Dedaj – Lohe e Sipërme “the upper Lohe”– Prelnikaj – Qafë-Gradë – Repisht

Dedaj – Lohe e Sipërme “the upper Lohe”– Prelnikaj – Qafë-Gradë – Repisht

 

Distance:               11.5 Km

Relief                     min: 372 m / max: 769m

Duration:              7:30 Hours

Difficulty:             Easy +

This path includes Dedaj (460 m), Lohe and Sipërme (378 m), Prelnikaj (475 m), Qafë-Gradë (435 m) and Repisht (743 m).

Distances:

Dedaj – Lohe and Sipërme: 3 km;

Lohe e Sipërme – Prelnikaj: 2km;

Prelnikaj – Gafë-Gradë: 3km;

Qafë-Gradë – Repisht: 3.5km.

In total the path is 11.5 km long.

 

The path starts in Dedaj where the main road splits (WP – 1): one branch leads to Boga and the other to Razëm. We head towards the Sterkunji district of Dedaj in an unpaved road between the properties cultivated with sage, lavender and juniper. In front of us, the view on the panorama of the mountain of Stërkunja and beyond the lake of Shkodra.

We walk along the Kocaj district and at a crossroad (WP – 2), we head south and walk until we reach the Qarri i Kocajve – “The Kocaj oak” (WP – 3). Qarri i Kocajve is an old and lonely oak tree in the middle of the field. Next to it, there is a cemetery and around the planted lots of lavender.

On the way to Prelnikaj there are many cross streets due to the scattered houses. (WP – 4) we continue south towards Lohe, with another crossroad (WP – 5), at which we head south-east and arrive at upper Lohe. In the center of Lohe (WP – 6), we find the Church, the source of water, and an artificial pond for cattle. At (WP – 7), westbound the road connects to the main road. We go southeast to continue the hike and meet another branch (WP – 8), where we head towards Prelnikaj.

We walk along the road and on both sides, we see secular chestnut trees (WP – 9). We turn south-west and enter a narrow path with stone walls on both sides. We arrive at the Prelnikaj church (WP – 10). It is an old church, built in 1800, rectangular with high stone walls and large windows, covering a surface of approximately 200 m². Before the advent of the communist system, the Prelnikaj church functioned as a place of prayer for the inhabitants of the neighborhoods of Prelnikaj and Ulnikaj. After communism it was alienated and transformed into a warehouse. The church also enjoys a beautiful view of Lake of Shkodra and the surrounding area. Next to it, there is a cemetery and not far from here, we can find the houses of Prelnikaj (WP – 11).

This neighborhood once had about 20 houses with families that lived here. Today there is only one house left and, in fact, our path crosses the land of this house, through a small wooden door. The owner of the house was questioned about possible tourists crossing his private property and he replied: “You can pass as many times as you like, no problem for me“. Perhaps in the future he will also offer refreshments, coffee etc to visitors.

We walk along the road until we see the houses of Qafa Grada below us. From the viewpoint (WP – 12) we have an excellent view of the houses of Qafa Grada and the surrounding area. 162º south of Qafë Grada is Ballexa, the fortress of Balshaj. To the southeast is the Peak of Maranaj (1576 m) and to the east the summit of Bishkaz (1869 m). Next to it, there are the 3 Majat e Bukura – “the 3 beautiful peaks” and Maja e Shiut – “The peak of Rain” (1932 m). We go down and pass next to the houses of the Aliaj district in Qafe-Gradë.

At the crossroad (WP – 13), we go north-east to the center of Qafë Gradë and in towards Repisht. As we head south-west towards the Cave of Pigeons, we walk for about 400 meters up the path that gradually goes uphill among the colorful flowers. We arrive at the entrance of the cave (WP – 14).

The Cave of the Pigeons is 413 m above sea level. It is a rather interesting karstic cave, narrow on the surface, and wide at the top and inside. Its position is stretched from top to bottom with medium slope and its bottom is flat. Inside there are several stalagmites of various shapes, which change shapes according to the perspective they are looked at. But the cave doesn’t end there: as we enter the right wing, another gallery continues flat.

 

Residents of the area say that this tunnel could be connected to another cave located in the same massif and height, but on the other side, that of Prelnikaj. They also say that there are many bats in this gallery. We go down carefully because the moss and humidity have made the ground quite slippery. The change of temperatures is felt a lot once inside the cave. It should also be said that many stalagmites have been damaged by numerous careless visitors, thus endangering the beauty of the cave. Visitors should take care of this attraction. Access without criteria must be preserved and limited, because this represents a very delicate environment.

We leave the cave and return from the same direction which we came from. In Qafe-Grade we continue through the one-storey houses built in stone, with whitewashed walls and red-tiled roofs. All houses, approximately 130, have the same style, which makes Qafe-Grade very interesting. Paths protected with stone walls surround the cultivated land. The main income comes from livestock and agriculture. Here, all kinds of fruit trees are cultivated: Cherries, white and black mulberries, pears, chickpeas, figs, grapes, plums, walnuts, wild blackberries, hazelnuts, walnuts, etc. Another source of revenues comes from the sale of chestnuts.

While walking, we come across another interesting point in Qafe-Grade, the chestnut massif (WP – 15). You will be amazed, and you will see centuries-old chestnuts, large in diameter. Below them are two giant tombs, with stone slabs over 2 m long atop. Residents don’t know how ancient they are, but, if asked, they respond by saying, “We found them here and our ancestors found them here. A little further down is the place where the church was once situated, but there is nothing left of it, at least not visible.” They refer to the Church of Shëndhiu “Shenilia”, with old cemetery nearby. In fact, the grass it is possible to spot some gravestones without any note.

In the place where the church was thought to be, we can see now some excavations. The reason for the excavations is an old story, about a priest who, many years ago, had hidden the gold in the cemetery and it would now be covered.

We continue north-east towards Repisht: the path becomes steeper and part of the path is stripped of trees. We stop and rest in the two sturgeon trees (WP – 17). A place to relax and a viewpoint of the surrounding area. There are 3 km left to reach Repisht.

 

Latitude and longitude WayPoints

 

1*  WP 1     N42° 17′ 22.3″ E19° 31′ 48.3″   462 m   Star of the path to Qafë-Gradë

2*  WP 2     N42° 16′ 30.5″ E19° 31′ 37.3″   403 m   Crossroad, south – Qarri i Kocajve

3*  WP 3     N42° 16′ 23.9″ E19° 31′ 38.1″   397 m   Qarri i Kocajve

4*  WP 4     N42° 16′ 19.1″ E19° 31′ 41.3″   392 m   Crossroad, south – Upper Lohe

5*  WP 5     N42° 16′ 11.1″ E19° 31′ 43.6″   381 m   Crossroad, south-east Upper Lohe

6*  WP 6     N42° 15′ 55.0″ E19° 31′ 56.5″   378 m   Upper Lohe center, water source

7*  WP 7     N42° 15′ 53.2″ E19° 31′ 54.9″   373 m   Crossroad, south-east – Prelnikaj

8*  WP 8     N42° 15′ 40.4″ E19° 32′ 04.1″   426 m   Crossroad, south-east – Prelnikaj

9*  WP 9      N42° 15′ 21.4″ E19° 32′ 13.2″   476 m   Ancient chestnut tree

10*  WP 10   N42° 15′ 06.5″ E19° 32′ 04.4″   477 m   Church of Prelnikaj

11*  WP 11     N42° 14′ 51.7″ E19° 32′ 07.8″   454 m   Prelinkaj

12*  WP 12     N42° 14′ 40.3″ E19° 32′ 15.8″   470 m   Observation Point

13*  WP 13     N42° 14′ 33.3″ E19° 32′ 22.1″   388 m   Crossroad, JP – Cave of Pigeons

14*  WP 14     N42° 14′ 31.5″ E19° 32′ 08.3″   423 m   Cave of Pigeons

15*  WP 15     N42° 14′ 47.2″ E19° 33′ 06.9″   443 m   Chestnut Massif & Cemetery

16*  WP 16    N42° 14′ 48.7″ E19° 33′ 10.1″    441 m   Ancient Cemetery, Church of Shëndhiu “there are not even ruins remains”

17*  WP 17     N42° 15′ 06.4″ E19° 33′ 22.1″   618 m   Break at the 2 sturgeons

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