Majestic Mount Tomor
Baba Tomor, the venerable personification of the majestic Mount Tomor, stands as a revered icon in Albanian folklore, enshrouded in the mystique of Albanian legends. This formidable mountain range, boasting the lofty pinnacle of 2416 meters in central Albania, is not just a geological marvel but also a sacred abode, a dwelling place of the gods within the cherished beliefs of the local populace.
The bond between the peasantry of this region and Father Tomor, affectionately known as “për Baba Tomor” in Albanian, transcends ordinary oaths. It is a solemn commitment more potent than any sworn upon the Bible or the Koran, a testament to the profound reverence held for this living natural deity. In the hearts of the people, Mount Tomor is both a guardian and a spiritual cornerstone.
Its significance extends to religious observance as well. For the Christians, Mount Tomor holds a sacred space on August 15th, Assumption Day, a day of pilgrimage and devotion to honor the Virgin Mary. On this day, they ascend the hallowed slopes, forging a connection between Earth and the divine. Meanwhile, the Bektashi Sufis pay tribute to Abbas Ali during their annual pilgrimage from August 20th to 25th, underscoring Mount Tomor’s role as a crossroads of faith and spirituality.
In the rich tapestry of Albanian legends, the legendary figure of Baba Tomor assumes a captivating form. An elderly sage with a flowing white beard cascading down to his belt. Around him, four majestic female eagles with long beaks gracefully hover and find rest on his pristine, snow-covered slopes. According to the insights of Maximilian Lambertz (1882-1963), he may be a remnant of an ancient Illyrian god, a timeless embodiment of the region’s mythological heritage.
The heart of the legend reveals itself in a poignant narrative. Baba Tomor, captivated by Earthly Beauty, takes her as his bride. She dwells alongside her sister, the Sea Beauty, during the day. However, as twilight descends, the faithful wind, a servant of Baba Tomor, carries her aloft to the mountaintop. This ritual dance between Earth and sky unfolds each day.
Mount Tomor presides over Berat, a town cherished by the old sage as his favorite city. This affection runs deep, guarded jealously. Across the valley lies Mount Shpirag, with its cascading torrents akin to furrows carved by time itself.
One fateful day, while Baba Tomor dallied in the embrace of Earthly Beauty. Shpirag seized the moment and advanced upon Berat, harboring clandestine designs. The four guardian eagles, vigilant and ever loyal, roused Baba Tomor from his slumber. Informed of Shpirag’s covert ambitions, the venerable figure arose from his bed. His first concern being the safety of the Earthly Beauty. He commanded the East Wind to carry her back to her sister’s embrace and mounted his mule, setting forth to confront Shpirag.
Armed with a scythe, Baba Tomor unleashed a furious assault upon Shpirag, inflicting wounds that still scar the mountainside to this day, etching furrows reminiscent of their epic battle. Near the village of Sinja, a purported trace of Baba Tomor’s mule’s hoof remains, a testament to this heroic clash.
Shpirag, not to be outdone, retaliated with his cudgel, leaving indelible scars upon the lofty mountain. Ultimately, both giants met their end in a cataclysmic duel, a mutual downfall echoing through the annals of time. As they perished, the maiden, the Earthly Beauty, wept tears that flowed forth and became the lifeblood of the Osum River, an eternal symbol of her sorrow and the enduring legacy of Baba Tomor’s legend. In the heart of Albania, where mountains merge with myth, the legend of Baba Tomor lives on, a testament to the enduring power of Albanian folklore.