City

Geography of Gjakova

Geography of Gjakova
Gjakova with its vicinity, since the ancient times, had a very favorable geographic position. The city lies in the south-western part of the Dukagjini plain, between the Prizren-Peja road. In the past a part of the Via de Zenta road used to go through this area, starting from Shën Gjin in Adriatic Sea, continued through the city of Shkodra and the valley of Drini i Bardhë river in direction to Prizren and further towards east to Nish, Sofia and Constantinople. At Vau i Spasit this road was split in two directions, one leading to Prizren, while the other through Kruma valley, right side of Drini i Bardhë, village Letaj and Qafa e Prushit would lead to Gjakova and Peja.

Gjakova lies between the geographical latitude 42,22 and geographical longitude 20,26 in the left side of Ereniku river, in the east of Çabrati plains, in both sides of Krena river, in an average altitude of 365 meters. 

In south-west of Gjakova, lie the foothills of Sharr mountains, where the Has hillside area lies, which ends with the alluvial (river) plain of Ereniku. 

In the north of the city lay the Neogene plains of Piskota and Dushkaja. The hillocks of Kozniku, Cërmjan, Babajlloq and Hereç divide Gjakova plain from Dukagjini plain.

West of Çabrat with an altitude of 440-460 meters, lay Junik mountains and Shkelzen mountains – part of Accursed Mountains (Albanian Alps). 

East of Gjakova, where river Ereniku flows to the Drini i Bardhë delta, lies the lime plain of Gradisha, which divides the Gjakova plain from Prizren plain.

Low mountains with gorges such as Prushi Gorge, Dobruna Gorge, Morina Gorge, etc. have enabled the influence of the winds from Adriatic Sea through the Drini valley. Therefore, Gjakova and its vicinity have a medium continental climate with elements from the Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summers. 

The average temperature during July is 21,5 C, while in January the average temperature is -09 C. Summer months are dry, whereas winter months are humid. The average precipitation is 959,3 mm.

Gjakova plain is passed through by 80 flows of superficial waters with sources in the north in the Cërmjan mountain range and from the mountain crowns in the south of the city. All 80 streams pour their water in Erenik, which, with its branches, waters the fertile land of Gjakova. Its spring is in the glacier lakes of Gjeravica and it flows out in Dri river. It is 51 km long. From its most known left branches there is Bistrica e Lloqanit, that springs from the highs Plloça in the west of Gjaravica and by splitting Gjakova into two with the name Krena, flows out in Erenik. Trava and Trakaniqi are two typical plain rivers that flow out in Erenik.


Population 

The population of Gjakova since the very beginning it was in majority Albanians, ancestors of Illyrians, while there was a minority of Serbs, and later, after the colonization, there was a minority of Montenegrins also. In terms of religion, the vast majority were Muslims and Catholics (Albanians), whereas the minorities were Orthodox (Serbs and Montenegrins).

In lack of accurate statistical data on the number of population in the city and the vicinity until the second half of XIX century, we will mention the data of different travel writers, according to whom, the city in the XVII century had 2000 households, whereas in 1838 it had 1900 households with 21.000 inhabitants. In 1857 Gilgerding called Gjakova an Albanian city with 3500 Muslim Albanian houses, 70 Catholic and 60 Serb households. In 1879 the city and its vicinity had 15.210 inhabitants, 12.553 Muslims and 2.757 Christians. In 1900 according to Millojeviq, Gjakova had 4000 Muslim households and over 70 Serb households.  

In the city of Gjakova and its vicinity that covered 708 km2, in 1921 lived 32.847 inhabitants (30.798 Muslim and Catholic Albanians and 2.049 Orthodox Serbs and Montenegrins) which means that in 1921, 93,76% were Albanians, while 6,24% were Serbs, whereas in 1931, 85,91% were Albanians, while 14,09% were Serbs and Montenegrins.

Gjakova municipality, according to the census of 1971 has 71.367 inhabitants, 66.566 of them Albanians, 2.056 Serbs, 2.291 Montenegrins, 106 Roma,  2 Turkish and 346 others.

With 95% of Albanian population, Gjakova region presents one of the most homogenous areas in terms of national structure of the population. From 83 settlements, 54% are with 100% Albanian population, while in 23 the Albanian community prevailed. 
During different periods, population from Gjakova and vicinity was subject to different migrations due to historical reasons, economical, natural, psychological, epidemics, etc.
Nevertheless, Gjakova region has had a remarkable growth of population, which in the period 1948-1981 reached 130,5%. During this time the average density of the population grew by 2.5 times. Gjakova Region is the first in Dukagjini Plain with 157 inhabitants in a m2. Average birth rate of this region reaches 29,5 pro mille.
Population of the city of Gjakova has raised from 15.190  inhabitants in 1948 to 41.899 in the census of 1981, which means about 2,8 times owing to the intensive economical development. 
Based on the last census in Gjakova municipality there are 95 thousand inhabitants living.

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