How many metaphors, Instagram posts, nostalgic longings have
been inspired by windows? Below, let us count the ways in which windows make
our lives more beautiful as we take a tour of the top window-gazing destinations
There is a reason that the ubiquitous operating system chose
to be named after windows: they are our favorite pathways into other worlds. Open
yet mysterious, windows let us in and out. The open up the world without
exposing us to its dangers. They are the eyes of any home and the most
essential accessories of any city. Their shape and size create the lens through
which we see the world. From the outside, as well, windows influence the façade
of a city more than any other object. If you love them as much as we do, read
below to plan your best window experience in Albania.
The mirroring windows of Berat
The first stop for a full window immersion is Berat, aka “City of 1000 Windows.” Once you visit Berat, you will understand! Built on two parallel hills split by a river, the countless windows on each side mirror one another, creating a hypnotizing effect. The optical illusion continues. From a distance, the windows appear uniform and identical but, on closer inspection, they all hide wonderfully intricate and distinct embellishments.
Window hunt in Gjirokastra
Gjirokastra is known more for its roofs and stone houses than its windows. But, it most certainly makes for a wonderful window-gazing destination. You can admire the Ottoman architecture around the city, along with the wood-framed and stained-glass windows of its most famous historical houses. For a bit more gloom, you can experience the light the small windows shed inside the darkness of the medieval stone Castle.
You may have heard of the country’s many towers, especially in the north. Albania hosts many types, such as watchtowers, residential towers and the infamous lock-in towers. Some towers, like this one, have even been transformed into cozy guesthouses. The typical windows of any tower, called frëngji, are stone-framed, arched, and designed to let in the minimum amount of light. They create a very distinct atmosphere, which is why they are the background to many of Ismail Kadare’s novels, like Broken April.
Venetian Windows in Shkodra and Tirana
The Venetian influence on Albania’s architecture is visible most notably in Shkodra, followed by parts of Tirana. For pleasant and perfectly-packaged beauty, take a stroll along Shkodra’s main promenade, and admire the Venetian-inspired work of local renowned artist Kolë Idromeno, who helped design his birthplace. For a more chaotic, unpredictable experience, take this tour around Tirana’s old streets and you will encounter all kinds of windows – Venetian, Albanian, Ottoman, old, new, renovated and decrepit.
Traditional modernity in the villages of the Riviera
Much care is put into any restoration work in the lovely villages of the Ionian Riviera. One of the most noticeable, and adorable, details, in an architecture that beautifully combines the new and the old, are the new window shutters. Made of locally sourced materials, these new colorful, modern shutters nicely punctuate the Riviera’s landscape, making a sustainable splash. Watch out for them in the villages of Vuno and Himara as you make your way to the beach this summer.
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