Heritage tourism in peripheral areas : the case of Saint George of Ioannina, a symbol of social resilience in southern Albania


This paper investigates the role of religious tourism in local and regional development, featuring the case study of a church reflecting the resilience of local communities, in developing sustainable and specific organized tours. The main focus is an analysis of prevailing motives and the creation of tourist visits to south Albania. Five centuries of Ottoman presence in Albania and other Balkan countries has left visible traces combining culture and religion. The occupation itself and Ottoman rule (1392-1912) was characterized by different waves, these introducing numerous elements of oriental art, construction, and architecture into the local heritage. Data were collected from municipal and regional entities using a survey of the perceptions of, and attitudes towards the development of heritage tourism. Various aspects of art, such as the mural frescoes depicting Saint George of Ioannina at the Holy Apostles Church in the southern Albanian village of Hoshteve, illustrate Albania’s endurance during the post-Byzantine period. The religious diversity of Albanian society and the preservation of social harmony and religious tolerance, particularly during the recent transitional period, has been of particular importance. The analyses show a clear connection between religious tourism and the advancement of a sustainable local economy. The article’s conclusions highlight the need for coordination between public and private entities as well as tourism management plans in order for regions to have a successful future as destinations for heritage tourism. As such problems are similar to those faced elsewhere, the findings of this survey can be applied to other peripheral areas.

Klíčová slova:
Post-Byzantine; resilience; cultural heritage; religious tourism; Albania



Crossref logo





PDF (English) views