From 24-28 March 2011 I was with my wife Pauline in Tirana for a conference of the Hizmet movement also known as the Fethullah Gülen network for education, social emancipation and interreligious harmony. In various short stories I will record some impressions of this most interesting and revealing trip.
There was a Bektashi leader present during the full two days of the conference, we heard about them as more or less the equivalent of the Sunni Muslims, but the Gülen people could not tell us much about them. We heard that there was a tèkè just behind the Opera building (in very poor condition). Indeed, after asking here and there we found the graves, the reception room in a great walled garden. The guard was very willing to show us everything, but we could not talk to each other. We recited together al fatihah that was in calligraphy on the wall, but for the rest we only had communication through gestures.
The first buried here is Sheh Ali Pazari, 1581-1615. According to information from people at the conference the present leader has followed the secondary school, the Turkish College. He was not in the reception room, a place that apparently also is used for zikr events. A giant rosary or tasbih can be used by more than twenty people together, using them in a circle. There are drums and some other musical instruments. There was also a sword that partly can be used for flagellation in the Shi'ite style of the Muharram ceremonies. For the rest we just show here the pictures from this compound, still standing amidst the hussle of modern Tirana. Its neighbour is a modern office tower of some twenty floors!