In Albanian mythology, the Kuçedra is a dragon-like creature who awakens and brings great misfortune to the land. It blocks rivers, causes droughts in some places, flooding in others, and can only be placated through human sacrifice...
Kuçedra explores the landscapes and people of the Vjosa river in Albania, one of Europe's last free flowing rivers.
A key source of life for numerous endangered plant and animal species – many of which have disappeared from the rest of Europe’s rivers – the Vjosa also holds cultural and economic significance for the rural communities along its banks, which once played an important role in Albania's agricultural industry. These communities have since faced economic decline as support from the central government has waned.
The Vjosa and its tributaries are currently under threat from hydropower development, which would alter the flow of the river, harming life within it and displacing thousands of people due to the creation of reservoirs. This is part of a larger hydropower boom in the Balkans, funded by international investment banks, which could see the creation of up to 3,000 dams on Europe's last pristine river systems.
Through landscapes, portraits and interior details, this book portrays the environment of the Vjosa in its natural state, as it faces the threat of being changed forever. It's being published with support from Patagonia and their campaign, Save the Blue Heart of Europe (www.blueheart.patagonia.com), which seeks to end investment in destructive hydropower projects on rivers throughout the Balkans.