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Notes on the Geography of Kosovo: Prishtina: Photo 14

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The Albanian Ur-hero, Skenderbeg (1405-68).  His image is everywhere as an icon of Albanian independence.  Still, there are ironies here: his name is a corruption of Iskender Bey, or Lord Alexander, and was given to him by the Ottomans, among whom he lived as the hostage son of an Albanian leader.  He served as an Ottoman general before turning back to his homeland, turning against the Ottomans, and keeping them at bay for decades.  At the time, Albania was Christian, and Skenderbeg was helped by popes and others.  That changed after 1480, when the Ottomans conquered Albania and converted its people, who forget or overlook that their hero led a Christian nation.  The bottom line: ethnicity trumps religion.

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