Due to its 2000-year-old multi-cultural history, Albania is unique in the religious tolerance it has traditionally provided, with spiritual places coming from different religions. Though perhaps no other country in the world has seen such peaceful co-existence of so many of the world’s religions, the process has not been without its obstacles.
The Roman and Ottoman empires left many traces of the Christian and Muslim religions, which were all but eradicated during the post-WWII period, when the communist government banned all religions for fifty years. Still, countless monuments and beautiful sights remained that testify to this multi-layered history, in cities like Gjirokastra, Berat, Shkodra, Vlora, Tirana etc.
As you visit many of its ancient cities and its medieval fortified towns, you may run across rare sights of mosques, monasteries, and churches, at times sitting side by side. Many churches were transformed into mosques during the Ottoman Empire, making these objects all the more fascinating in the rich historical baggage they contain. One particular church in the town of Laç is a national favorite as it is equally visited by believers or non-believers. Indeed, in Albania, these places of worship provide a spiritual have for all!