Map southern Albania

Old Bridge of Konitsa

In the gorge of Këlcyra

Vjosa at Tepelenë

View from Byllis on the lower reaches of Vjosa

The Vjosa (Albanian Vjosë ) or Aoös (Greek Αώος ) is a river which rises in Epirus in northwestern Greece and empties into Albania in the Adriatic Sea.

The course of the river Vjosa has been spared to date from too great colonization and industrialization. The mouth is located away from major towns in an unspoilt coastline. The Vjosa one of the few major natural rivers in Europe.


In Greece, ie the Vjosa Aoös; it is also the name Vojioussa and Vovoussa (Greek Βωβούσα ) familiar. Besides Aoös and Vjosa the term anion was used in ancient times. The latter goes back to Anios, a figure of Greek mythology. Anios was the son of Apollo and the Rhoeo.



The river rises in the Pindus Mountains east of Ioannina. The source is located at the mountain Mavrovouni. His course carries the Vjosa throughout the west. The river has a length of about 272 kilometers, of which the first 80 run on Greek territory. The Vjosa drains an area of 6706 km ². 2154 km ² of which are located within Greece - the only Greek territory that drained into the Adriatic. The average discharge at the mouth is 204 m³ / s In April, the discharge rate is approximately ten times higher than in August.


The headwaters in Greece takes place mostly through forested mountain landscape. Part of it is protected as a National Park of Vikos - Aoös, the ( 2497 m) extends around the Tymfi Mountains. In the second- largest wildlife sanctuary in Greece still live brown bears. The Voidomatis, a tributary of the Aoös, forms the impressive Vikos Gorge. The area is called Zagoria and is known as a hiking destination as well as for its beautiful villages, where many traditional stone houses are still preserved in Epirus style. Not far from Konitsa within the national park also happens the Aoös a narrow gorge. In Konitsa a historic arched stone bridge crosses the Aoös. From here the river valley is used for farming.

Middle reaches

Behind Konitsa the river passes through the Greek- Albanian border. At this point, coming from the east tributary joins a Sarantaporos, which forms the border several kilometers. A new border crossing now allows even people to follow the valley on.

In Albania, the Vjosa still flows through mostly natural landscape. The valley floor or the shore terraces are still used in places for intensive agriculture. The capital of this section is Përmet. In Këlcyra the river turns to the west and cuts through the Trebeshina - Dhëmbel - Nemërçka mountain range between the mountains and Trebeshina Dhëmbel. In Tepelenë the tributary joins a Drinos, which also drains coming from Greece the area around Gjirokastra. From here, the pollution of water by urban waste water increases significantly. The mountains along the river banks lose in the course significantly in height.

In a recent breakthrough between narrow a range of hills a hydroelectric power plant is being built at the time the village Kalivaç. The construction of the dam about 25 kilometers south of Tepelenë began in 2008 or shortly before. The dam will be 500 m long and 60 m wide. The licensed Italian company would annually produce 93.9 MW.


In the lower reaches between cities Fier and Vlora the Vjosa crosses the plane of the Myzeqe, the river is very wide and forms meanders. The most important tributary in this region is at the left opens out Selenica Shushica.

In the flat coastal plain, the course of the river bed in the past, changed repeatedly. Thus, the river bed was before an earthquake in the 3rd century a few kilometers further north. The ancient Apollonia was then located on a hill near the river and from the sea, the Vjosa was up to the ancient city of navigable. The port Appolonias was the starting point of the Via Egnatia. The earthquake silted up the harbor and the town suffered a rapid decline.