one person selling bananas, elsewhere a whole street lined with sellers of fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, fish and spices. Those who cannot bring thei…

Petrela Castle

This is Petrela Castle near Tirana. The site has been fortified since the 4th century, but the oldest surviving parts are from the 13th century. Today the castle is a restaurant where you can enjoy lunch while taking in the views.





















The Assyrian Levies in Albania

It turns out that British Commandos weren’t the only allied forces involved in the raid on Sarande in 1944. Landing with the British were 200 men from the 1st Parachute Squadron of the Assyrian Levies. The Levies were attached to the RAF and came into existence as a result of the Paris peace conference of 1919. Britain decided to try and maintain control in its mandated Middle Eastern territories through air power. As a result the RAF recruited the Levies – who were also known as the RAF levies – from among the local population, primarily the Assyrians. They, rather than regular British troops, provided security for airbases and troops on the ground.The 1st Parachute Squadron was made up of roughly 150 Assyrians and 50 Kurds. In the picture below, taken in 1945 the Albanian flag is clearly visible in the front row.As far as I know they landed with the Commandos on ‘Sugar Beach’, north of Sarande, and were then shipped to a southern landing point known as ‘Parachute Beach’.The Levies at…