Koplik

Administrative Unit Koplik – Malësi e Madhe

The administrative unit “Qender” (which mean “Center”) has an area of 34.12 km2 with a population of 6,300 inhabitants. In addition to Koplik, which is also the capital of the whole Municipality of Malesi e Madhe, the villages of the administrative unit “Qender” are: Bogiq-Polvarë, Dobër, Jubicë, Kamicë-Flakë, Kalldrun, Koplik i Siperm.

Originally the town of Koplik was called Cupernik, then Copernik, after that Cuplik and finally “Koplik”, as it is known today. The city of Koplik, which extends over an area of 9.3 km²,  is located 17 km from the city of Shkoder, 18 km from the border point of Hani i Hotit with Montenegro and 116km from Tirana. Koplik is located in the “Mbishkodra” plain (Upper-Shkoder), which is bounded to the east by the Malësia e Madhe mountains and to the west by the lake of Shkoder. The entire area in which the city of Koplik is located, is part of the basin of the Shkodra Lake and in particular in the southern part of the delta of Përroit të Thatë (Dry water spring).

The history of Koplik reportedly dates back to 2000 years ago. In 1800, the inhabitants of this area began to grow tobacco, which is confirmed by the “Kopliku 1” culture which continues to be cultivated today. During the years 1924-1948, Kopliku was the prefecture of Malësia e Madhe while In 1992 it was declared a municipality.

In 1792, the Koplik region was given as a timar (tax at the time of the Ottoman Empire) to a person by the sultan’s decree. French cartographer and geographer Guillame Lejean described it this way when he moved to Koplik:

… we embarked on a path full of shadows and stopped in the village of Koplik, the capital of a tribe of 4,500 inhabitants, once all Catholic, but about half embraced Islam. They are a bit Orthodox Muslims, it is true, because they have maintained a great devotion to Saint Nicholas and Saint George and light many candles in their honor.

A historical event worth mentioning was the so called Koplik War (1920) against the Yugoslav military intervention in the Shkodra region, which aimed to detach another part of the Albanian territory and force the Albanian government to pursue a pro-Yugoslav policy. From 26 July to 21 August, Yugoslav forces occupied several areas in the Shkodra plateaus and reached Koplik. Due to the counterattack of Albanian forces, the attackers were forced to withdraw to the 1913 border. On August 21, the Yugoslav forces launched a new offensive and occupied Kelmendi, Kastrati, Shkreli and Koplik. Faced with the determined resistance of the Albanian forces and isolated in the international arena, the Yugoslav government was forced to withdraw.