The outer edge of the Nartë lagoon in Vlorë, Albania. Credit: Yuriy Brykakylo / Alamy

It is the jewel of the Adriatic. Its shimmering waters feed a rare colony of Dalmatian pelicans, the world’s largest freshwater birds, sustain the endangered Albanian water frog, and host loggerhead turtles on its encircling dunes. The Nartë lagoon is at the heart of the extensive and largely unspoiled delta of Albania’s Vjosë River, which researchers consider Europe’s most intact large river delta.

But that accolade won’t save it. The Vjosë delta and its lagoon are under siege. They are set to become the victims of a series of massive coastal tourist developments, partly bankrolled by a company set up by Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. The hotels and luxury villas will accommodate up to a million visitors arriving annually at a new international airport currently being built on salt marshes around the lagoon.

Until the fall of the Iron Curtain that walled off communist Eastern Europe from the capitalist West, Albania was the 20th century equivalent […]

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