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Launched in late May of 2019, the first-ever comprehensive, quadruple-language audio-guide of the unique Onufri Museum has infinitely enhanced the museum-going experience in Albania.
While Albania offers an amazing choice of museums and archaeological sites, the country has been late in adopting digital audio-guides. The trailblazer has been the well-loved Onufri Museum, located within the medieval Castle of Berat, inside a byzantine cathedral. Just from the location, it becomes obvious that the audio-guide has much to offer the lucky visitor who enters these walls. Available in Albanian, English, Italian, and German, the guide has added the missing element to an otherwise gorgeous museum and location.
Digital audio-guide system
The creation and implementation of the audio-guide system represents a new era of the museum experience in Albania. The contemporary system offers a fascinating and detailed narration of information regarding Byzantine art and iconography. As such, for the duration of 90 minutes, the visitor will have the chance to become fully acquainted with the museum. Guided by this narration, establishing a personal relationship with the works becomes natural. The wonderful initiative was funded by USAID and the Swedish Embassy and implemented by Creative Business Solutions via the IntoAlbania project. Other partners that ensured the quality and accuracy of information included Albania’s Ministry of Culture, The National Center of Museums in Berat and, of course, the Onufri Iconographic Museum.
About the museum
Built in 1986, the Onufri National Iconographic Museum is housed within the Cathedral of the Assumption of St. Mary. Once you enter, and rightfully admire the beauty of the church’s gilded iconotasis, you will make your way into the museum. Named after the Albanian master painter of the 16th century, Onufri, the museum exhibits many of his masterpieces. Here, you will have your chance to witness the famous shade of “Onufri red.” The museum’s rich collection includes a total of 173 objects of medieval art and iconography, painted by Onufri and his successors Nikolla, Onufri’s son, Onufër Qiprioti, David Selenica, and many more. As you walk around the church-museum, equipped with the new audio-guide system, the painters’ stories of divine inspiration truly come to life.
About the church
Built in 1797, the Cathedral of the Assumption of St. Mary is a two-story stone structure situated at the highest point of Berat Castle. Its interior is quite astonishing! The Holy Altar includes masterful engravings while its ornate iconostasis depicts paintings of Bible scenes. The iconostasis, created in 1807, is hailed as one of the greatest accomplishments of the 19th century Albanian wood-carving masters. It stretches along the entire interior of the cathedral. The Onufri Museum is located in the central hallway of the church as well as in select spaces of the first and second floors.