Labova e Kryqit

The journey to the site will take up to 40 min.

A minibus or 4 x 4 cars are advised, as the road faces difficulties in some parts.

Take the road to Libohova that runs east from the main highway south of Gjirokastra. Follow this surfaced road, and then just before the town of Libohova take the left turn along the unpaved road to Suhë.   Follow this track, which is generally good, and at the first main junction take the right hand turn and follow this uphill.  The road has two branches, which then rejoin again at the top of the hill, in the centre.  Labovë e Kryqit is a few kilometres away, after the road regains a paved surface and enters the village.

The church is one of the most interesting monuments in Albania, the church of Labova, which is devoted to Saint Mary. The church of Labova e Kryqit is one of the oldest in Albania and once contained a holy relic believed to be a fragment of the true cross. It was from this relic that the village took its name. The relic was stolen during the civil unrest in the early 1990s.  The building is typically Byzantine with a high central cupola with nave and aisles arranged in a cruciform plan. A later narthex provides the principal entrance.  There are nine distinct levels of frescos painting on the interior walls. The church that we see today is essentially a creation of the 13th century, during the time of the Despots of Epirus, although an original foundation may go back to AD 527-565 and the reign of Emperor Justinian. The keys are held by the custodian: a local who lives across the street.

No entrance fees applied, but donations and contributions are welcomed.