Saranda


In southern Albania along the Adriatic Sea and about 15 kilometers by sea from the Greek island of Corfu is the resort Saranda. In 1934, the Romanian historian Nicolae Iorga (1871 – 1940) received a small territory in the city as a gift from the Albanian king for his interpretation and efforts of Albanian history. Iorga in turn gave half the territory to the Romanian state, which thus gained access to the port of Saranda. From the port, the Romanians had access to the Mediterranean. However, the port never became a strategic point for Romanian shipping either economically or militarily.

In 1937, the Romanian state founded the Romanian concession in Saranda to administer the territory. The Romanian concession consisted only of civilian personnel and there was no military presence during the three years it existed. In 1937, Italian forces occupied Albania and thus also the Romanian concession. It continued to exist without any real power until 1940, when it ceased to be resurrected between 1942 and 1944. After the end of the war in 1945, it was never reinstated. The concession was never to any political or military concern of either party. When Italy occupied Albania, the Romanians chose not to act. Squeezed between two great powers, the Soviet Union and Germany (Italian allies), they let it all depend.

Current status: Preserved with monument (2018).

Location: 39°52'25.81" N 20°00'30.59" E (harbour).

Get there: Walk.

My comment:

Saranda tries to establish itself as a resort and can be easily reached by boat from the Greek island of Corfu. There are also a number of hotels along the promenade and the price is lower than on the Greek islands. I have not been able to determine where the Romanian concession was located. Either it was in a building just above the promenade or in a house about three kilometers north of Saranda which is now a hotel. Iorga is still a respected person in Albania and along the promenade there is a bust of him.

Follow up in books: Catherwood, Christopher: The Balkans in World War II (2003).