Friday, 22 August 2008

Simaku broadcast on Deutschlandradio in Cologne

Fjala e Lire - Free Speech

Frank Kämpfer (translated by Mark Hutchinson)

Thomas Simaku's CD was recently reviewed on Die Neue Platte programme of Deutschlandradio in Cologne. Here Mark Hutchinson translates the article, Avantgarde und Ethnologie vereint, by its music editor-in-chief Frank Kämpfer.

Avantgarde and ethnology combined - Compositions from East and South-East Europe

[Thomas Simaku, Due Sotto-Voci, CD NAXOS 8.570428, LC 05537, Take 02]

Pointillist in its concentration or copiously expansive - expressive versus frail and delicate - sometimes clear, present and immediate, and sometimes like noise, coming out of three-dimensional space and as if from another age. It is barely conceivable that two voices, accompanying and contrasting one another, and each laden with different associations, are both played by one and the same bow. Thomas Simaku calls his Due Sotto-Voci per Violino Solo a 'song with accompaniment' - he sees the string instrument as a singer who can sing in two distinct voices.

Anyone from the Balkans who is familiar with the still active folk music tradition there knows what voices are capable of. Simaku was born in Albania in 1958 and undertook intensive ethnomusicological studies in the south, near the Greek border, at the start of the 80s. Like a substrate from that time, musical traces from that same region can be found in his recent works. Not, however, in the form of crude, picture-postcard clichés and quotations, but in a far more structural manner - as an aesthetic possibility, as the never-ending attempt to unify the avant-garde and the ethnic, and in this way to find a personal compositional language.

The two string quartets and the four pieces for solo strings which are brought together in Simaku's first Naxos CD point in this direction. Simaku's idiom combines avant-gardism and modality in a manner all its own. Sheer noise and quarter-tone scales intermingle to create wholly unique colours. The London-based Kreutzer Quartet bring these textures most enchantingly to life, whether in the form of the three soliloquies - which take hold of the three quartet instruments in turn, with plentiful interconnections between them - or the quartets, which draw, for example, on the ancient Balkan musical technique of bourdon. This model, passed down from southern Albanian folk music, is characterised by long sustained notes, above or below which rich melismas unfold. These can be seen, for example, in Simaku's String Quartet no. 2, from 2003. The title 'Radius' refers to the linear momentum of the work as well as the extremely powerful manoeuvres which disturb and disrupt it.

[Thomas Simaku, Radius. String Quartett Nr. 2, CD NAXOS 8.570428, LC 05537 Take 06]

An excerpt from the String Quartet No. 2, 'Radius', by Thomas Simaku - recorded in December 2006 in the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall of the University of York with the London-based Kreutzer Quartet. This and other works by the Albanian-English composer can be found on a new CD from the label Naxos - a further CD of orchestral music would be an ideal follow-up to this.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Poet Ezra Pound, an American Giant

By Tom White

Idaho-born writer Ezra Loomis Pound (1885-1972) delved into the poetry of the West with fantastic energy and intensity from his school days on. He studied for two years as a “special student” at the University of Pennsylvania, starting when he was only fifteen years old, then went on to Hamilton College in New York State, where he took his bachelor’s degree. He then returned to the University of Pennsylvania, receiving his Master of Arts degree in Romance philology in 1906. After an initial college teaching job in Indiana that he lost in less than a year, I think he never again held a “9 to 5” job of any kind. He moved to England in 1908, He was from then on focused on poets and poetry that “added something new,” first, to the European poetic canon, and then to world poetry. His learning over seven decades is encapsulated in his great work, The Cantos, meant as a guide drawn from the human past “to teach, move, and delight” his contemporary and future readers (ut doceat, ut moveat, ut delectet in a famous medieval formulation).
His studies in ancient Greek, Latin, and Provencal poetry and in Anglo-Saxon verse, 19th century French literature, Chinese poetry, Confucian learning, and so on, which have proved so fascinating to scholars all over the world, have tended to somewhat obscure the fact of his unflagging interest in that magic 1,000 years between c. 410 A.D. and c. 1410 A.D., the period that Culture Wars editor and publisher, E. Michael Jones, has called the millennium of the “Rule of Christ,” and which post-Enlightenment writers denigrate as the “Dark Ages.” It was in this period, and in the Christian Mediterranean culture, that Pound found the arts and intellectual traditions that were most congenial to him.

It was in this stretch of time and culture that Pound found the Provencal poets and the later Italian poets, Cavalcanti and Dante, who were for him high water marks of genuine poetic art and true culture. And in this same period he found the Christian philosophical stress on (economic) justice for all, which led him to reject the whole post-Calvin usurious society of the last 500 years and adopt the uncompromising view of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas that usury, the taking of interest on money, is theft, sin, a monstrous evil that over time will destroy society and life itself.

I don’t know of any reference to Thomas Aquinas in Pound; he perhaps never read all, or even much of, Thomas’s Summa; but he was saturated in the cast of mind it summarized and applied to the whole of Christian moral and spiritual life. Thomas’s taste for philosophical abstractions was not Pound’s, but Thomas’s taste for truth, order, and fair dealing was exactly his.

Pound’s position on usury, so opposed to the developed modern sense of commerce and banking, is given in many places in his work, but most monumentally in Canto XLV, I believe the longest poem on usury in the language, and certainly the most mordant and beautiful treatment of this gross evil and its effects on human life. I wish I could reproduce it here, but better to send you to the text itself, which, after all, is the whole purpose of this article.

The Money Theme

"Sovereignty rests in money. The United States Constitution is the greatest state document yet written, because it alone of them all, clearly recognizes this power and places it in the hands of congress. . . . The basis of the state is its economic justice."

—Ezra Pound in Guide to Kulchur, page 270

To write about Pound is to attack the proverbial mountain. He lived 87 years, published more than 60 books, and was involved in enough controversy for any ten men, maybe any hundred or even thousand men. His major interests or concerns were, above all, world poetry and, then, economic, social, and political theory and practice, especially the age-old scourge of usury. He viewed our present money system as radically evil, and destructive of economic and social justice.
Taking on the world the way Pound did is a tall order, you will agree. But Pound always kept his view, his angle of approach, personal: what has this or that individual writer written; what has this or that particular financier or politician done, what, indeed, was he, Pound, doing, what impact was he having on his friends? Until very close to the end of his life, Pound had a touching faith in his ability to persuade others of the truth of what he believed—he knew—to be true. Why, all you have to do—is it not?—is set out the true facts in a case, present them well (Pound knew how to do that), and surely no one can deny the point of them? Of course, people in droves can deny the truth. Pound also knew that perfectly well; he was no naïf; but he chose never to give up.

This approach worked astonishingly well when he was trying in friendship to show other writers, and even other kinds of artists—sculptors and musicians—what he had learned and what they might learn from him. As Eustace Mullins, a biographer of Pound, has pointed out, there were four men, all Pound’s friends, who won Nobel Prizes and whose writing Pound heavily influenced, Yeats, Eliot, Joyce, and Hemingway. Pound himself, of course, never got the prize.

I particularly like to recall something James Joyce said about Pound, who was instrumental in getting Ulysses published and getting Joyce money to live on when he needed it most: “We all owe him much. I most of all.” Such encomiums of Pound—Eliot called him the “better maker” in his dedication of “The Wastelands” to Pound—were offered up in profusion by people he called friends. Pound heavily blue-penciled “the Wastelands, into the final version the world now knows as the most famous long poem in English of the last century. The “power people,” on the other hand, hated him and his work and still do.


I should have liked to begin this overview by talking of Pound’s massive contributions to world poetry. And I definitely wanted to discuss his work on usury (defined simply as the taking of interest on money loans) and his sense of the urgent need for local and non-usurious money. But I think it is not yet possible to begin an introduction to Pound by climbing either of those slopes on the mountain.

Instead, I believe we simply have to deal first, after some fashion, with the whole question of Pound’s “antisemitism” (I prefer this simpler spelling to the standard “anti-Semitism”); because the charge against him that he was a vicious antisemite refuses to die—and refuses, too, to become any sort of minor note in his biography. Probably nothing that I can do will help it to die. The accusation of antisemitism turns up over and over again; it gets into every discussion of him or his work. It is the standout sub-theme of his biography on Wikipedia (; a document worth reading despite that, since much of what it covers will not be dealt with here.

I recall standing in the lobby of a hall at the intermission of a symphony concert a couple of years ago talking to several people I knew, including an assistant professor of English at our local university (not incidentally, she was Jewish). We were talking about something having to do with writing or reading, and I sensed a chance to insert a test question that I occasionally use in talks about such matters. I find it a way to get a quick reading on where someone fits along a sort of a spectrum of sophistication in modern letters. I asked, “What do you think of Ezra Pound?” “He’s crazy,” she snapped back. A lot said in two words: since Pound was long dead, this was not so much an opinion of his character but of his work, all of it. “Crazy.” I let the subject drop. Not the place for a harangue. And I knew it would be that or nothing.

About all I can expect is to persuade a few people, willing to bother with a “poet” at all, that this poet was a giant among men. The accusation that he was a Jew-hater is, I believe, simply not true. It is a total canard. What is true is that he said some very unpleasant things about “bankers,” while emphasizing that many, if not all, of the biggest of them were Jews, about whom, in the context of their being “Big Jews,” he also said some harsh things. Pound, who was dedicated to clarity of communication if to anything, used vivid (that’s an understatement) terms to speak and write. A quote from one of his early 1940’s broadcasts from Rome is in the Wikipedia article (page 4):

The big Jew is so bound up with this Leihkapital that no one is able to unscramble that omelet. It would be better for you to retire to Derbyshire and defy New Jerusalem, better for you to retire to Gloucester and find one spot that is England than to go on fighting for Jewry and ignoring the process. . . . You let in the Jew and the Jew rotted your empire, and you yourselves out-jewed the Jew. . . . And the big Jew has rotted EVERY nation he has wormed into.”

An aside: as a writer I admire the way E. Michael Jones, publisher of this magazine, eschews precisely the kind of “bad language” that Pound employed in his attacks on the usurers over the radio from Rome, and in print in a lot of places when he was writing about economic crime and folly.

I do not presume to dictate “literary manners and morals” for anybody; nor would I presume to chide or rewrite Pound. But for myself, I think the day for scurrilous personal attacks on any enemy has gone by. To do that is precisely to copy “the Jews” in their accusations of antisemitism. The Christian rule, as I understand it, is always to blast the crime with maximum decibels, but love the criminal and seek his reform. A tough dictum, but it is also dominical, and I have (I hope) given over improving on the Lord.

As things stand now, the endless repetition of “Pound is an antisemite” serves principally to assassinate his reputation as America’s most astonishing, rewarding, and influential 20th century poet. It serves, as well, to obscure and fend off facing the real point at issue: was he right or wrong that usury was a civilization-wrecking, nation-wrecking practice? And was he right or wrong that the use of usury to exploit and ultimately destroy nations and civilizations was an ancient Jewish practice, done in plain defiance of the prohibition against usury in the Torah, with an end in view, finally, of the rule of the whole world, by means of usury, by the “Big Jews.” (In all of this discussion, I am assuming that most Jews, like most of everybody else, are pawns and serfs of the Money Masters—the superbankers.)

Pound was clearly saying that indeed there was a “conspiracy” of the few to steal the wealth of all. Well, is it true or not? That’s the only question in this whole money matter that is worth discussing.

The Usury Gimmick

Pound’s writings on usury amounted to a direct attack on the central mechanism, the “primary gimmick,” that “the Jews”—again, the “Big Jews,” the ones who “organize” and have the superbig money—have used to fund, isolate, and advance their tribe in the world for a very long time. (Some would say since the Babylonian Captivity or even before that; Canadian David Astle, in an extraordinary study of the sources, nature, and relationships of currencies from antiquity to the present says just that in his Babylonian Woe: A Study of the Origin of Certain Banking Practices and of their effect on the events of Ancient History, written in the light of the Present Day (A private edition published in 1975 by the author and printed by Harmony Printing Ltd, Toronto).

And as Kevin MacDonald has shown in a number of scholarly volumes, the one thing Jews have done historically above all others is maintaining themselves as a separate people. They do it today, even while many phalanxes of Jews also establish themselves as citizens of many other nations. They have done this notably in the U.S in the last 150 years as they had done in the two preceding centuries in Northern Europe. Their mode of operating, again above all, includes arranging, with remarkable skill, brilliance, and effectiveness, that wherever they gain power and wealth, everything that goes forward is, as much as they can manage and that is usually very much, “good for the Jews.”

The foregoing sentences would be certain to earn me a place among the ever-burgeoning number of “antisemites” on the character-assassination attack list, if I were anybody of consequence. It’s even a badge of honor to be so designated—“up to a point,” as Evelyn Waugh has one of his characters in one of his novels say when trying to gently disagree with his egomaniacal boss, without exactly disagreeing with him.

The “Swarm”

When the word goes out that so-and so is “bad-for-the-Jews” the “swarm” goes into action. What is the swarm? Let us borrow Israel Adam Shamir’s language here. Shamir is a Russian native, an ex-Jew, now an Orthodox Christian, and a resident of Jaffa in Israel, a state he believes should be one nation, with a one-man, one-vote system, and with right of return for all Palestinians. (The present writer discussed him and reviewed one of his books in an article, Pardes: A Study in Cabbala, in the Sept. 2005 issue of Culture Wars):

After [U.S. ex-President] Carter spoke [making the point that Israel is an “apartheid state”], he was immediately counter-attacked by organized Jewry—you couldn't miss it! In my native Siberia, in its short and furious summer, you can watch a swarm of gnats attack a horse, each small bloodsucker eager for his piece of the action. After a while, the blinded and infuriated animal rushes headlong in a mad sprint and soon finds its death in the bottomless moors. The Jews developed the same style of attack. It is never a single voice arguing the case, but always a mass attack from the left and the right, from below and above, until the attacked one is beaten and broken and crawls away in disgrace.

Each attacker is as tiny and irrelevant as a single gnat, but as a swarm they are formidable. Observe them separately: Dershowitz, an advocate of torture and of hostage killing, an apprehended plagiarist who never was elected to any position of authority and commands no respect, demands to debate the president. It is indeed beyond chutzpah; but Dershowitz is supported by other Jews in prime positions and his ridiculous demand is seconded by both university and media until this thieving nonentity gets equal time on a TV channel to present “his case”. Another gnat is a Deborah Lipstadt, a nonentity brought forth by the Washington Post. Plenty of others are even smaller than these two, for instance 14 Jews who gave up their positions at Carter Center. If they were not able to keep the media in their hands, they wouldn't be heard by anyone but their spouses.

Their technique is quite simple: They switch the focus of argument onto the personality of their adversary. Thus, instead of discussing apartheid in Israel, we discuss Jimmy Carter, whether he is a bigot and antisemite (thus Foxman, the “bad Jew”) or he is not (Avnery, the “good Jew”). The correct answer is “irrelevant”: Carter’s love for Jews or lack of it has no bearing on the question of apartheid in Palestine. Likewise, if we discuss the situation in Bosnia or Kosovo, we do not go into our sentiments towards Serbs, Albanians or Croats. But Jews are different!

For instance, General Wesley Clark said that rich Jews, the great donors of Washington politicians, push for war with Iran. Well, this can be discussed, maybe even denied, but instead they derail the discussion into another topic, whether Clark is an antisemite . . .

From this moment, Clark will stick to defending himself, and the guys will take care that his hands will be full. Here again, the correct answer is a polite shrug: who cares whether Clark is a bigot? Maybe he is also a paedophile and usurer, but this ad hominem has no bearing on what he said. And an accusation, “You do not love Jews” is not much different from “You do not love your aunt”, and you probably have learned to live with it at the age of six.


The charge of antisemitism has dogged Pound since he began to study “the economic causes of warfare” immediately after World War I. But I here submit, as Shamir suggests, that the charge of antisemitism against Pound is supremely irrelevant.

Control of Media

One of the principal Jewish tactics directed to making themselves “Masters of Discourse” (Shamir’s term), has been to buy up the “major media” and so control what and how events or news are disclosed to the public. The fact of that in America is now common knowledge and is even bragged about by various Jewish writers.

The recent “outing” of AIPAC, the America-Israel Political Action Committee by Professors Mearsheimer and Walt, not to mention the extraordinary work of the publisher/editor of this periodical, has pushed along an emerging freedom from “fear of the Jews,” but it has so far progressed only a little, because “fear of the Jews” is no joke in politics or writing or teaching (especially at the university level). Ask Joseph Sobran, whose career as perhaps the most intelligent and articulate American-Catholic commentator on our politics was derailed by his mild but very public criticism of the Jews. Pat Buchanan has survived, but only after a fashion, after similar “indiscretions.” Neither man has any chance of great influence anymore. The list of people who have disadvantaged themselves in this way could be much enlarged. The latest addition to it is of course ex-president Carter.

Incarcerated nearly 13 years

Ezra Pound was a virtually archetypical case of this same Jewish attack on free speech that was, from their point of view, radically too free. He paid for it. Initially charged with treason, he spent 12-1/2 years (1946 to 1958) in St. Elizabeths federal mental hospital under a diagnosis of insanity made by a panel of psychiatrists who examined him in 1946. It seems obvious that the psychiatrists involved thought it not a good idea to let the nation’s major poet be tried for treason; the insanity finding seemed a way out of the dilemma.

That diagnosis denied Pound a trial on the charge of treason against him, a trial Pound plainly wanted since he believed he could rebut it. However, the “nuts” designation effectively kept him in prison-hospital all those years. No one with any sense ever thought Pound was “insane.” The work he did in the prison camp in Pisa and in St. Elizabeths precludes that. On the other hand he was radically stressed by the trouble he brought on himself and surely had some very bad days.

The major media largely kept up the attack on him as a traitor while he was in prison, until at the last, important articles in Life and Time Magazines, then owned and edited by Henry Luce, initiated a “let him go” attitude. Pound would accept release only on condition all charges against him were dropped. In order to let the government get rid of this hot potato, the government agreed. The charges were dropped, and he was released—to return to Italy, where, in Venice, he died and was buried.

The bald external facts of Pound’s fateful years in Italy until he was flown back to the United States in military custody would seem to a superficial observer to be prima facie evidence of the validity of the U.S. government’s case against him. He had been living in Italy seventeen years when the U.S. entered Word War II. He tried to book passage home for himself and family members but for complicated reasons was not able to do so. He had opposed the war from the start, and opposed it to the end. In 1943 he asked the Mussolini government for permission to go on Rome Radio—and was granted it—to present his anti-war case, in English (often in a kind of cracker-barrel jargon of his own). He directed his broadcasts to the Allied governments and their troops as they approached ever nearer.

He was harshly critical of President Roosevelt and made anti-Jewish points repeatedly. The broadcasts were often enough difficult to understand; they very likely were never heard by many, or perhaps even any, people in the U.S. Pound’s central theme was that the U.S. was serving the Jewish/British/American world-wide banking cabal by attacking and destroying Europe, an idea he had developed, defended, and extensively explicated from the 1920s on. Just after WW I he wrote that he had begun a systematic study of the “economic causes of warfare.”

The conclusion he came to was that the “bankers” and their universal usury were chiefly at fault, not just for wars, but for the general economic malaise of Western societies that had prevailed, really, since the close of the Christian medieval, anti-usury era, at just about the same time as the early 16th century “Reformation” occurred, and John Calvin declared that business men should be permitted to charge interest on money loans, something the Roman Church had opposed all during the previous millennium, as E. Michael Jones’s articles on the Revolutionary Jew make clear.

World War I, and the death of so many of his artist and poet friends in it, had both deeply saddened and challenged, even enraged, Pound. He had already demonstrated before he left England for France that he was a dynamic, brilliant poet and scholar, who was working on nothing less than making a revolution in the whole nature and course of poetic expression in the modern era. He worked at that as hard as a good scientific researcher works. He became from that time on, while remaining a dedicated poet, also a devastating and relentless critic of the murderous policies of the industrially advanced national governments of the Western world, which had caused the needless deaths of millions of young men in the Great War of 1914-1918, the “war to end war,” a civilizational disaster repeated in WW II:

“There died a myriad,

And of the best among them,”

For an old bitch gone in the teeth,

For a botched civilization.

Charm smiling at the good mouth,

Quick eyes gone under earth’s lid,

For two gross of broken statues,

For a few thousand battered books.

—“Hugh Selwyn Mauberley,” 1920

“Hugh Selwyn Mauberley” (1919) and “Homage to Sextus Propertius” were the two major poems that closed out his fourteen years’ residency in England (1908-1922). He moved to Paris in 1922 and never again lived in England. After that, his major poetic effort went into his Cantos, a work it is hard not to see as his response to the challenge of Whitman’s great Leaves of Grass. Both were accumulations of verse over many years, massive “works in progress” that took most of their authors’ poetic energies until the near approach of death. The works were comparable in those ways, although utterly different in form and content. Initially, Pound, who, in his youth tended to like rather allusive and esoteric forms and themes, disliked Whitman’s democratic “yawp” and sprawl. As Pound matured, though, he wrote:

“I make a pact with you, Walt Whitman—
I have detested you long enough. . . .

We have one sap and one root--

Let there be commerce between us.

Joined now in death, it is plain that Pound and Whitman are “the two great American poets.”

As I come toward the close of this essay, the text of a speech on U.S. foreign policy and civil liberties by Justin Raimondo has just come to hand. It appeared June 4 on the website, which Raimondo directs. In it Raimondo, who strenuously opposes Israeli influence in U.S. foreign policy and internal politics, manages a very curious distinction. He speaks against AIPAC, against the neoconservative (largely Jewish) party in Washington, and in favor of Professors Mearsheimer and Walt, whose famous “taboo-busting” study, The Israeli Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, has made such a stir, and of course been attacked by “the Swarm.” Then Raimondo makes the (to me) astonishing statement, without supporting reference, that the views of the Israeli Lobby and those of “most American Jews are poles apart.”

I am unaware of any study or poll proving such a point or of any Jewish organization expressing it. I am aware of many individual Jews who oppose the Lobby and even Zionism, but a financed, organized, and well-publicized group doing so? I don’t think so. I believe the burden of lifting the banker-usury yoke from the shoulders of mankind is destined, as Shamir has suggested, to be borne by Jews; but the hour seems not yet, because a complete change of heart among “the Jews” is obviously a prerequisite.

What, then, are we to do? Just now very little. We are forbidden hatred and violence by the Lord. Anyway there is very little indeed that can be done against the entrenched power of the statist institutions that now stand against any alteration in the status quo of our usurious, banker-ruled society. Christ’s demonstration on Calvary is our model. Not a hand is to be raised against “the Jews,” as the popes have repeatedly said across the centuries. But we have also been told by the Lord Christ that we are to be wise as serpents. Nonviolence and wisdom are the only tools we have for this battle. I submit that Pound offered much wisdom about money and the evil of usury; in fact he cast his whole life and work into the balance to make that wisdom known to as many of his countrymen as possible. In an echo of a famous little poem by Walter Savage Landor, he wrote in an ironic epitaph for himself. “I strove with all, for ALL were worth my strife. . . .”

The Pound canon is now enormous; any halfway decent library will have quite a few titles by or relating to Pound. He said himself the clue can be got in an afternoon; I found that so in 1950 sitting in a library in Cambridge, Mass. an afternoon that I have never forgotten.

Fjala e Lire - Free Speech

Olimpics History

History In-depth

Kelly Holmes: The heroine for Britain

2004 - Athens

The Olympics returned to its spiritual home of Athens in 2004 and despite initial fears they wouldn't be ready in time, the Greeks put on a terrific 17-day spectacle to rival the Games of Sydney. Read Full Article

Redgrave: Five consecutive golds.

2000 - Sydney

Generally considered to be the best-ever Games as Britain's Steven Redgrave produced an heroic performance to become the first rower to win gold medals at five consecutive Olympics. Read Full Article

Johnson: His 200m record of 19.32 seconds still stands.

1996 - Atlanta

Michael Johnson's double success over 200m and 400m was the first for a man in Olympic history while Carl Lewis became only the fourth person to win the same individual event four times. Read Full Article

Dream Team: Swept all aside.

1992 - Barcelona

American basketball's Dream Team were the highlight of Barcelona as NBA All Stars such as Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan swept all before them, averaging 117 points in their eight matches. Read Full Article

Johnson: Made the headlines for the wrong reasons.

1988 - Seoul

Drugs reared their head with the biggest scandal of modern times when sprinter Canadian Ben Johnson was disqualified after winning the 100m with a new world record time. Read Full Article

Carl Lewis: Became an American hero.

1984 - Los Angeles

A revenge boycott led by the Soviet Union depleted the field in certain sports but a record 140 nations still took part as American sprinter Carl Lewis stole the show with four gold medals. Read Full Article

Coe: won gold and silver

1980 - Moscow

Another boycott, led by the USA against the invasion of Afghanistan, reduced the number of participating nations to 80 while on the track their was drama between Seb Coe and Steve Ovett. Read Full Article

Comaneci: Romanian sensation

1976 - Montreal

In another Games affected by non-sporting issues, Romanian 14-year-old gymnast Nadia Comaneci caused a sensation on the uneven bars when she was awarded the first-ever perfect score of 10.0. Read Full Article

Spitz: Seven gold medals

1972 - Munich

The tragic events at the Olympic Village completely overshadowed American swimmer Mark Spitz's incredible seven gold medals to go with the two he had earned in 1968. Read Full Article

Beamon: Set a staggering WR.

1968 - Mexico City

Mexico saw Bob Beamon leap into history while it was also the birthplace of the Fosbury flop - the high jump style perfected by American Dick Fosbury which also won him a gold medal. Read Full Article

Rand: Two medals for Britain.

1964 - Tokyo

The first Games to be held in Asia had a poignant opening ceremony involving Yoshinori Sakai, who was born in Hiroshima the day the city was destroyed by an atomic bomb in WW2. Read Full Article

Cassius Clay: Topped the podium.

1960 - Rome

More than 50 years after giving up their chance to host the Olympics, Italy finally got their opportunity and these were the Games at which the greatest boxing star of all time was born. Read Full Article

Laszlo Papp: Won third Olympic gold.

1956 - Melbourne

These were the first Games to be held in the southern hemisphere but strict quarantine laws prevented foreign horses entering the country so the equestrian events were held in Stockholm. Read Full Article

Zatopek: Rewrote history.

1952 - Helsinki

Czechoslovakian long-distance runner Emil Zatopek became the only person in Olympic history to win the 5,000m, 10,000m and marathon at the same Olympics. Read Full Article

Blankers-Koen: Sprint star in London.

1948 - London

The first Games to be shown on home television, although very few people actually owned sets, London also saw the first participation of Communist countries. Read Full Article

Owens - star of the 1936 games.

1936 - Berlin

Berlin saw the introduction of the torch relay but the Games were infamous for Adolf Hitler's failed attempt to use them to prove his theories of Aryan racial superiority. Read Full Article

Didrikson: Golden girl.

1932 - Los Angeles

The Great Depression meant the number of competitors was half what it had been four years previously but 18 world records were broken at the 16-day event - shorter than ever before. Read Full Article

The 5,000m gets under way.

1928 - Amsterdam

At the opening ceremony the Olympic protocol of Greece, the birthplace of the modern Games, leading the parade of nations with the host country marching in last was established. Read Full Article

Paavo Nurmi: Two golds within hours.

1924 - Paris

The Olympic motto "Citius, Altius, Fortius" was introduced, as was the closing ceremony ritual of raising the flags of the IOC, the host nation and the next host nation. Read Full Article

Nedo Nadi: Fencing legend.

1920 - Antwerp

The 1916 Olympics were scheduled to be held in Berlin but were cancelled because of WW1 and the 1920 Games were awarded to Antwerp to honour the suffering Belgian people. Read Full Article

Jim Thorpe: Set world record.

1912 - Stockholm

The Swedish hosts introduced the use of unofficial electronic timing devices for the track events, as well as the first use of a public address system. Read Full Article

John Hayes: Took gold after Pietri was aided.

1908 - London

The 1908 Olympics saw athletes march into the opening ceremony by nation for the first time and by the end of the Games Great Britain had topped the medal table. Read Full Article

A scene from the opening ceremony.

1906 - Athens

In an effort to reinvigorate the Olympics after the lack-lustre Games of 1900 and 1904, Greece organised the "interim Olympics" but they weren't officially recognised by the IOC. Read Full Article

Archie Hahn: Two victories.

1904 - St Louis

Once again the Olympic competitions were spread out over four and a half months although these Games were the first at which gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded. Read Full Article

Alvin Kraenzlein: Won four athletics events.

1900 - Paris

The Games were held as part of the Paris World's Fair and events were spread over five months with less emphasis on their Olympic status. Read Full Article

Spiridon Louis: First marathon winner.

1896 - Athens

The revival of the ancient Olympics attracted athletes from 14 nations, with the largest delegations coming from Greece, Germany and France. Read Full Article

Fjala e Lire - Free Speech

Monday, 18 August 2008

An Israeli in Kosovo

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Imagine what would happen to a handful of Jewish veterans of the Israel Defense Forces who tried to move from Tel Aviv to an Arab country to open a bistro and bar. In only a few countries could they even get through the airport without being deported or, more likely, arrested. If they were somehow able to finagle a permit from the bureaucracy and operate openly as Israelis in an Arab capital, they wouldn’t last long. Somebody would almost certainly kill them even if the state left them alone.

Kosovo is a Muslim-majority country, but it isn’t Arab. The ethnic Albanians who make up around 90 percent of the population reject out of hand the vicious war-mongering anti-Semitism that still boils in the Middle East. Israelis can open a bistro and bar in Kosovo without someone coming to get them or even harassing them. Shachar Caspi, co-owner of the Odyssea Bistro and the Odyssea Bakery, proves it.

Caspi’s bistro is in the hip, bohemian, and stylish Pejton neighborhood in the city center of Kosovo’s capital Prishtina. A huge number of café bars that look expensive but are actually cheap make up the core of the area. The hyper-local economy in Pejton is apparently based on fashionably dressed young people selling espresso and alcoholic beverages to each other. If you ever visit Prishtina, book a hotel room in that neighborhood.

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Pejton, Prishtina, Kosovo

An Israeli woman who manages the Odyssea Bakery didn’t feel like being interviewed, so she directed me to her boss Caspi at the Odyssea Bistro around the corner. “He will be more than happy to talk to you,” she said. “He will tell you anything you want to know.”

She was right. I showed up at the bistro unannounced and introduced myself. “Let’s sit at the bar,” Caspi said. The bartender served me an espresso with milk on the house.

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Espresso, Odyssea Bistro, Prishtina, Kosovo

“So how did you end up in Kosovo?” I said.

“It started in about October of 2005,” he said. “I came to work for an Israeli businessman. He has a big company that he wanted me to work for. After a year we thought there was a good potential in the food business, so I contacted a friend in Israel – he is one of my partners – and we started with a small coffee place with two local partners. But we didn’t get along too well, so we went our separate ways and we sold our part. The next thing we got another local partner and another partner from Holland who is a silent investor. And the four of us established this company. And now we have this bistro, and now we have the bakery, and another sandwich bar in the EU building. This concept is very similar to what we have back home, that is why we did it. This looks very similar to places in Tel Aviv.”

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Odyssea Bistro, Prishtina, Kosovo

“I notice that a lot of places in Prishtina remind me of Tel Aviv,” I said.

Though the aesthetic is similar, the building materials in Kosovo are of a bit lower quality than what’s available in Israel. Restaurants in Prishtina – aside from Caspi's – are not designed to resemble those in Tel Aviv on purpose, but the resemblance is incidentally there nevertheless. (The aesthetic in Serbian restaurants and bars, meanwhile, reminded me of those in Lebanon. And, yes, that is a compliment. The Lebanese have more style than just about anyone.)

The Israeli contribution to the local food and drink scene isn’t a secret. I found Caspi’s establishment in the Bradt Guide which lists Odyssea as Israeli-owned. I knew already that Kosovo is friendlier to Israel than most countries in the world – especially compared with other Muslim-majority countries – but I was still slightly surprised to see this. It only takes one Islamist fanatic to blow up a bistro. And it would only take a small amount of the right kind of threatening pressure to drive Caspi, his business partners, and his employees out of town or at least underground. But nothing like this has happened.

“People know you are Israeli?” I said.

“Of course,” he said. “Of course. Everybody knows we are Israelis.”

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Shachar Caspi, Prishtina, Kosovo

“Nobody cares?” I said.

“On the contrary,” he said, “people like it. They come to speak to us. They want to be in contact. Here I didn’t see anybody that was negative. On the contrary the people are very warm, very nice. They take Islam to a beautiful place. Not a violent place. When they hear I am from Israel they react very warmly.”

Lots of Kosovar Albanians confirmed what Caspi is saying.

“Kosovars used to identify with the Palestinians because we Albanians are Muslims and Christians and we saw Serbia and Israel both as usurpers of land," a prominent Kosovar recently told journalist Stephen Schwartz. "Then we looked at a map and woke up. Israelis have a population of six million, their backs to the sea, and 300 million Arab enemies. Albanians have a total population of eight million, our backs to the sea, and 200 million Slav enemies. So why should we identify with the Arabs?”

“Israelis are okay,” said a waiter named Afrim Kostrati at a cafe named Tirana. “The conflict is not our problem. We are Muslims, but not really. We have respect for Israelis because of the U.S. I have good friends from there.”

“Albanians everywhere are aware that Jews want to help them in this conflict,” said Professor Xhabir Hamiti from the Islamic Studies Department at the University of Prishtina. “And Jews are aware and thankful to Albanians for saving their lives during the Second World War. So we have our sympathy for Israel. I don't think the Muslims here are on the side of the Palestinians.”

When working in other countries I sometimes have to wonder if my interview subjects are only telling me what they think I want to hear. It happens sometimes, especially in the Arab world – not so much because Arabs want to be deceitful but because they want to be polite and agreeable. Caspi's ability to work openly as a Jewish Israeli bistro owner in Kosovo, though, is strong evidence that the Kosovars I spoke to about this weren't just telling me what they thought I wanted to hear. Besides, invective against Israel and Jews is not something many Arabs feel they should have to conceal from reporters.

Jews and Israelis in Muslim-majority countries are like canaries in coal mines, as are women in Muslim-majority countries. You can tell a lot about a place by observing how each are treated. The Taliban impose an oppressive dress code on women at gunpoint, for instance, and the Hamas Charter is explicitly genocidal. It's possible to take the radical Islamist temperature of a Muslim society simply by measuring the misogyny and anti-semitism at both the government level and among the general population. The only country in the entire Middle East that isn't anti-semitic at the government level, the popular level, or both, is the state of Israel.

Kosovo is clearly well outside the mainstream of the Middle East. At the same time, it is one of the few countries even in Europe that isn't at least anti-Israel, if not blatantly anti-semitic, at the government or popular level.

“We have very much in common with Israel,” entrepreneur Luan Berisha said. “In Albania and Kosovo we are in support of Israel. I would never side with the Muslim side to wipe Israel off the face of the world. 90% of Kosovo feels this way. The reason why is we sympathize a lot with the people who have suffered the same fate as us. We were Muslims even in the Second World War – stronger Muslims than we are now – but even then we protected them with our lives. Our grandfathers protected the Jews wherever they were in the region.”

Berisha is right. Albanians did shelter Jews during the Nazi occupation, more than any other people in Europe.

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Classical Ottoman-era architecture, Prizren, Kosovo

More than half survived the Nazi occupation of Kosovo because so many Albanians sheltered them from the Nazi authorities. According to Dan Michman, Chief Historian at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, there were three times as many Jews in Albania at the end of the Holocaust than at the beginning. Albanians were well-known at the time as a friendly population that could be trusted. They refused to surrender Albanian Jews, and they refused to surrender Jewish refugees from elsewhere in Europe.

The dark side of the Nazi occupation of Kosovo were the 6,000 or so ethnic Albanian collaborators who joined the so-called Skanderbeg Division of the Waffen-SS. The Germans had serious problems with them, though. Thousands deserted within the first two months, and the rest were disbanded after a mere eight months of “service.”

I met some Kosovar Albanians who were actually somewhat philo-semitic. One woman who gave me the rundown on local culture and politics showed me a book that I would never expect to see in any Muslim country other than Bosnia (though Bosnia is only 48 percent Muslim.)

It was a copy of the Sarajevo Haggadah.

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This book has an interesting history. It's the text of the traditional Passover Haggadah and was written in 14th Century Spain. It made its way to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, possibly when Jews fled the Spanish Inquisition and were welcomed as refugees in the Balkans by the Turkish Ottoman Empire. Muslim clerics saved the book from destruction during the Nazi occupation, and it was hidden in a bank vault during the Serbian Nationalist siege of Sarajevo. It is one of the most valuable books in the world.

It's hard to describe how startling it was to see any book written in Hebrew in a Muslim-majority country. Perhaps I've spent too much time in Lebanon where something like that just would not happen. What ails the Arab world begins to seem “normal,” at least by the standards of the Islamic world, after enough constant exposure. The Kurds are startlingly different. The Albanians are startlingly different. The story behind the Sarajevo Haggadah is especially salient considering where and by whom the original was saved from destruction.

The Arab Middle East has serious cultural and political problems that deeply affect even a large number of Christians who live in the region. Muslim countries elsewhere sometimes reject these derangements entirely. It's strange that a huge number of Christians in Syria support Hezbollah while so many Muslims in Kosovo sympathize with Israel, but that's how it is.

I rented a car in Prishtina so I could meet up with American soldiers at Camp Bondsteel for a brief embed in Eastern Kosovo. And I laughed out loud to myself when I found a CD of Israeli music in the car stereo that the previous customer left behind.

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Israeli music left behind in rental car in Kosovo

I was obviously not in Syria, nor was I in Gaza.

“They tell me that in the Holocaust they used to keep the survivors inside of shelters,” Caspi said. “And vice versa. In 1999 the first plane that landed in Prishtina for support was an Israeli plane.”

“To support what?” I said.

“The war,” he said.

“Was it humanitarian?” I said.

“Yes,” he said. “The plane was medical support and doctors and some security, and they took refugees to Israel. I know some Albanians who live to this day in Israel.”

“Muslims?” I said.

“Yes,” he said. “They took them. Most of them came back here. I have talked to more than five people already that lived between 1999 and 2001 in Israel until everything was quiet here. Then they came back.”

Israel accepted Muslim refugees from Bosnia, too. And I know of at least one Bosnian Muslim from a friend in Jerusalem who was rescued from Sarajevo by Israelis and given Israeli citizenship.

“So why did Israel get involved?” I said to Caspi.

“It is like when Israel went to India when they had an earthquake.” he said. “They went to Africa when there was a disaster in Mombasa. This is what Israel does.” He sounded slightly irritated, as though I didn't know this already. I did know this already, I just wanted to hear what he had to say about it. “They send medical assistance to places that have disasters.”

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Destroyed house, Kosovo countryside

“Arab countries wouldn’t accept help like that,” I said. It wasn't a question.

“No,” he said. “Actually after the tsunami they wanted to send it to Indonesia and they didn’t let them because it was a Muslim country. But Israel and Kosovo have a very good relationship. The prime minister visited Israel a few months ago.”

“Why so you suppose it is different for Kosovo?” I said.

“I think that a lot of people in the world think that the war in Israel is a religious war,” he said. “I don’t think it is a religious war. I think it is totally about lands and the occupied territory, and the religion is what leaders try to take advantage to promote their own interests. Like what Yassin did with the suicide bombers and said they will go to heaven. They try to make it a religious war but it is not. It is about lands. I have a lot of friends here. And my girlfriend, she is Muslim, I am very serious about her. And to tell you honestly, most of the Israeli people are not religious people. The last time I was in Synagogue was when I was 13 years old. I had to do the Bar Mitzvah and since then I haven’t gone. If you go to Tel Aviv, 98 percent of the people are super liberal, and they will accept you if are a Palestinian, if you are Chinese, if you are Jewish. If things go well I want to bring my girlfriend back home to Israel.”

“If you are married,” I said, “would she get Israeli citizenship?”

“Here is the big problem in my opinion,” he said, “that the religion and the state are connected. You need to be Jewish to be an important citizen. But now things are changing. Now we have civil marriage in specific places that are recognized in Israel, and she can get citizenship.”

Lebanon also has issues with inter-sectarian marriages. If, say, a Christian wants to marry a Sunni they have to get married in Cyprus or another third country.

“Do you know about the Wahhabis that are coming here?” I said to Caspi. Well-heeled Gulf Arabs set up shop in Kosovo after the 1999 war to rebuild destroyed mosques and convert, so to speak, liberal and moderate Albanian Muslims to the fanatically fundamentalist Wahhabi sect out of Saudi Arabia. If anyone in Kosovo would give Caspi a hard time or worse for being Israeli, it would be someone from that crowd.

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Mosque on the outskirts of Gjlian, Kosovo

“There are people telling me that people from outside are coming here to try to make religion a bit stronger,” he said, “but I don’t have a clue.”

At least they haven't bothered him yet.

“You don’t have any problems with those people?” I said.

“Since I came here,” he said, “nobody has shown any kind of problems against Israel. On the contrary, because everybody here loves the U.S., and they all know that Israel is like a state of the U.S. That is a good thing. Everybody knows the support that Israel gets from the U.S. You don’t need to be well-educated to know that the amount of money Israel gets from the U.S. means Israel owes them a lot. And that’s how it works. When Israelis wanted to do military business with China, they had to cancel it because the U.S. didn’t like it.”

“So you think the primary reason Kosovars like Israel is because of the United States?” I said.

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Albanian, Israeli, and American flags fly together in Gllogovc-Drenas, Kosovo, on the day Kosovo declared independence. (Photo copyright K. Dobruna.)

“No,” he said. “I think it is many things. They had good relations with the Jewish people back in the old days. If you go back 40 or 50 years you will find that there were good relations with the Jewish people, they lived here happily. Also I think it is what happened in 1999. That showed them that Israel cares and wants to help them. And the people who came back here from Israel say that it was amazing, and they are still in contact with the families in Israel. Nobody here is radical. It is a Muslim country, but I think it is a beautiful Muslim country. I think Israel is a more religious country than here.”

“Have you been to Serbia?” I said.

“Yes,” he said. “I was in a Jewish meeting for all of the Balkans about two years ago. I usually don’t go to these kind of meetings because I feel much more an Israeli than a Jew, but I went because I used to work for this company, and my colleague who was also Israeli and was a bit more religious wanted company. So I went to Belgrade and Novi Sad. But since then I haven’t visited. I can tell you honestly I like it better here than in Bosnia and Serbia. I don’t know why. Maybe because I am living here, and what happened, I was a part of it, I don’t know.”

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Young Albanian women, Prizren, Kosovo

Caspi's Israeli employee at the Odyssea Bakery around the corner thought I was slightly strange for wanting to interview someone in Prishtina for no reason other than the fact that he is Israeli. Caspi, though, understood.

“I know why it is an interesting story,” he said. “An Israeli business in a Muslim country.”

“It just wouldn’t happen in the Middle East,” I said. “I don’t even think it would happen in Jordan.”

“No,” he said. “It won’t. And that’s the whole point. Religion can co-exist. For example, my girlfriend, you know, I am in love above my head. I want us to be together. I don’t think religion should… I think the opposite, I think religion should integrate.”

Fjala e Lire - Free Speech

Albania a shiny place in August

Ten Great Things To Do When You Visit Albania

Albania is becoming more and more attractive place in Europe. Everyday become a new chance for country’s integration. So, Albania is a tiny but great country in the Balkans, neighbouring Italy. It’s probably the least visited European countries but that is starting to change as more tourists start to take note of its wonderful sites. This country has exceptional, pure white sandy beaches, more or less untouched mountain regions, and trendy, expanding cities.
Albania’s sandy beaches are fantastic. Albanian beaches are usually white, sandy beaches except there are a dozen or so pebble beaches too. You could either spend time in the hot dry sun on a blanket or get a sun bed the option is yours. Many of the beaches are pretty much untouched by visitors and a number are so out of the way that you could be alone on the beach, even in August.
There are quite a few mountainous regions in Albania. The mountainous areas in the north are absolutely amazing for skiing or hiking and you can see a lot of waterfalls and spectacular lakes in the region. The mountains in that area are brilliant to visit but the other mountain regions are also amazing.
Albanian cities are lively with a cafe culture resulting in huge numbers of hip cafes to spend time in. Albania cities including Saranda are worth spending time in to see the historic old city area and not to mention to visit a museum or two.
People from Albania are very warm and will be more than happy to introduce you to their country if you take the time to visit it.
In another word, Albania is a great place to visit in Europe as it is very rich in history and culture, and in fact, some archaeological attractions in Albania are as old as the Stone Age era. Not only that, Albania has also served as a crossroads for some of the world’s greatest armies and civilizations so it is rich in historical monuments and archaeological sites. Albania literally means “the land of the eagles,” and this meaning can be seen in their national flag, so here are 10 places you can visit when you visit Albania:

1.) The Fortress of Gjirokastra

Otherwise called the “Silver Fortress,” the 4th century fortress is the biggest as well as the one of the most preserved constructions in Albania. The Fortress has an amazing view of the countryside. You can also see the Drinos Valley when you visit this historical site.

2.) The National Museum of Weapons and the Museum of Folk Culture

These are must see attractions inside the above mentioned fortress. Here, you will find weapons and arms displayed dating from World War II to as far back as the Neolithic era. You will also find artifacts such as clothing, utensils and others in the Museum of Folk Culture showcasing how the people lived in earlier times.

3.) The Butrint Archaeological Site

Located at the southwest coast of Albania, Butrint is included in the World Heritage List by UNESCO. It serves as a testament to the place’s beauty and history. Here, you will see glimpses of the cultures of the Bronze Age, Roman, Greek, Ottoman, Venetian and Byzantine Periods.

4.) The Rozafa Castle

The Rozafa Castle is one of the most famous castles of Albania. It has existed since the lllyrian times and was used as a base for attacking Rome during historical times. This castle’s name arises from a legend about one of the builder’s wife being sacrificed so as to appease the god’s and make the castle walls stand.

5.) The Theatre of Butrint

The Theatre of Butrint is yet another one of the sites you will see in Albania dating back to the Roman Period. This well preserved theatre is one of the most famous as well as the most preserved sites in Albania. Of course, this is a favorite tourist spot that is a must-see.

6.) The National Museum of Medieval Art

This museum is located in Korca. The National Museum of Medieval Art showcases over seven thousand cult and art items. Here, you will see medieval works on art ranging from sculptures, metal works, textiles and others.

7.) The Ionian Coast

Here, tourists can lie down on the beach, explore underwater life through diving, take part of speedboat tours or eco tours, hike, etc. Famous spots for diving are the Cape of Rodon and Cape of Lagji. The beach of Dhermi also offers sites like wrecked ships, corals as well as a rich flora and fauna.

8.) The City of Berat

Berat City lies at the banks of the Osum River. It is considered a museum city of Albania for its wealth of historical buildings and diverse architecture. In this city, you will find the Berat Castle, the Onufri museum, the ethnographic museum as well as the Medieval Center.

9.) The Lekures Castle

It is a castle located along the Ionian coast. This impressive monument has a great view of the Saranda Harbor and has two round towers along the north-west and southeast corners. You will also find in this castle a famous restaurant that serves local cuisine.

10.) The White Spring

This spring is located between the mountains of Didha and Kunora. This spring is said to have curative properties for such ailments in the kidneys, urinary tract, larynx, stomach, and thyroid glands. This place is also a great eco-tourist attraction.


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Përmblodhi dhe përgatiti : Hyqmet ZANE

Elbasani është qyteti i tretë i Shqipërisë sot, pas Tiranës, kryeqytetit dhe Durrësit, portit kryesor të vendit. Nga Tirana e ndajnë 54 km dhe nga Durrësi 82 km. Ai gjendet pikërisht në mes të vendit, kyç i madh rrugës perëndim-lindje dhe veri-jug, mbi bregun e djathtë të lumit të Shkumbinit, i cili nga lindja në detin Adriatik, e ndan Shqipërinë në dy zona të mëdha, Gegëria në veri, Toskëria në jug.

(viti 1300 p.e.s - shek.V e.s.)
Nuk ka dokumenta të shkruara dhe shenja të qarta arkeologjike që të dëshmojnë për ekzistencën e qytetit të Elbasanit në periudhën e hershme antike, por zonat përreth tij ishin të banuara nga ilirët vendas. Këto vërtetohen nga gjurmimet arkeologjike, si Tumat (kodërvarret) në fushën e Pazhokut, në fshatin Shalës afër Cerrikut apo objektet prej terrakote (baltë e pjekur), që i përkasin periudhës helenistike të zbuluara në fundin e liqenit të Seferanit në Belësh, të cilat banorët vendas paganë ia blatonin perëndeshës Afërditë.
Megjithatë, qyteti i Elbasanit u njoh në histori në periudhën e Ilirisë. Mendohet se në kohën e pushtimit romak në vitet 229 - 168 p.e.s. qyteti i Elbasanit u shkatërrua prej tyre për të rilindur më vonë.
Në përshkrimet që i bënë emrit të qytetit udhëtarët e ndryshëm grekë apo latinë, vihen re edhe prapashtesat e gjuhëve të tyre si -is- Skampis) dhe -ino- (Skampino), që në fakt janë të huaja për ne dhe nuk duhet të lejohen të përdoren.
Me emrin Skampa (Skampa, Hiscampis), qendra e banuar njihet qe nga shekulli II i erës së re, kur Iliria, prej disa shekujsh, bënte pjesë në Perandorinë Romake. Shqipëria e sotme është pjesë e jugut të Ilirisë. Shqiptarët janë pasardhës të ilirëve dhe flasin një gjuhë, e cila rrjedh nga ilirishtja, që sot nuk flitet.

Rruga Egnatia
Rruga mori emrin e realizuesit të kësaj vepre gjigande të antikitetit, i cili ishte gjykatësi romak në Selanik i quajtur Cnaeus Egnatius, i biri i Caius prokonsull në Selanik. Pra, u ndërtua nga romakët për qëllime ushtarake dhe tregtare gjatë mësymjeve të tyre në Hiri, Maqedoni dhe Greqi. Është e gjatë 535 milje dhe e gjerë 30 këmbë (1 këmbe = 30,5 cm), kjo rrugë u ndërtua me gurë dhe shërbente edhe për transport udhëtarësh dhe mallrash. Përgjatë saj kishte sheshe dhe vendpushime të ngjashme me stacionet e sotme. Burimi më i besuar deri me sot mbi këtë rruge është itinerari i Bordosë, që është shkruar nga një murg i panjohur në vitin 333 e.s gjatë kthimit te tij nga Jeruzalemi. Ai ka shënuar stacionet dhe distancat nga njeri stacion te tjetri. Distancat janë matur me udhëtime gjysmëdite. Stacionet ku ai ka fjetur i ka shënuar si "mansio" dhe ato ku ka ndërruar kuajt si "mutatje". Mendohet se stacionet ishin 30-40 milje larg njeri-tjetrit dhe shërbenin për shlodhje, ushqim etj.
Kjo rrugë që kalon edhe nëpër Elbasan, zë fill në Durrës me dy degëzime, njëra të shpie në Apoloni dhe dega tjetër vijon :
Ura e Dajlanit-Shkëmbi i Kavajës-Kavajë, kalon lumin e Darit mbi një urë-Rani i Gores-Bishti i Zhurit-Peqin. Nuk ka shenja për stacione të mundëshme nga Durrësi deri në Peqin. Nga Peqini deri në Elbasan ka vetëm nje stacion i quajtur Add Quintum i cili ndodhet në fshatin Bradashesh. Më pas kjo rrugë shtrihet në Elbasan- Mengël-Labinot-Fushë, Mirakë (stacioni Genesis), kalon në anën tjetër të Shkumbinit dhe njëkohësisht i shmanget bregut të lumit duke u ngjitur nëpër male - Babje (stacioni Ad Dianam- Tempulli i Dianës), Spathare- Dardhë- Gurrat e Zeza- Qukës - kalon sërish lumin Shkumbin- Fusha e Domosdovës-Qafë- Thanë e më tej në Strugë- Ohër- ­Manastir (sot Bitola, Maqedoni)- Selanik (Greqi) dhe vijon deri në Stamboll e përtej. Degëzimi i Apolonisë, bashkohet me pjesën kryesore pikërisht në qytetin e Peqinit (Klodiana antike). Një arterie tjetër e kësaj rruge pasi përshkonte Korgën dhe Beratin, futej në zonën e Dumresë (Belësh-Shalës­Cerrik) dhe bashkohej me magjistralin kryesor pikërisht në lumin Shkumbin, ku ka qenë ndërtuar edhe një urë, bazamentet e së cilës, ndonëse të rrënuara, ruhen ende në shtratin e këtij lumi dhe pikërisht në fshatin Topçias ose ku bashkohet derdhja e përroit të Zaranikës me lumin e Shkumbinit. Nëndegëzime apo rrugë sekondare kjo rrugë ka pasur edhe në zona të tjera të Elbasanit.

Për herë të parë këtë rrugë e përmend Polibi në vitin 120 p.e.s. dhe më pas Straboni. Ky i fundit thotë se rruga kishte dy degëzime, njera nga Durrësi dhe tjetra nga Apolonia (ka mendime të ndryshme edhe për një linjë tjetër nga Vlora). Po nga Straboni mësojmë se një pjesë e rrugës quhej rruga e Kandavise ( Kandavia quhej atëherë një mal me emër ilir në malësinë e Polisit në Elbasan). Kjo rrugë, e ndërtuar nga romakët, është vazhdim i rrugës Apia dhe niste me itinerarin: Rome-Beneventum-Brindizi (Itali) - deti Adriatik - lUria, Maqedonia, Greqia e dilte në Azine e Vogël e deri në Persi. Udhëtimi në këtë rrugë, në atë periudhë bëhej me karvane me kafshë.

Rruga e famshme romake,Via Egnatia, nga Durrësi (Dyrrachium) në Bizant, lidhte Romën me Konstandinopolin, duke kaluar nëpër Ohër e Selanik. Skama ishte stscioni i parë i rëndësishëm i saj pas Durrësit, me një kështjellë, e cila, në shekullin IV, kishte 28 turra dhe 3 hyrje, pra ishte shumë e madhe. Më 509 Skamën e njohim qendër peshkopate. Në shekullin VII atë e rrënuan shumë keq vërshimet e barbarëve dhe, me kohë, emri antik i humbi. Në shekullin XV, qyteti quhej Valmi, sipas emrit të një popullate rreth tij.

Periudha osmane
Duke mos arritur ta pushtonte Shqipërinë, sulltan Mehmeti II, më 1466, e rindërtoi qytetin mbi muret e vjetra të tij dhe e bëri një bazë ku mund të grumbullonte 100 mijë e më shumë ushtarë. Qytetin e quajtën turqisht Elbasan, që do të thotë ''Kala dominuese''. Por Shqipëria nuk u pushtua e gjitha veçse më 1479, 11 vjet pas vdekjes së udhëheqësit të madh të rezistencës së saj kundër osmanëve, Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu. Ai gjatë 25 vjetëve, theu më shumë se 30 armata turke. Krah i djathtë i tij ishte Gjergj Araniti, princ nga viset e Elbasanit, i një familjeje feudale të lidhur me derën e perandorëve komnenë të Bizantit dhe që i dha Bizantit, në shekullin XI, dy kryegjeneralë. Araniti ka meritën se korri fitoret e para kundër vërshimit turk në vitet ‘30 të shekullit XV. Ai i dha Skënderbeut të bijën për grua. I nipi i tij, Mojsi Golemi, i cili lindi në Valm, ishte si kryegjenerali i ushtrisë së Skënderbeut.

Elbasani i rindërtuar u popullua shpejt nga shqiptarët e krahinave pranë. Në shekullin XVI, ai ishte qendër sanxhaku (ndarje e madhe administrative osmane). Ai kishte rreth 2 mijë shtëpi dhe u bë një nga qendrat e njohura të Shqipërisë për tregtinë dhe kulturën e tij. Elbasani tregëtonte me viset e ndryshme të Ballkanit, me Italinë dhe Europën Qendrore. Tregëtarët e tij i gjejmë në Venedik, Triestë, Budapest, Vienë e gjer thellë në Poloni. Doemos edhe në Shkup, Selanik, Bukuresht e Stamboll. Në shekullin XVIII, qyteti kishte një artizanat të zhvilluar, sidomos për argjendarinë. Ai eksportonte prodhime blegtorale dhe bujqësore, vaj dhe lëkura kafshësh.

Periudha e shekullit XX
Në shekullin XIX-XX, Elbasani luajti një rol të dukshëm në lëvizjen e Rilindjes Kombëtare Shqiptare, për çlirimin nga sundimi i gjatë osman. Turqit ia rrënuan atëhetë kështjellën Elbasanit dhe prej saj, sot mbetet vetëm balli jugor me portën e tij, i dëmtuar. Kjo kështjellë katrore kishte një perimetër prej 1.200 m. Shteti i lirë shqiptar u arrit të shpallej më 1912. Aqif Pashë Biçaku, elbasanas, ishte një nga patriotët më të shquar të kohës, që veproi për krijimin dhe konsolidimin e tij (vdiq më 1926). Ai shtet u krijua tepër i cunguar nga Fuqitë e Mëdha : gjysma e popullatës shqiptare iu aneksua me të përdhunë shteteve fqinjë, Malit të Zi, Serbisë dhe Greqisë.

Më 1938, Elbasani kishte më pak se 13 mijë banorë dhe ishte gati po ai qytet i vjetër i tipit oriental dhe po ai treg i vjetër, ku sapo krijohet një industri e vogël e vajit dhe e duhanit (cigares). Xhamitë dhe teqet (tempuj myslimanë) ishin me dhjetra. Xhamia më e madhe ka qenë Xhamia e Ballies në qendër të qytetit e shkatërruar si shumë të tjera nga regjimi komunist diktatorial e ateist. Xhamia Mbret, e fundit të shekullit XV, ruhet ende brenda kalasë. Xhamia Nazireshtës (emër gruaje), e shekullit XVII, ruhet e prishur buzë lumit të Shkumbinit. Teqja e madhe e Bektashinjve është i shekujve XVIII-XIX. Bektashinjtë janë një sekt mysliman me prirje pantesite dhe liberale. Kisha e Shën Mërisë, në kala, u rindërtua në fillimë të shekullit XIX dhe ka ikona me interes. Manastiri i Shën Gjon Vladimirit, 4 km nga Elbasani, në perëndim, i shkatërruar gjatë Luftës II Botërore, po rimerr jetë. Ai u themelua më 1382 nga princi shqiptar Karl Topia, që u varros aty dhe që kishte nën sundim pjesën më të madhe të Shqipërisë së sotme. 12 km në jug të qytetit, është një stacion termal i dëgjuar, Llixha, që njihet që nga periudha e Romës. Në kodrinat perëndimore të qytetit, janë zbuluar rrënojat e një kishe paleokristiane e shekullit V, me mozaik. Pranë Shën Gjonit është zbuluar një banjë antike romake. Zbulimi i fundit i mozaikut në qendër të qytetit, poshtë rrënjëve të Rrapit të Bezistanit, është një dëshmi tjetër e lashtësisë autoktone të qytetit të vjetër ilir.

Elbasani luajti një rol të dukshëm në Luftën Antifashiste të viteve 1941-1944. Shtabi i përgjithshëm i Ushtrisë nacionalçlirimtare (partizane) e kishte qendrën në viset malore të lindjes së qytetit. Në krahinën e Shpatit, nën Elbasan, u krijua, në ditët e kapitullimit të Italisë fashiste, Brigada XVIII (ushtria çlirimtare kishte 30 brigada, që formonin divizione dhe armata, me rreth 70 mijë vetë). Elbasani u çlirua më 11 nëntor 1944, në luftë me nazistët gjermanë, që kishin zëvendësuar fashistët italianë në shtator 1943.

Gjatë regjimit komunist
Në gjysmën e dytë të shekullit tonë, Elbasani u bë një nga qendrat më të rëndësishme të industrializimit të Shqipërisë. Ai jepte rreth 1/10 e industrisë së vendit, prodhimi i së cilës e kalonte prodhimin bujqësor e blegtoral. U krijuan, që nga vitet ‘60 në Elbasan uzina dhe kombinate për punimin e drurit, prodhimin e çimentos e të lëndëve të ndërtimit, për parafabrikate, u shtua shumë industria e lehtë, posaçërisht ajo ushqimore, u ngrit një kombinat i shkrirjes së hekur-nikelit e i prodhimit të çelikut me lëndën e vendit. Më 1990, qyteti kishte mbi 20 mijë puntorë të industrisë. Në fushën e Elbasanit, rreth 20 km nga qyteti, u krijua një qytet i ri, Cerriku, me afër 15 mijë banorë, rreth një uzine të përpunimit të naftës. Në ato vite, Elbasani nisi të përshkonte hekurudha nga Durrësi mbi detin Adriatik, në Pogradec mbi liqenin e Ohrit. Elbasani që lidhej me qytetet e tjera të vendit me rrugë automobilistike, u lidh me hekurudhë me Vlorën, portin e dytë të vendit, në jug, me Tiranën, me Shkodrën, qyteti i madh i veriut shqiptar. Që këtu, hekurudha lidhet me sistemi hekurudhor evropian, përmes Malit të Zi. Më përpara, Shqipëria nuk ka pasur hekurudha. Por i gjithë regjimi komunis dhe diktatorial ishte një dështim që mbajti të izoluar vendin dhe varfëroi popullsinë, ku lulëzoi lufta e klasave dhe burgjet politike.

Kultura dhe personalitetet e saj
Elbasani është një nga qendrat kryesore kulturore të Shqipërisë. Në shekullin XVI, aty ka jetuar piktori i madh kishtar shqiptar, Onufri, i cili më 1554 pikturonte në kishat e krahinës së Shpatit. Ai punoi si ikonograf dhe afreskist, sidomos në Berat, qyteti i jugut të vendit, por edhe gjer në Shkup të Maqedonisë dhe Kostur të Greqisë. I biri, Nikolla, edhe ai piktor i kishës ortodokse, punoi gjer në Bullgari, te shqiptarët e atjeshëm pranë Tërnovos.

I pari autor elbasanas, prej të cilit na ka arritur diçka e shkruar shqip, një Anonim, i cili ka nisur të indetifikohet me një Theodhor Bogomili, jetoi në fillimet e shekullit XVII. Ai përktheu shqip disa pjesë të ungjijëve për nevojat e meshës, duke lënë edhe një predikim të lirë fetar. Shqipen e shkroi me një alfabet origjinal, siç e shkruan edhe të tjerë pas tij me alfabete të tilla, sepse kishin mendimin që shqipja, gjuhë e ndryshme nga gjuhët e tjera të Europës (ajo përbën më vete një degë të gjuhëve indoevropiane), duhej shkruar me një alfabet të vetin. Sot e që nga shekulli XIV të paktën, ajo shkruhet me alfabetin latin.

Me një alfabet që e krijoj ai vetë, e shkroi shipen në Elbasan edhe Theodhor Haxhifilipi ose Todhri, i mirënjohur si Dhaskal Todri, duke përkthyer Testamentin e Vjetër dhe Testamentin e Ri, si dhe disa shërbesa të kishës ortodokse. Alfabeti i tij u përdor prej tregtarëve të kohës elbasanas për të mbajtur librat e tyre të llogarive, si dhe nga klerikë e persona të ndyshëm, që edhe korresponduan me të. Kisha thyhej pjesërisht shqip në Elbasan gjatë atij shekulli, po dhe më parë, me gjithë luftën që i bëhej nga Partiarkana e Stambollit dhe pushtuesi osman. Osmanët i persekutonin egërsisht ata që shruanin shqip dhe përhapnin shkrimin e gjuhës së tyre. Dhaskal Todrin e vrau kisha greke. Edhe Kryepeshkopi i parë i Kishës Ortodokse Autoqefale Kombëtare Shqiptare është nga Elbasani, At Visarion Xhuvani, varri i të cilit ndodhet në Shijon

Në shekullin XIX, elbasanasi Kostandin Kristoforidhi (1826-1895), u bë një nga lëruesit më të ndritur të shkrimit të shqipes, duke përkthyer, i katërti shqiptar gjatë 200 vjetëve, Testamentin e Ri dhe pjesë nga Testamenti i Vjetër, për Shoqërinë londineze të Biblës (Bible Society of London), që e kish botuar së pari më 1827, dhe veçanërisht me fjalorin e madh të shqipes që la (fjalori i parë i shqipës është botuar më 1635). Kristoforidhi njihet edhe si “babai i gjuhës shqipe”.

Shkolla e parë shqipe në Elbasan është hapur më 2 gusht 1908 e cila mori emrin “Naim Frashëri”. Më 1909, elbasanasit arritën të themelonin në qytetin e tyre shkollë Normale, e para shkollë e mesme shqipe, e cila nxorri nga bankat e saj disa mijëra mësues për shkollat në gjuhën amtare. Hapja e shkollës Noramle erdhi pas mbajtjes së Kongresit të Elbasanit më shtator 1909. Me plot gojën mund të thuhet se shkolla Noramle është dhe Universiteti i Parë Shqiptar. Ndër mësuesit e parë të saj ishin elbasanasit Aleksandër Xhuvani dhe Simon Shuteriqi, por edhe nga Kosova Ahmet Gashi, edhe nga Çamëria Salih Çeka etj. Drejtor ishte atdhetari dhe demokrati i shquar shqiptar nga Shkodra, Luigj Gurakuqi, emrin e të cilit e mban sot shkolla e mesme pedagogjike, si pasuese e shkollës Normale. Emrin e Xhuvanit, filolog me shumë merita, (1880-1961), mban Universiteti i Elbasanit. Ndër të diturit më të shquar elbasanas, studiues e shkencëtarë përmendim Kostaq Cipon (1895-1955) e Mahir Domin (1915), filofog historianin Aleks Buda (1911-1993), kryetar i parë i Akademsë së Shkencave të Shqipërisë (themeluar më 1972), arkeologun Hasan Ceka (1902), folkloristin Qemal Haxhihasani (1918-1990), botanistin Kolë Paparisto (1914-1980), studiuesin e shquar Shyqyri Demiri, kimisti Kolë Popa, shkencëtari Teki Biçoku, etj. Të gjithë këta kanë qenë akademikë dhe me tituj të ndryshë të shkolluar të gjithë në shtetet Perëndimore të Europës.
Po ashtu një nga njerëzit e shquar dhe euridit me peshë në gjysmën e parë të shekullit XX është edhe Lef Nosi nga lagja Kala. Ai është nënshkrues i Shpalljes së Pavarësisë së bashku me Ismail Qemalin dhe ministri i parë i Post Telekomunikacionit të qeverisë së Vlorës më 1912. Po ashtu Lef Nosi është një ng njerëzit e nderuar të qytetit që u pushkatua nga regjimi komunist më shkurt 1946.

Në shtator 1941 rreth 400 nxënës të shkollës Normale dhe nxënës që kishin mbaruar shkollën Teknike Amerikane të Fullsit në Tiranë iu bashkuan vendimit të ministrit të rsimit të kohës, Ernest Koliqi, për të shkuar në të gjitha trojet shqiptare për hapjen e shkollave shqipe në Kosovë, Çamëri, Maqedoni e Mal të Zi. Një pjesë e këtyre mësuesve u kthyen dhe një pjesë tjetër mbeti atje edhe sot e kësaj dite, si një kontribut i Elbasanit në përhapjen e arsimit dhe shkollave shqipe në të gjithë trojet shqiptare. Fatkeqësisht ky çast historik i rëndësishëm nuk përmendet me qëllim, duke bërë që kontributi i mësuesve dhe i vetë ministrit Koliqi të futen në kalendat greke, kur dihet se fara që mbollën mësuesit e asaj kohe i dha frutet e veta shqiptare.

Kalaja e Elbasanit
Në brendësi të qytetit ndodhet edhe Kalaja e Elbasanit. Ajo përfaqëson një castrum statum, qëndër e një legjioni romak. Kjo kala ka formën e një katërkëndëshi kënddrejtë me përmasa 308 x 348 m. Brenda saj kryqëzohen dy rrugë : decumanus ne drejtimin lindje-perëndim dhe cardo në drejtimin veri-­jug. Kalaja qarkohej për mbrojtje nga një hendek 3 metra i thellë i cili mbushej me ujë nga përroi i Zaranikës. Ajo ka pasur katër hyrje që mbroheshin nga kullat dhe e gjithë kështjella ishte e paisur me 26 copë kulla. Katër nga këto kulla kanë qënë të vendosura nëpër qoshet dhe kanë pasur formë të rregullt rrethore, dy të tjera kanë qënë kulla-hyrje të vendosura në pjesën fundore të rrugës cardo, ndërsa 20 kullat që mbesin, kanë pasur formën e shkronjës U. Kullat ishin të ndërtuara të dala jashtë murit rrethues në largësi 8-9 metra larg prej tij dhe 40-50 metra larg njëra-tjetrës.
Ndërtimi i kalasë së Elbasanit ka kaluar nëpër tri periudha historike :
- Periudha e vonë romake
- Periudha e hershme bizantine
- Periudha osmane

Muri i kalasë është ndërtuar me gurë të pa punuar dhe sipas teknikës opus mixtum (faqet anësore të murit jane të drejta, ndërsa brendia është e përzier gurë dhe llaç, në forme të crregullt) e përforcuar me breza të përbërë prej katër rreshta tullash. Trashësia e murit rrethues është 3 metra, kurse lartësia mendohet të ketë qenë 12 metra.
Koha e ndërtimit te kalasë së Elbasanit. sipas analizës që i bëhet fortifikimeve romake në Ballkan. përcaktohet në kohën e perandorit romak Diokleciani (284­305). Kjo kala me sipërfaqe rreth 10 hektarë ka shërbyer për strehimin e një legjioni romak që ka pasur si detyrë sigurimin e lëvizjeve nëpër Egnatian. Aktualisht ruhen në gjendje të mirë muret e anës jugore dhe pjesërisht muret në lindje dhe në perëndim të saj, ndërsa muret e anës veriore janë zhdukur tërësisht dhe mbi to janë ndërtuar banesa të ndryshme.
Kjo kështjellë përbën edhe zanafillën e qytetit të ardhshëm të Skamp-ës i cili mori hov edhe nga pozicioni i favorshëm gjeografik.

Nga studimet arkeologjike mendohet se qyteti mori formë si i tille në periudhën midis dyndjes së fiseve visigote në vitin 378 dhe dyndjes tjetër të fiseve ostrogote në gjysmën e dytë të shek V, pra ndërmjet të dyja këtyre dyndjeve.
Sulltan Mehmeti II- Fatiu, gjatë rrethimit të dytë të Krujës në vitin 1466, e pa të nevojeshme të rindërtojë kalanë e Elbasanit mbi themelet e vjetra të periudhës romako-bizantine. Dokument i këtij ndërtimi është një pllakë guri që ka qenë e mbërthyer në anën jugore të Portës së Kalasë. Në mbishkrimin e gjatë në arabisht të asaj pllake ndër të tjera thuhet:
" ... ndërtuar ka këtë kala të bukur ... të quajtur Yil-basan ... në muajin Dhulhabe 870 brenda 25 ditëve ... " (qershor - korrik 1466).
Fjala Yil-basan është turqisht dhe do të thotë Yil-vend dhe basan-vendos, shkel, dhe ka kuptim kala zotëruese etj. Pranë fjalës Yil-basan u përdor më vonë fjala El-basan që do te thotë: El - dore dhe basan- vura, vendos, shkel, dhe që ka kuptimin zotëroj këtë vend. Të dyja këto forma përdoren deri në shek XIX, derisa forma e dytë e mënjanon të parën. Në muajt prill-maj 1467 Skënderbeu e sulmon kalanë e Elbasanit, por pa mundur që ta pushtojë.

Gjatë shek.XVI elementi i krishterë vendas e kishte të vështirë të përdorte fjalën Yilbasan dhe përdori termin greqisht Neokastro - Kalaja e re. Italianët përdoren termin Terra Nuova apo Citta Nuova, ndërsa sllavët përdoren term in e tyre Novigrad dhe të gjitha këto terma kanë kuptimin: qytet i ri. Termin më të hershëm me të cilin është thirrur qyteti i Elbasanit me emrin e ri, e gjejmë në historinë e Markezit Gulielmo (7) shkruar në vitin 1519 nga sekretari i tij De Santogiorgio. Aty flitet për Kostandin Arianitin : "Ai zotëron akoma një vend që tani thirret prej turqve Il Basan ... ", pra 43 vjet pas themelimit të qytetit. Ndërkohë emri Skampa, që prej kohës së Perandorit Romak Justiniani (shek.VI e.s.) nuk përdoret më në administratën e kohës duke i bërë vend emrit të ri, Valmi ose Elbasan. Emri Valmi do të vazhdojë të përdoret në listat e peshkopëve deri në shek. XVI, siç del nga një dokument i vitit 1507.

Në vitin 1899 në një nga kullat e kallasë në pjesën jugore u ndërtua edhe kulla e sahatit që është ende edhe sot në gjendje pune dhe krenari i qytetit që e ka. Ajo ngrihet e lartë si simbol i Elbasanit dhe që është mirëmbajtur jo vetëm si kullë që është në gjendje të mirë, por edhe mekanizmi i sahatit të tij

Në anën përëndimore të qytetit të Elbasanit, në kodrën me ullishta që ndodhet fare pranë me Urën e Zaranikës, e njohur nga vendasit me emrin Tepe (turqisht-kodër), janë zbuluar rrënojat e një kishe. E njohur me emrin Bazililë e Tepes, ajo është monumenti më i rëndësishëm që lidhet me Skampën e Antikitetit të vonë. Kjo bazilikë paleokristiane e shek. IV e.s. është një nga më të vjetrat në botën antike. Ajo është të paktën 7 shekuj më e vjetër se monumentet kishtare që përdorin sllavët në Kosovë dhe Maqedoni.
E gjitha kjo tregon qartë se shqiptarët në të gjitha viset, si dhe Elbasani në përbërje të tyre, kishin arritur një shkallë të lartë të qytetërimit dhe të vetorganizimit.

Rrapi i Mansit - (mansio-ish stacion i rrugës Egnatia) - Gjendet në periferinë 1indore të qytetit të Elbasanit i ndodhur përballë me anën veriore të Krastës së Madhe ku në mes të tyre kalon rruga automobi1istike. Ky stacion antik i rrugës Egnatia kishte një rëndësi të madhe. Para ndërtimit aty të Teqese së Madhe të Bektashinjëve në vitin 1803, banorët e Elbasanit e quanin atë vend Ledhja e Madhe, toponim popullor që i referohej rrënojave antike që ndodheshin aty, pasi mendohej se pikërisht në këtë vend mund të ketë qenë një katedra1e romane. Në vitin 1826 Sulltan Mahmuti i shpartalloi jeniçerët, pasi disa prej krerëve të tyre ishin bektashinj dhe me këtë rast ai urdhëroi mbylljen e institucioneve bektashiane në gjithë Perandorinë Osmane. Në E1basan, nxitja fanatike kundër teqesë në fjalë, ishte aq e madhe, saqë propogandohej se: "kush shkul nje gur nga teqeja, është njëlloj sikur ka shkue e ka ba haxhillëk në Mekë". Në vitin 1914 teqja plaçkitet dhe digjet nga njerëzit e Haxhi Qamilit të cilët ishin rebe1uar në një Iëvizje të armatosur konservatore prosunite e proturke. Kështu pra, u zhduk çdo gjurmë e këtij stacioni famëmadh të Egnatias.

Kisha e Shën Gjon Vladimirit - Legjenda thotë se ngjarja zë fill në shek.XI. Gjon Vladimiri ishte një prine nga Mali i Zi i cili ishte i fejuar me vajzën e mbretit bullgar me seli në qytetin e Ohrit. Gjatë rrugës për në Ohër dhe anasjelltas, Gjon Vladimiri kalonte nëpër Elbasan dhe lutej te një kishë e vogël në fshatin Bradashesh. Mirëpo një ditë mbreti bullgar i nxitur nga xhelozia për princin e ri apo nga frika se mos Gjoni do t'i zinte vendin, e vret Gjon Vladimirin pabesisht. Për nder të tij, disa vite më vonë princi shqiptar Karl Topia e rindërtoi dhe e zmadhoi kishën dhe e bëri vend pelegrinazhi për besimtarët orthodoksë. Prej asaj kohe dhe në shekujt në vazhdim, data 4 qershor e çdo viti, është datë që në kishën e mësipërme organizohen shërbesa fetare në nderim të princit malazez. Arka me eshtrat e Gjon Vladimirit, e quajtur ndryshe Lipsani dhe i ruajtur prej 1000 vjetësh fillimisht në kishën e Shën Joan Vladimirit e më pas ka qënë e vendosur në ambjentet e kishës "Shën Maria" ne lagjen Kala në Elbasan, në vitin 1999 u muar nga Kisha Orthodokse me qendër në Tiranë.

Sot Elbasani është një qytet i rindërtuar tërësisht dhe me një popullsi prej 130 mijë banorësh që dallohet veçanërisht për tolerancë fetare dhe bashkëjetesën e besimeve myslimane, ortodokse, katolike dhe bektashiane, po aq s dallohet edhe për arsimin dhe traditat e kahershme dhe figurat e shquara të fushave të shumta në shkencat shqiptare dhe në rrethet akademike.