Shala is a northern Albanian ethnic group and a traditionally tribal region. It is located in the Dukagjini area north of the Drin River in the District Shkodra. In 1634, the group has been recorded in Italian as Sciala which derives from the Albanian terms shalë and shalësinë (“arid, infertile land’’). In the late nineteenth century only 3,000 citizens have been registered. The Shala tribe is primarily Catholic. Local people drink homemade raki produced from wild cornelian cherries, Cornus mas. Cornelian cherry, locally known as thana, is small to medium deciduous shrub. The fruit only fully ripens after it falls from the tree. Its colour is dark ruby red and its flavour is quite acid. The fruits are harvested in mid-to late summer. Gathered fruits are fermented in barrels from 1-2 months. Then, they are distilled to produce raki thanit. Raki thanit is not an everyday drink and is not offered to family and friends without a special occasion. It is considered to be medicinal by some local citizens and is drunk for treating rheumatisms or rubbed on externally.