Përmeti is a rather nondescript town, but in many ways the spiritual heart of Albanian communism. It was very deeply involved in the anti- Fascist struggle and as a result was completly burnt down by the Germans in 1943-1944. So all the buildings are modern. Much of the population of the surrounding mountains is of Vlach descent.
A British Special Operations Executive liason officer, T.W. Tilman, passing through Përmet in August 1943, noted the damage the area had suffered in the Balkan Wars of 1911-1912, and other recent conflict:
''There was no sign of the war until we reached the town of Përmet: but of past wars there were many, for in this troubled country there are few places free from scars. The village of Frasher, for example which we passed had been ravaged by the Greeks in 1914 in company with 150 other Albanian villages; and on the highest mountains one would find stone sangards and heaps of spent cartridges fired by the Greeks in their campaign against the Italians. Përmeti itself had suffered in that campaign, and had recently been burnt again by the Italians as a reprisal for some partisan action."
The town is first mentioned in 15th century chronicles, although there must almost certainly have been an ancient settlement on the site. It grew as a small Ottoman administrative and trade centre, and was an early centre of the Albanian nationalist movement in the 19th century. It was also a centre of resistance to Greek irredentism at the end of that century.
The nationalist association, Bashkimi (Unity) was formed in Përmet in 1909. The 6th Partisan Brigade was found here by Enver Hoxha and Mehmet Shehu in 1943. On the 24th of May 1944 the anti-Fascist Congress of Liberation was held, always known in Albania as the Congress of Përmet, which laid the political foundation for the communist take-over in the autumn of that year.
The town is the birthplace of some of the most important patriots of Albania. The Frashëri brothers played a key role in the renaissance period with their publications and national awakening campaign.
One interesting site is the "Rock of the City" which stands between the river and the main city loop highway. If you like hiking and hunting, Dhëmbeli mountain above Përmet, at a height of 2050 metres, is the perfect place to go. Don't forget to take a dive in the chilly waters of the Vjosa. The river is very beautiful, particularly after heavy rain: a torrent rushing over large boulders.
Whereas in other parts of Southern Albania, especially Gjirokastër, grapes are used to make the ubiquitous and often-superb Raki (Grappa), Përmet is famous for its raki made from plums, like the Slivovitsa of Serbia, Croatia, Slovakia etc.
And whereas in the last days of Gjirokastriote Enver Hoxha the formerly-closed fortress of Gjirokastër hosted a genuine international Folk Festival, it is now Përmet which is a centre of musical excellence.
Part or or all of this text stems from the original article at: Edialrour