Sphinx - Into Albania


The White-Hot Sphinx of Durrës by the Sea

Your stroll around the old town of Durrës will inevitably take you to the Vollga, the city’s bustling seaside promenade. One small leap and you will at once leave the comforting beauty of the old world and enter the vibrant new one. This long stretch of restaurants, ice-cream parlors, and games is peppered with street artists, musicians, as well as craftsmen and women. Here, there is plenty to do to satisfy your inner flâneur! Yet, you will find that Durres does not hold back on its surprises. As you reach the square in the promenade, you will notice a prominent monument called the Sphinx of Durres. This is not the regular sphinx whose familiar silhouette you may recognize from Egyptian history or Greek mythology though you will recognize the stair patterns from the Great Pyramids of Giza as well as other traditional elements that recall ancient temples to the Sun. While this abstract monument echoes times past, you’ll find that it also perfectly positions you between the old and the new.

Also called the Urban Cape, this modern architectural object serves as the apex of Durrës’ land and seascapes. It connects the promenade and square with the Adriatic sea in a seamless line of white stone and cascading stairs, all made from local stones and materials. The sunlight reflects off the Sphinx beautifully, evoking the magical effect of the island of Santorini. Here, you can gaze at those beautiful, extra-long, vividly colored Adriatic sunsets in all of their glory.

A landmark in the making, the Sphinx’s popularity has rapidly increased since it was constructed in 2015 by BOOM Landscape and Cityförster, experts of poetic landscapes and sustainable public spaces. This versatile Sphinx is for you to use as you see fit. Children frolic and play all day. Couples pick an exclusive spot with e view. A step down and you are in the sea. A step back and you’ll find yourself in the midst of the festive atmosphere of the promenade. Yet, something tells me that you will sit here for a while and let this sphinx reveal its magical secrets to you.

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