Although seemingly a city of the communist era, Maliq it can be considered the richest place in Albania during the ancient period up to the Middle Ages and the most important area of the Dasarts. This is confirmed by archaeological sources belonging to all periods of life development. Maliqi is the city with the second largest hangar of Albania in production and many treasures of prehistory. It stretches through the national road Pogradec-Korça and is a destination that can be done within a day.
At the entrance of Maliqi, on the right, without crossing the river over Devoll, life used to boil. Here is hidden the prehistoric settlement of Maliqi, one of the places with more data from the Albanian prehistory and includes the study of the late Neolithic, copper and bronze. Otherwise this prehistoric settlement was called Palafi, with the style of dwellings raised from the ground, with wooden columns and walls made of mud and tree branches.
Archaeologist Florenc Cenolli shows that the prehistoric settlement of Maliq is multi-layered and is related to the Neolithic, Copper and Iron Ages. In the present-day city of Maliqi, buildings built in Russian times still retain their former glory, the streets are clean and the people polite. Decades ago, the whole field swam in the water and after the Liberation the swamp was said to create a large food barn. Then the city was built, and then the sugar factory.
There were many political prisoners who took part in the drying of the swamp, among them the linguist Arshi Pipa, Dhimitër Pasko, known as Mitrush Kuteli, Pashko Gjeci, Father Thoma Shkurti, etc. The beginnings of the city belong to 1946, with the drying up of the swamp and further with the arrival of volunteers living in some makeshift buildings. The construction of the sugar factory gave the industrial direction to the city and after that the construction of the first buildings of the city that were according to the Russian model started.
Even today Maliqi is kept for the production of numerous agricultural crops and apples. Today, the agricultural field of Maliq of 134 thousand hectares occupies the main weight of production after the field of Myzeqe. One of the ancient forts is that of Kloça or as it is otherwise known ‘Shadow of the Raven’. It is located 2 km south of Maliq, at an altitude of 1250 meters above sea level.
At the top of the hill are parts of the castle, which had an area of 18 hectares and belongs to late antiquity. Only two damaged tracts are preserved from the protective walls and the same amount is being damaged by illegal treasure hunters. From there the Maliqi field appears in the palm of your hand. Another destination not to be missed is the Pheasant Forest, a natural monument that fascinates with its grandeur, which has turned into a tourist attraction for locals and foreigners.
About 14 kilometers northwest of the city of Korça is the small town of Maliq, known mainly for sugar production during the years of dictatorship. However small, this city and its surroundings can offer a lot for visitors looking for a relaxing weekend.
Maliqi as a city was built after the Second World War by the communist regime and the assistance of the Soviets. The urban area, near a swampy area, was thought to house the hundreds of workers that the “Sugar Factory”, the starch factory, or the alcohol factory would have.
The Maliqi swamp area has one of the most tragic stories of the persecution of the communist dictatorship. In 1946, for delays in the realization of the reclamation of the swamp, the regime fabricated accusations of “sabotage” against the engineers who were in charge of the works.
At least seven engineers educated abroad were included in the so-called “sabotage group” of which four engineers Zyrika Mano, Kujtim Beqiri, Abdyl Sharra and Vasil Mano were sentenced to death while Aleks Vasili, Mirush Përmeti and Hans Vala were sentenced to death. 30 years in prison.
Today Maliqi has little memory of this event, general young people have learned from the past as he shows with nostalgia the cultural activities that took place in the Palace “Dhimitër Orgocka”, destroyed by a fire a few years ago. Despite the difficulties, Islam Kondi, a former colleague of renowned artist Dhimitër Orgocka, says young people continue to hold the monodrama festival in a rented setting.
However the city has a promenade and next to it a very attractive forest for those looking for a quiet weekend. More precisely about 4 kilometers east of the city, in the former swampy area, today lies a forest, which was planted in the 50s as part of the land reclamation project.
Marcel Nazifi, director of the Directorate of Forests and Pastures in the Municipality of Maliq, points out that in the beginning the forest was conceived as a hunting reserve where the pheasant was mainly bred. In fact in 1956 about 500 pheasant birds were imported from Romania and a few years later in this area began their experimental growth with scientific methods and later natural.
In 2002 it was turned into a natural monument and now bears the name “Pheasant Forest”. The forest is about 50 hectares with spruce, linden, willow and poplar and birds such as pheasants and animals such as rabbits or deer can be seen in it.
New Bread Feast
As every year, Maliqi organizes the festival of “New Bread”, a holiday which has its origins much earlier, when the inhabitants of the Maliqi field and farmers organized the harvest festivals in the fields with crops.
In a special atmosphere, in the “heart” of the Pheasant forest, the inhabitants of the Maliq plain and not only celebrated the wheat festival with songs and dances. The special of this evening was the fair with wheat products, a tradition that malignant housewives fanatically preserve.
The tradition of this holiday, which over the years has attracted the attention of visitors, will continue to encourage farmers to cultivate the basic crop, that of wheat. Wheat, along with sugar beet, but also cereals, occupy the largest areas of the Maliq plain.
Maliqi field is one of the largest grain barns in the country, where currently the area planted in this area goes up to 3,200 hectares.