Architecture - Into Albania

Architecture

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.

By: IntoAlbania

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Vila Austria 1843: The Still...

Durrës

Located in the very heart of Durrës, less than five minutes away from the Amphitheater and other similar monuments, Vila Austria 1843 is a unique meeting point with the city’s history. You can hardly find a more convenient and fascinating place than Vila Austria 1843 for your stay in Durrës. The sheer age and history [...]

Vila Austria 1843: The Still...

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Museum of the First Albanian...

Korça

A requisite stop in Korça is the Museum of the First Albanian School. Located across “Unknown Soldier,” its yard is decorated by the ABC obelisk, the museum’s symbol. Opened in March 7th, 1887, this first secular school in the country is locally known as “Mësonjtorja.”  Here, the visitor can find copies of the original Albanian [...]

Museum of the First Albanian...

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Mangalemi-Tomi Hotel: A Place Rich...

Berat

Known as Tom’s Hotel to the locals, this place, also a historically and culturally significant house for Berat, is a wonderful accommodation option for those who want to truly enjoy their stay in the historic city. It was in 1991, precisely after the fall of the Communist regime, that Mangalemi-Tomi Hotel opened its doors in [...]

Mangalemi-Tomi Hotel: A Place Rich...

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Promenade in Vlora

Vlora

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 [...]

Promenade in Vlora

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Flag Square

Vlora

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 [...]

Flag Square

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The Lëkursi Castle

Saranda

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 [...]

The Lëkursi Castle

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Petrela Castle: An Intriguing Medieval...

Tirana

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 [...]

Petrela Castle: An Intriguing Medieval...

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Bajram Curri Mill: A Typical...

Kukës

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 [...]

Bajram Curri Mill: A Typical...

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Mic Sokoli Tower

Kukës

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 [...]

Mic Sokoli Tower

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Bridge of Gorica: The Iconic...

Berat

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 [...]

Bridge of Gorica: The Iconic...

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Rozafa Castle

Shkodra

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 [...]

Rozafa Castle

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The Pyramid of Tirana: A...

Tirana

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 [...]

The Pyramid of Tirana: A...

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Bunk’Art 2: From Nuclear Shelter...

Tirana

An excellent re-imagining of a Communist-era nuclear bunker, Bunk’Art 2 museum and art space reflects Tirana’s initiative to use culture to celebrate the birth of a new era, whilst remembering its solemn past. The unearthing of this underground tunnel in the center of Tirana, echoes the uncovering of ancient ruins in any of the world’s [...]

Bunk’Art 2: From Nuclear Shelter...

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The National Gallery of Arts

Tirana

Showcasing the finest works of Albanian artists, the National Gallery of Arts boasts a large array of paintings in a multitude of styles, stemming from different periods. Some of these works perfectly portray art under the influence of government, telling a tale of Albania through creativity.  Albanian fine arts exist uniquely in comparison to the [...]

The National Gallery of Arts

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The House of Leaves Museum:...

Tirana

The infamous monitoring techniques of the Communist Era and its severity were perhaps best captured, for the very first time, by the 2006 German film “The Lives of Others”. A film which highlighted to the entire world about what went on behind the scenes in a typical communist-ruled capital. At the time of the film’s [...]

The House of Leaves Museum:...

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Kruja Castle

Kruja

Kruja Castle was historically one of the most important defensive strongholds in the country, fending off legions of foreign invaders throughout the centuries. Today, it stands as a proud reminder of Albanian perseverance and strength. Krujë Castle has proudly stood on top of a rocky cliff, high above its city, for the last fifteen centuries. [...]

Kruja Castle

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“Ndre Mjeda” Center

Shkodra

It is a rare occurrence for the Jesuits to offer up their “sacred place” to poets. In fact, this happens only in the Church of Kukli which, jointly with the house of Dom Ndre Mjeda, comprises the center where poets regularly gather to sing their verses. Ndre Mjeda, one of the most prominent poets of [...]

“Ndre Mjeda” Center

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Castle of Elbasan

Elbasan

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 [...]

Castle of Elbasan

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Mesi Bridge

Shkodra

The magical Mesi Bridge is an understandably treasured Albanian monument, with a rich visible history, crossing the beautiful crystalline waters of the river below. Bridges, as the Bosnian author Ivo Andrić poetically claimed, are God’s angels, sent to earth to spread their wings in order to unite people who have been separated from Satan’s rivers. [...]

Mesi Bridge

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Memorial of Skanderbeg

Lezha

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 [...]

Memorial of Skanderbeg

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Byzantine Forum in Durrës

Durrës

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 [...]

Byzantine Forum in Durrës

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Amphitheater of Durrës

Durrës

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 [...]

Amphitheater of Durrës

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Berat Castle: From Antiquity to...

Berat

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 [...]

Berat Castle: From Antiquity to...

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House of Oso Kuka

Shkodra

The House of Oso Kuka lies a city renowned for its former splendour and importance. It’s a wonderful location for all you nostalgic souls out there – full of history, culture, and beauty! Many Albanians already recognise the city of Shkodra as one of the most valued cultural centres of the country – a city where many [...]

House of Oso Kuka

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Presidential Palace in Tirana

Tirana

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 [...]

Presidential Palace in Tirana

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Castle of Gjirokastra

Gjirokastra

The Castle of Gjirokastra resides in a dramatic location, on the hilltop overlooking the city. It gave a nifty vantage point to witness the changing tides of Albanian history across the centuries. When the fog falls over Gjirokastra, the Castle of Gjirokastra is all that can be seen, rising majestically over the city. Like a [...]

Castle of Gjirokastra

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The Bratko Museum of Oriental...

Korça

The Bratko Museum of Oriental art is more than just a collection of rare and fascinating Asian artefacts. It is a testament to the character and inspiration of one of Albania’s most important photographers. If you look deep into any museum’s story, you will most likely find an interesting tale of a dream or an [...]

The Bratko Museum of Oriental...

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Onufri Museum

Berat

As you take on this journey, be prepared to see the most beautiful shades of red and gold you have ever laid eyes on! The Cathedral of the Assumption of St. Mary and the Onufri Museum, situated in the same complex, combine the traditional gold with a dazzling red that you will never forget. Built [...]

Onufri Museum

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National Ethnographic Museum

Kruja

The National Ethnographic Museum is a fascinating insight into traditional Albanian household customs, brought to life through the vivid storytelling of a wonderful guide! The National Ethnographic Museum in Kruja presents the story of Albanian customs and traditions throughout the centuries, and thanks to the captivating guide of this museum, you’ll come to understand them [...]

National Ethnographic Museum

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National Museum of Independence in...

Vlora

As the building which hosted the operations of the very first Albanian government, the Museum of Independence in Vlorë is strategically positioned in a location that testifies to its significance, near the port, with a beautiful view of the sea. This modest, two-story house is filled with the weight of history! Founded in 1936, this [...]

National Museum of Independence in...

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Castle of Lezha

Lezha

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 [...]

Castle of Lezha

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