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The zana e malit is a mythical creature in Albania mythology.


Zana e malit is derived from the Albanian word “Zane” or “Zëre” which means "fairy of the mountain". The plural form of “zana” is “zanë”, a term from pre-Roman Paleo-Balkan origin. It is also associated to Latin Diana and Bardha.


According to the people in Northern Albania and Kosovo, all mountains in their area have zana. It often appear as a fair maiden that takes a bath in the mountain streams. The zana is described as a brave and terrifying enemy who can grant protection on the soldiers. The creature is also believed to posses a power that can frighten humans with a glance.


The zana has been mentioned in numerous folklores and oral tradition of Albania. In the Albanian folktale, The Lover's Grave, the zana appeared to a young army captain named Bedri. She warned Bedri to watch out for a wooden beam and a doe and he will not be safe when he is “at the root”. As Bedri continued on its journey, he met a beautiful woman and eloped with her. Soldiers came after him when they traced the place where he came from basing from his pronunciation of “wooden beam”. Later, he learned that his wife’s name is Dre that means “doe”. The couple were killed by the soldiers outside the town of Nderendje (at the root).

The zana were also linked to the Valkyries of the Nordic mythology, Romanian zina and southern SlavVila of European folkore.

In an Albanian literature by Robert Elsie, the zana of mount Vizitor got angry after witnessing the death of her childhood companion, Tringa. She brought the body to the Alpine pastures and buried it at the foot of a linden tree. To avenge the death of her friend, she summon all good men to the battlefield of Noshiq.

Lahuta e Malcis, a classic work published in 1920, presented that the zana of the Šar Mountains is watching over the local noblemen as they rally against the Treaty of San Stefano.


  • Fishta, Gjergj (2005). The Highland Lute
  • Lurker, Manfred (2004). The Routledge dictionary of gods and goddesses, devils and demons
  • A Dictionary of Albanian Religion, Mythology and Folk culture,page 269,by Robert Elsie,2001