Kukës is a town in Albania located in the northeastern part of the country, close to the border point with Kosovo.
It has a population of about 16,000 and is also the center of the district with the same name. The town is set among the mountains of northern Albania and is famous for its role in the Kosovo conflict for taking in 450,000 refugees from Kosovo.
This led, in 2000, to it becoming the first ever town to be nominated for the Nobel Peace prize. The town was relocated as part of a hydroelectric scheme. The old Kukës was submerged beneath an artificial lake in 1976, the lake being held back by Chinese-built dams.
The new town (Kukësi i Ri – New Kukës) was built in the 1970s in the plateau nearby which is 320m over the sea level.
Kukësi i Ri is surrounded by the artificial lake of Fierza and it looks like a peninsula from the above. It is linked with the other parts of the country by three bridges. On the East it faces the snow covered mountain of Gjallica, 2468m over the sea level.
The district is impoverished, with poor road connections, and major problems with crime. Illyrian tombs were found at Këneta nearby Kukës. It was a small Roman settlement, a stopping point on a branch road leading to the Via Egnatia, and a minor Ottoman market centre and trading post on the road to southern Kosovo.
Just before the First World War it was there (Qafa e Kolosjanit) where Albanian resistance stopped the Serbian invasion in 1912. The Highlanders in the region are well known for their developed agriculture.
Kukës has a carpet factory whose products is for domestic and trade use. There is also a copper processing factory as the raw material, copper, is found in this place.
Kukës is a good centre for fishing and walking in the surrounding mountains.