As you all know, I think Albania is one of the most, if not the most beautiful country in the world. It doesn’t matter if this is right or wrong, but it should matter that someone, a foreigner feels that it is home to such outstanding natural beauty.
In terms of its terrain, there is little that this country does not have- vast mountain ranges capped with snow, canyons and rivers that are perfect for rafting, luscious forests and wetlands full of flamingos, rolling plains of fertile farmland, and of course, mile upon mile of unspoilt golden sands and crystal waters.
Some of the most precious parts of the country are its fragile, natural ecosystems including rivers, lakes, and of course canyons.
Located near the town of Gramsh, Holta Canyon is an area of outstanding natural beauty as well as a tourist destination. It attracts thousands of visitors every year who visit it to swim, hike, walk and explore the area. As well as being home to incredible views, the canyon also houses caves that contain fascinating rock formations and waterfalls. The area will now be completely destroyed by the building of two hydropower plants that were signed off by the former Minister of Energy, Damian Gjiknuri.
This means that not only have the local people lost a beautiful place to spend the long, hot, summer, but tourists that increase in number every year, have lost yet another special part of Albania for them to explore,
Last Saturday, a group of protesters including Albanian, English, and American citizens took part in a protest to highlight the sadness they felt at losing this beautiful spot.
Whilst hydropower is a clean and renewable source of energy, many are concerned that its impact on rivers and surrounding areas is too severe and that large swathes of the country will be lost and ruined beyond repair.
Over the last few weeks, there have been protests in Serbia and Kosovo where concerned citizens have amassed in their thousands to protest hydropower plants and I hoped that more would show their support here. Let us appreciate the beauty of the world around us and the gift that nature has bestowed upon us before it is too late.
Albania is just a truly incredible country and we should be looking at other forms of power such as solar, to ensure that our lakes, rivers, and countrysides stay intact and enjoyable for generations to come.Follow The Balkanista!