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113th anniversary of the Albanian alphabet unification in the Congress of Manastir

  • 11/15/2021 1:17 PM
113th anniversary of the Albanian alphabet unification in the Congress of Manastir

 The alphabet of the Albanian language was unified 113 years ago in the Congress of Manastir. The Congress of Manastir was a national congress, which was held in Bitola from November 14 to November 22, 1908. The Congress of Manastir is rightly considered the most important national assembly in the political and cultural history of Albanians at the beginning of the century XX.

Today, after 113 years, this Congress is known and will continue to be known as the Alphabet Congress, the Congress that made a turn for Albanians and the Albanian language, the Congress from which the unique Albanian alphabet was formed.

The congress was held by the "Bashkimi" society in the house of Fehim Zavalani, where the society's headquarters was.

This congress was held to examine some important issues of the national movement, in the first place it was important to consider the issue of the alphabet of the Albanian language.

This congress was attended by 150 delegates, coming from all over Albania, as well as from the Albanian communities in Romania, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, America, etc. Mit'hat Frashëri, the son of Abdyl Frashëri, was elected President of the Congress. Mit'hat Frashëri was at that time the editor of two magazines published in Thessaloniki: Liria and Dituria.

Parashqevi Qiriazi, a teacher at the Girl's School in Korça, was elected secretary of the commission. Grigori Cilka, from Korça, and 11 other members were elected Vice President.

This Congress was attended by Albanians of all religious communities, such as Muslims, Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants,intelectuals, united for a great national cause.

The speech delivered by the Catholic priest Gjergj Fishta, touched all the participants as much as a priest of the order hugged him in front of everyone. The demand of the Albanian nationalists was that the Albanian language be written neither in Arabic letters nor in Greek letters, but in the Latin alphabet. The Congress decided by unanimous vote to set aside the Istanbul alphabet, and to write the Albanian language only with the Latin alphabet with 36 letters, the alphabet used today.

It was also decided that after two years a second Congress would be held in Ioannina, to examine orthographic and literary problems, as well as to make efforts to merge the Gheg and Tosk dialects into a unified Albanian language.

The Congress decided to set up the Albanian Printing House in Bitola under the leadership of Gjergj Qiriazi, which quickly became known throughout the country as a distributor of Albanian books and newspapers.

A prominent participant in the Alphabet Congress was the scholar, poet and patriot from Shkodra, Ndre Mjeda. Eight of his thirteen proposals were approved by the Monastery Congress.

/Klara Ruci/