Presidenti i Republikës së Shqipërisë

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Speech of the President of the Republic in the City of Durrës

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Honored guests and citizens of Durrës,

Today, we gather to honor history as the best way to, by honoring and understanding the past, better project the future we desire. The future of Albania, a country we know its past, live its present, and want its future to be as bequeathed by the fathers of our common homeland.

Durrës, with its grand and extraordinary history of ancient Dyrrachium, of Durrës the port, is that part of Albania where the breeze and inspiration of the West always blow.

Durrës is the first city of our Renaissance, where 111 years ago, on November 26, 1912, the proud flag of the glorious Kastrioti was raised – a sacred act and a reminder of the most precious values, just like blood and language, just like countless battles and sacrifices made on this land and for this soil.

Honored citizens of Durrës,

We will always be grateful to the citizens of the Durrës region, courageous patriots in challenging efforts to open Albanian schools and preserve the Albanian language, national activists with their involvement as part of the national movement for freedom and independence.                   

In a time of political, administrative, and social chaos, and lack of clarity for the future, the people of Durrës, with maturity and wisdom, became the forerunners of the most important event for our nation that would occur only two days later in Vlorë.

Durrës is the first city that welcomed Ismail Qemali and the distinguished patriots accompanying him on their journey to realize the dream and sacred mission of declaring Albania’s independence.

With the raising of the flag on November 26, 1912, the journey toward the creation of the independent state of Albania began. Thus, Durrës demonstrated that Albania would be formed, and no division, betrayal, or intrigue could stop the creation of a modern state of a historic nation in Europe.

On this anniversary, we respectfully and gratefully honor the distinguished figures of Durrës for their patriotic activity, courage, and vision for a free and independent Albanian state: the first Mayor of Durrës, Mr. Hafiz Ali Podgorica; the representatives of Durrës in the Assembly of Vlorë, Dom Nikollë Kaçorri, Jahja Ballhysa, Mustafa Basha, and Abaz Çelkupa; the patriots of Durrës, Agostin Sereqi, Sotir Veveçka, Sulejman Kadiu, Stefan, and Marie Kaçulini, among others.

The patriotic clubs “Vllaznia” and “Bashkimi” were witnesses to the fact of how connected the people of Durrës were with the Albanian patriotic movement.

I want to express my gratitude and recognition to the “Council of the Villages of Durrës” of that time, which, on the seal of the municipal council of Durrës, placed the double-headed eagle.

By honoring these personalities who fought for justice, equality, and freedom, and by giving them our full gratitude, we instill greater courage and dignity in ourselves.

By respecting our roots, we better understand what needs to be built further upon these foundations of blood and dignity.

Dear Citizens of Durrës,

November 26th is also a day to recommit ourselves to the values of compassion, empathy, and solidarity. It is a day to reaffirm our commitment to building a world that is fairer and more equitable for all.

Four years ago, this city and its residents faced one of the most challenging natural disasters our country has experienced in recent decades.

The human values of this city and our nation, such as humanity, solidarity, engagement, mobilization, and extraordinary effort, helped us overcome the aftermath of that disaster more quickly. Today, four years later, let us respectfully remember the victims of the earthquake of November 26th.

Dear Citizens of Durrës,

This day also serves as an opportunity for us to look towards the future with hope and determination. Today, let us remember the lessons of the past and use them to guide our journey in the present and the future.

Durrës is the historic gateway of Albania and our nation to Europe, and it will remain so in the future, as our challenges become even more significant, as we become part of the large European family.

Durrës, like a few other urban centers in Albania, has been Europe even when the whole of Albania was under the dark, monotonous, and despairing shadow of the East, as it has been the first and main port of the West in Albania.

Your city has always known how to make the right choices, preserving its unique character: the interweaving of historical and cultural heritage with development dynamics. Durrës is one of the greatest treasures of our cultural heritage.

The historic Durrës should preserve its character, and the new should respect and harmonize with it.

In Durrës, significant investments and challenging urban projects are underway, which are expected to create new employment opportunities, stimulate economic development, boost tourism, and enhance the well-being of the citizens of Durrës.

Durrës is among the most important cities in Albania.

Its geographical position and geo-strategic importance make it so. This importance is not only tied to the extraordinary history of this city and the Albanians living in five states in the Balkans but is closely related to our common future, the future of the Albanian nation.

Corridor 8, linking the East to the West, along with major infrastructure projects, the development of modern tourism, accompanied by connecting bridges, makes Durrës the primary gateway for Albanians to their European future.

Durrës is the pride of Albania, a beacon of ancient history full of light on this side of the Adriatic, and is also the unquestionable tomorrow of our modern history.

Let us together celebrate this blessed day!

Happy celebration to everyone!