The Christian Orthodox Monastery of Ardenica is one of the most visited historic and cult monuments in the district of Lushnje, but also in all of Albania. This important monument of worship stands in the hills that bear the same name, at a height of about 200 meters on the sea level. On the Fier-Vlora road, near the village of Kolonjë, there is the monastery of Ardenica. Like an old monk, majestic, he remains seated on the top of the beautiful hill in a natural context of peace. Cypresses, pines and lush trees hold this ‘old man’ between them and release drops of dew on its walls deteriorated by time. His shadow makes him a sort of powerful magnet that draws you to visit him.
In the east part of the monastery is the village of Kolonjë, in the south the village of Ardenica, while in the west there is the village of Libofshë.
There are no exact records regarding the date of construction of the monastery and by whom it was built. It is thought to have been built in the 12th century on the site of the former chapel of San Triadhe, built there a century earlier. This was confirmed by the director of the historical museum of Lushnja, Niko Ferra, who accompanied the journalists in reporting on the monastery. Near the building, in the western part, ruins of an ancient Roman road were discovered which connected it to the Via Egnatia. In this monastery, Abbot Nektar Terpo, a native of Voskopoja, painted a fresco-style prayer in 1731. The prayer was written in four languages: Latin, Greek, Roman and Albanian. The latter could perhaps be the first form of written Albanian.
This monastery today is not only a cult monument where various monks continue to take refuge: inside, in fact, there is the Church of Santa Maria, the chapel of San Triadhe, the oil mill and the stables for the animals .
Moreover, it is also a tourist attraction for visitors curious about history and cultural monuments.
Its location in the stretch of road that leads to both Fier and Vlora makes it more visitable, given that more than 10,000 visitors go there every year.
The care and maintenance by the Albanian government and the Lushnje district of the stretch of road that leads right to the monastery has made it an attractive destination for tourists. The visitor who climbs the hill of the monastery can enjoy a wonderful natural landscape, which includes the lands of Myzeqe, the lagoon of Karavasta and the Adriatic sea.
The wonderful landscape from that height also shows the ancient pine trees of the city of Divjakë. At the foot of the monastery there are not only splendid natural landscapes, but also an inhabited center since ancient times where today the ruins of the walls of the ancient city can be observed.
Spending a few hours in the monastery teaches you many things: from the famous painters of Voskopojë who painted the walls of the monastery with works such as ‘Scanderbeg’s marriage’, astronomical maps, inside the church where there are still monks, the which takes you back in time to the time of the hermits.
But more than anything else, today the Ardenica monastery is a relaxing place for tourists to spend a few hours there. In its suburbs there are luxurious restaurants that serve with professionalism and unforgettable landscapes that combine optimally with the traditional cuisine of the place.