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Mount Tomorr (Baba Tomorri)

Not far from Berat’s city center, the ancient home of the Illyrian gods, Mount Tomorr (sometimes spelled Mount Tomor), rises some 2416 meters above sea level. The mountain is famous for the National Park Tomori (Parku Kombëtar Mali i Tomorrit), but also has a deeper, spiritual significance. This sacred mountain, named for and presided over in Albanian lore  by Baba Tomor or Father Tomor, carries a special significance among even modern day Albanians. Another of the country’s fascinating traditions, Tomor exemplifies much about the Albanian spirit.

Baba Tomor, accompanied by his eagle servants, his crafty fairy mistress E Bukura e Dheut, and numerous wind spirits, rules over Albania and the world beneath his perch on this mysterious mountain. Or so the story goes. E Bukura e Dheut, a mysterious beauty herself, serves to illustrate man’s duality with the gods, and women, her golden hair and black skin the ultimate temptation for heroes of old. A single lock of her hair containing magical, immeasurable powers. Her temperment, as fickle as the winds themselves.

The father of the gods though, seems to have stretch his mighty hand through eterenity, to the common man in Albania even today. It is said that peasants of this region still swear and out to Baba Tomor – and not just any oath. It is suggested this oath more powerful than any sworn in bible dogma, or the Koran – if one can envison this. The oath is sacred to Christians and those of the Bektashi Order – Christians still climb the mountain to honor the Virgin Mary on Assumption Day – August 15th, while the Bektashi make their own pilgrimage later, from August 20-25, in honor of Abbas Ali.

The legend of this white bearded patriarch, this echo of a superb Illyrian god, goes on to tell of Tabor’s helpers, the four female eagles at his side. But, what is far more compelling, is the longevity of the devotion, the Albanian tradition, oaths and the word.

The Tomor legend, from the great work of oral tradition by Robert Elsie. The River valley Mt. Tomor image, courtesy chrisuebe.

The video below from YouTube by Ylli Baka – Baba Tomori – reveals just a bit of the spiritual nature of this place.

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