8 ottobre 2017

Kuçove has been an industrial city since the Italian influence in the early 1920s. Since 1928, the Italian company AIPA had an agreement with the Zog I government that if the oil extraction would surpass 50,000 tonnes per year, this company would build a refinery in Albania. In 1939 Albania was occupied by Italians and therefore, according to the customs of the Fascist regime, Kuçovë was renamed “Petrolia, oil city”, though the oil extracted was more than 170,000 ton, the refinery was never built and the oil was transported to Italy. After the Second World War, during Communist Albania the city was renamed to Stalin City (Albanian: Qyteti Stalin) and was a closed military district. For his great admiration for the Soviet dictator, and a large statue of Stalin was erected in the most important street in Kuçovë. The extractions continued throughout the century: no longer destined to Italy, was diverted to the Albanians oil rafinereis. But in 1990, with the final fall of the remnants of the communist regime, all its symbols were removed and also the original name was restored. The extraction of oil in Kuçovë still continue today: in the gardens of the houses and on the roadsides, the same Italian pumps are active and crystallized over time.