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The distinctive yet all-encompassing architecture of Albania is one of the biggest draws to the country. Many of the world’s ancient civilizations have passed through Albania, each leaving their particular trace on the country’s architectural legacy which includes Illyrian, Greek, Roman (Butrint), Byzantine, Ottoman (Gjirokastra and Berat), Austro-Hungarian, Venetian (Shkodra), Italian, and finally communist, post-communist, and modern western influences (Tirana).
Grand medieval castles and ancient bridges, intimate Venetian houses and ancient cities, archeological parks, churches and mosques whose intricate frescoes and mosaics rival the world’s most famous ones, brightly-painted facades of communist-era residential buildings, Fascist-era monuments and institutions, iconic landmarks, and those famous bunkers, slowly becoming some of the best hostels in Europe!
Yet, here, there’s always more! For its small size, Albania contains an overwhelming amount of the world’s history within it. The entire nation resembles an open-air museum with countless stories to tell.
Buzzing at all hours of the day and night, this wonderful kilometers-long walkway has you partaking in all kinds of fun activities while never leaving the seaside. The promenade in Vlora, stretching along the Ionian shore, is one of the best locations for relaxing strolls, meditation, yoga, cycling and other sports, socializing and all kinds [...]
Albania’s Independence was declared on November 28th in Vlora, thus marking the most significant moment in the history of Albania. As the place that saw the entire National Independence movement take place, Flag Square in Vlora is one of the most important squares in the country. You will see the Independence Monument right in the center [...]
If you visit Saranda, you should definitely make a stop at the Lëkursi Castle. This fortress dates back to the 16th century and is constructed in the shape of a square with two round towers sitting diagonally to one another. Its strategic position on a hill of about 300 meters in height as well as its [...]
A gorgeous medieval fortification nestled in the hills not so far outside of Tirana. Petrela is a fantastic escape with great authenticity and surrounding views to die for. Petrela Castle & Village is undoubtedly a local favourite as far as natural city-escapes around Tirana go. Located a mere 18 km from Tirana, this authentic medieval [...]
Built more than 120 years ago, the Bajram Curri Mill stands along the beautiful Valbona River. Because of its fame, locals simply refer to it as Mulliri i Currit (Mill of Curri). This small center of history and culture is located only 4 km away from the town of the same name. Fortunately, the tower stands [...]
You can find Mic Sokoli Tower in Bujan Village, along the road that takes you to Bajram Curri in the Gjakova highlands. Tropoja locals consider this three-story, 18th century construction an icon of their historical and cultural heritage. The reason is simple. Mic Sokoli, a beloved Albanian hero, was born and raised here. Sokoli died [...]
Built in the center of the city of Berat, the grandiose Bridge of Gorica, one of the most beautiful Ottoman bridges in the Balkan region, connects the city with the neighborhood of the same name. This object owes much of its beauty to its very gradual arch, extending ever so elegantly over the bridge’s length [...]
From its ancient Illyrian walls and the medieval ruins of the Balshaj, to the Towers of the Bushatllinj, Rozafa Castle is a monumental testament to the beauty of an everlasting fortress. Built during Antiquity, enduring the Roman and Ottoman empires, and remaining intact up to the present day, Rozafa Castle has witnessed the dramatic changes of [...]
Indisputably a symbolic landmark of the capital, the Pyramid of Tirana is a relic portraying a turbulent past and an uncertain yet hopeful future. An opinion splitting landmark described in a myriad of ways ranging from magnificent, ugly or just simply rather bizarre. However, its importance for the city of Tirana has never been brought [...]
Krujë Castle has stood on a rocky cliff, high above the city, for the last 15 centuries. It has been witness to the long tempestuous history of this city, once the center of Arbëria (Albania’s ancient name). At a time when the Ottoman Empire ruled over a large part of Europe, including Constantinople and the Balkans, [...]
Foreign travelers in the ‘800s noted that cities like Elbasan no longer existed in Europe. Indeed, this is a rare town! Skampis, as this fortress-town was once called, was founded in 1466 by two strikingly different leaders: the Roman emperor Justinian and Sultan Mehmet the Second. The two-thousand-year-old Castle of Elbasan, a Roman construction built [...]
Bridges, as the Bosnian author Ivo Andrić claims, are God’s angels, sent to earth to spread their wings in order to unite people who have been separated from Satan’s rivers. When built, in the beginnings of the 18th century in the village of the same name, the bridge spread its wings to finally unite the [...]
The Memorial of Skanderbeg is the most monumental tomb in Albania. Though it does not contain the remains of the greatest Albanian hero, George Castriot Skanderbeg, this memorial remains a place of high significance for Lezha and the entire country. Skanderbeg’s connection to Lezha began with the Lezha Covenant, signed on March 1444. With this [...]
To this day, the Byzantine Forum remains the center of the modern city of Durrës, as it once was the Roman Byzantine center of the ancient city of Dyrrhachium or Dyrrah. It seems that things change only very slightly! This forum is recognized as one of the most beautiful monuments of the late Roman and [...]
The Amphitheater of Durrës remains one of the most majestic of the ancient world and one of ten most beautiful Roman amphitheaters. Widely recognized among enthusiasts of Antiquity, it is a pearl of the Balkans that is slowly making its way out of the shell. Discovered relatively recently, in 1966, its unearthing occurred in a [...]
Erected on top of a hill during the 4th century B.C., the Berat Castle, as magnificent and elegant as ever, is the crown of this glorious ancient city. Encircled by stone walls, with a total of 24 watchtowers, the Berat Castle is one of the most beautiful in Albania, if not the most beautiful! Its [...]
More popularly known as the Palace of Brigades, the unique architecture and spectacular gardens of this site make it a must-see destination in Tirana. The Presidential Palace is a monument of national heritage in Albania, one whose architecture is sure to leave an impression on you. The surrounding royal gardens here lend the entire place [...]
When the fog covers all traces of the city of Gjirokastra, the Castle of Gjirokastra rises majestically over the city. Like a giant ship, it extends across the 1100-foot-high hillside on which it was built during the 4th century. A monument to nearly two thousand years of history, this castle is nowadays one of the [...]
The Castle of Lezha, built on a hill from which you can see beautiful sights of the Drin River, the city of Lezha and the Adriatic Sea, is one of the most interesting cultural and historical monuments of the country. The history of the castle remains inseparable from the city which it observes from its [...]