Edith Durham was the first English woman to set foot in Berat in 1904, when was greeted by Albanian local people with this message “God has sent you to save us”. A traveller, writer and relief worker, she is still remembered in the country that she championed.
In Albania’s Mountain Queen, Marcus Tanner traces her travels through the Balkans in the years preceding the First Word War, drawing on her writings and setting them against a historical background. The result is a vivid story of a woman and her time.
Born in London, Durham first visited the Balkans in 1900, already in her late thirties, and the trip proved a turning point in her life. Initially supportive of Serbia, Durham changed her allegiances with time. For a while she was on the side of Montenegro, having become close to its royal family, but her sympathy for Albania proved the greatest. After the country proclaimed its independence in 1912, Durham immediately realised that the question of borders would have to be solved and managed to alert the powers in London to the problem.