On the Asphalt Path to Divinity

Contemporary Transformations in Albanian Bektashism: The Case of Sari Saltik Teqe in Kruja

in Anthropological Journal of European Cultures
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This article presents one of the many faces of contemporary Islam in the Balkans, that of the Bektashi community in Albania, and specifically the Sari Saltik teqe (sanctuary) on Kruja mountain. In so doing, it sheds light on the role of religion in 'post-atheist' Albania, while taking into account major changes to the religious landscape in the post-communist, and arguably post-transformation context. The essay ethnographically examines the challenges posed by societal changes for the Kruja teqe, which is undergoing its own micro-scale technological revolution in the form of a newly constructed asphalt road to the top of the mountain, which will likely have far-reaching consequences for the shrine and the whole local community. The essay thus illustrates how Albanian society has become entangled with the turbulent processes of modernisation, increased mobility and the globalising world.