The Diaspora Medallion of the Bank of Albania



Both the obverse and the reverse form a unified concept and complement the meaning of each other. 

The obverse portrays the painful drama of an exodus, of having to leave one’s homeland, of departing from the family and friends, of being uprooted and settling somewhere in an unknown place somewhere in the world out there. The idea is projected in the mind of the viewer through the rhythm of silhouettes that repeats in constant movements around the globe. The effect is more pronounced in the 01D version, taking into account that the details of the portraits are erased/cut, I move away from the personalization of the individual and render him/her as a concept that evidences the idea instead of the object. 

The reverse addresses another aspect, the return of the diaspora to the homeland, an idealistic return filled with contribution, love and legacy of rich values and innovative ideas. This is presented in both emotional and conceptual terms in our globe. The eagle and the red colour of our flag, a map of the region and Albania coloured in red, at the heart of the two-headed eagle. It is surrounded by verses of our National Awakening poets, who longingly sing to the love for the homeland, the language, the flag, and national unity. 

The two sides of the medallion would be incomplete without each other. Therefore this variant is conceived as one, a unique concept.

The Second Summit of the Albanian Diaspora was held from 28 February– 2 March 2019 at the EXPO City, Tirana. The Summit was organized by the Albanian Government and was attended by prominent Albanian personalities from business, science, art and culture communities abroad. The Bank of Albania was also part of these activities organized for the Second Summit of the Albanian Diaspora. On this occasion we prepared a dedicated sculpture of the Diaspora medallion.

On 2 March 2019, the Bank of Albania presented these items in a dedicated booth at the library of Lezha, on the occasion activities commemorating the 575th anniversary of the League of Lezha. His Excellency, President of the Republic Mr. Ilir Meta, visited the library in the company of the Mayor of Lezha Municipality and other personalities.

At Mr.Kreshnik Xhiku atelier, artist, sculptor. During the final works of the sculpture.



Codex Purpureus Beratinus 043 ɸ - Beratinus 1

Background note on Codex Purpureus Beratinus 

The “Codex Purpureus Beratinus” is a uniquely precious item of Albania’s cultural heritage; Beratinus 1 is one of the three or four oldest surviving Gospel codices and contains non-standard pre-canonical passages. Beratinus 2 contains Gospel writings from the standard-text period. Its uniqueness stems mainly from its format: gold letters on purple parchment.

It testifies to the ecclesiastical handwriting tradition in Albania in early centuries; a manuscript and evidence of anthropology during the Christianity period, marking the evolution and commitment of narration from the Holy Spoken Word to scriptures, not only in Albania but also abroad. It has survived through many hardships over the years, and given its uniqueness, French, Serbian, Austrian, Italian and German invaders have tried to get hold of it.

The bishop of Berat metropolitan church, Anthem Alexoudes, was the first to bring to light the old manuscript in the second half of the 19th century.. Several Albanian and foreign scholars have made reference to it since then. In the jubilee year 2000, it is listed together with “Codice B” or “Codice Vaticana” and “Codex Sinopensis”.

The “Codex Purpureus Beratinus” was sent to China for restauration in1971 and is now held at the Albanian National Archive

* Description taken from the monograph by Dr. Shaban Sinani, named “Beratinus”, Tirana 2004, as well as registration forms submitted to the “Memory of the World” Program. 

About the design

This commemorative coin was designed in 2005. The same year that Beratinus 1 was inscribed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register.

The original idea of issuing a commemorative coin on this particular item is attributed to the innovative-minded Ms Shpresa Lubonja, now Head of Museum Unitat the Bank of Albania.

A working group* was then established to work on the relevant details of the process and seeing it through, until the final materialization of the commemorative coin. During the whole process of the design, I consulted with Dr.Shaban Sinani, at that time was Head of State Archives, to learn more about the Codex.

As I tried to visualise the coin in my mind, I considered many options, and ran through many ideas, until I chose page 156, which eventually seemed perfect.

Codex is a very precious material preserved for centuries, and I imaged it as a raised jewel in the middle of the coin. ɸ is the letter that identifies the entire manuscript, and the background of the two Celtic columns suggest the shape of the ɸ. I vectorised every letter or neuma and this was the beginning of the work and the continuation of every idea that followed.

The characteristic graph "K", in capitals can be taken as a sign of the word "Kyrios" – Lord. Letter ɸ identifies the entire manuscript and is written in gold.

When the coin was eventually issued in 2011, this was the first time for the Bank of Albania to issue a coloured and high relief coin. Due to technical difficulties, in 2011 regretfully, I had to modify the design, by removing the spherical high relief of the manuscript, some changes in colour and changing the year from 2006 of the initial design to 2011.


Coins were produced by the "Royal Canadian Mint", Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. 


* Worging group established based on BoA Supervisory Council’s decision no. 27, dated 30.03.2005 consisting of: Leonard Boçi (Head of Coins Sector); Brikena Berdo (artist, graphic designer at Public Relations Department), Shpresa Lubonja  (numismatist at the Numismatic Museum of the Bank of Albania).