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Pëllumb Kovaçi, the master who gives life to metal in the Old Market of Korça

2024-01-01 18:30:00, Qyteti im CNA

Pëllumb Kovaçi, the master who gives life to metal in the Old Market

Crafts in Korça before the 1990s were highly developed, with various professions such as blacksmith, shoemaker, mechanic, carpenter, and many others. But it seems that in recent years, there are very few artisans who continue to keep the old Korça tradition alive, and one of these artisans is exactly Pëllumb Kovaçi. From the last name, we clearly understand that his profession is a blacksmith, or otherwise a master of metal processing, turning it into various mainly agricultural tools.

70-year-old Pëllumb Kovaçi doesn't leave his old two-story apartment in the city's old bazaar. He has inherited the profession from his father and grandfather for many generations.

"I have inherited this profession from many generations. I have had a passion for it since childhood, when my father worked with my grandfather, I came and wanted to work, but I did not have the opportunity. Over time, I watched them work and a extraordinary pleasure. With this work since childhood until now that I am 70 years old, I am satisfied, because I satisfy myself first and then the peasantry, but I also get those material benefits. In a word, it is pleasure when you spend the lek with the sweat of your brow."

Pëllumb Kovaçi, the master who gives life to metal in the Old Market

The metal craftsman tells CNA TV that he turns iron into tools by hand, mainly into agricultural tools that are most sought after by the villagers. It shows viewers a process of making an axe.

"I generally make agricultural tools, but now the work has fallen for us craftsmen because the factories make them, they have the tractors, they melt the material and take it out. While we make the crafts, we take a simple piece of iron and turn it into a tool. It's sculpture and there are difficulties when doing it in an artisanal way.

I will take the ax as an example. As a process, he takes the crossbow, cuts it into shape, then gives it the full shape with beating. He grinds it, puts it in the mold, tempers it, sharpens it and it is in working condition. It takes something simple and gives it the right shape."

A difficult craft, but for the Pigeon perfectly learned, and which does not impress him no matter how difficult it is. With great regret, Kovaçi says that his children have not inherited this profession, for various reasons.

Pëllumb Kovaçi, the master who gives life to metal in the Old Market

"This profession has many difficulties because it has both the technique and the difficulties of work. I am used to this work and I am not impressed that I have been practicing for many years, 50 or more years of work.

I am sorry that my children are not inheriting it, because they have the desire, but there is not much work for them to afford and live normally. Now our work fell, because of the factories that were opened. I'm in gear but the kids have a hard time not pulling them in."

If a country or a person loses its traditions, it is very bad, because tradition is a big thing - says Pëllumb Kovaçi. The whole bazaar was full of artisans, while it was also divided into streets named after them.

Pëllumb Kovaçi, the master who gives life to metal in the Old Market

"As far as I remember, the whole street here used to be blacksmith shops, even from the shoe factory there were blacksmith shops. I will talk about the bazaar part, the street here was Rruga e Koveçëve, the other Rruga e Kallanxinjve, in turn Rruga e Tenexxinjve, Rruga e Cobblers, etc. It was an extraordinary beauty, and today things have changed. I regret that I have reached that time, there were traditions. If a country or a person loses traditions, it is too bad, tradition is a great thing."

Since many tourists visit Korça, but also the Old Market of the city, we ask the craftsman if tourists come to his shop. Here he tells us one of the most beautiful memories that some foreign French tourists have given him, which shows the great importance of this craft. Among other things, there was no lack of calling for young people to keep the old crafts alive and to honor the old Korça tradition.

Pëllumb Kovaçi, the master who gives life to metal in the Old Market

"Tourists come a lot, they are very curious and they are attracted to this profession because they feel a great satisfaction when they look at the blacksmith's work, as one of the most ancient professions.

Two elderly women from France came to me, they were sitting in front of the door and did not come in because it was difficult for them. I told them order and they entered. One of them hugged me because her father was a blacksmith, and I couldn't resist, I was very impressed.

I will tell the young people something that is reality. It should be introduced to the professions that they give honor above all, respect, supports the family with the sweat of the brow. I urge you to take my word for it, it will be worth it later."

The knocking of the hammer has been heard for more than 100 years in the area of ??the old Market of Korça, while today, only the hammer of Pëllumb Kovaci is alive, the only heir who has continued the tradition of this craft. Although he has little income, his love for this profession makes his shop open to all Korcarians and beyond./ CNA TV

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