Kisha e Shën Kolli

Cercka Albania

[Albanian Orthodox]

Once there were 13 churches in Cercka, most destroyed when religion was outlawed under Hoxha's Communist regime. St. Nicholas church, the largest in the village, was ruined during the 1960s when it was turned into an arms depot and warehouse. The laurel tree in front of St. Nicholas Church was planted when the Ottomans invaded. A villager brought a sprig of laurel from Istanbul and it grew and grew.