Starting off as an ancient Illyrian settlement, Puka was founded along an important trade route from Shkodra near the Adriatic across the mountains to Prizren and onwards to the Danube. The town’s name quite possibly comes from the Roman word for this route, Via Publica. In the Ottoman era, fortresses and customs posts were built along the route to control it. Now a small town of apartment blocks, villas and farms set at 838 metres height some 60 winding kilometres east of Shkodra, the lively town has recently been upgraded with a pedestrianised main street. It’s an excellent base for exploring the region, with several accommodation options.
This travel guide is one of five regional In Your Pocket guides produced in cooperation with the Albanian Ministry of Tourism and Environment (Ministria e Turizmit dhe Mjedisit, www.turizmi.gov.al). Copies of the guide are free and can be found at local municipalities, accommodations and tourist information centres, as well as at Tirana’s airport and embassies.
There are three guides for destinations in north Albania: Shkodra, Theth & Velipoja; Malësia e Madhe; and Puka, Vau i Dejës & Fushë-Arrëz. In southern Albania, two guides cover Gjirokastra and the Vjosa River Valley around Tepelene and Përmet. In Your Pocket also has a guide for Tirana.