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The three equally magnificent and fascinating sites of Butrint, Gjirokastër and Berat have made the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites, precisely because of their unquestionable contribution to the continuation of the world’s culture. The natural beauty that surrounds them only adds to their already significant appeal!
The Butrint Complex is perhaps the most spectacular site that Albania hides in its southernmost part. Spectacular because nowhere else is there such perfect harmony between nature and ancient archeology! Butrint beautifully preserves traces of several ancient civilizations which have been under the influence of Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman cultures. Well-preserved fortifications and structures, encircled by the clear waters of the Lake of Butrint, faithfully carry the history of Europe’s modern civilization into modern times. Butrint, like several of the most well-known, grand ancient sites around Europe, is a worthy carrier of such profound history.
The ancient city rises above a low hilltop, surrounded by the lake’s waters and the Vivari Channel. One of the masterpieces and must-see constructions on site is the Greek Theater, which could once seat 2500 people, built as early as the 3rd-4th centuries B.C. and impeccably preserved. Not to be missed are the beautiful walls of the 6th century basilica and its intricate, large floor mosaic, the fortifications up the hill dating back to various centuries, and the imposing Lion’s Gate (5th century A.D.) which displays the relief of a lion gnawing at a bull’s throat, an image symbolizing the city’s fierce defense. The ancient city of Butrint was first proclaimed a cultural monument shortly after the end of World War II in 1948. It was half a century later, in 1992, that Butrint was listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
In 2005, UNESCO expanded its list of World Heritage Sites by adding the southern town of Gjirokastër and its particular architecture made of stone. In addition to its many cultural and historical attributes, the institution considers the architecture of this medieval Albanian town as most representative of the Ottoman period. The town lies in the valley of the Drino River and its beautiful traditional house-museums date back to the 17th century. In the city, you will also find the imposing Gjirokasër Castle, a construction of the first half of the 14th century whose existence gave the town its ancient Greek name of Argyrocastron, meaning the silver castle. Indeed, due to the stone roofs on the hundreds of houses built on the slopes of multiple hills, the town magically retains the appearance of being coated in silver. Other must-see sites of the town include the old ottoman Bazaar, several beautiful Byzantine churches as well as Ottoman mosques. As you enter its realm, you feel that much of the world has passed through this “City of Stone”.
Located in central Albania, Berat is a traditional Albanian town which testifies to the coexistence of a multitude of religions in the country. Situated high atop a hill, the Berat Castle dominates over this town, with its characteristic houses situated in two neighborhoods built on two separate hills, mirroring one another from across the Osum River. Though Berat has been inhabited since ancient times, its cultural heritage is marked by the two characteristic neighborhoods of Mangalem and Gorica, and the third quarter called Kala (Castle), the latter being a still-functioning residential space within the medieval castle walls. These are some of Berat’s cultural assets which, in 2008, gave this small characteristic Albanian town the status of a protected site by UNESCO.
Berat’s several cult objects from different periods are particularly fascinating, as well. This town, more than others in the country, has preserved its Christian tradition through the long Ottoman period. Located inside a beautiful church within the Kala neighborhood, the National Iconographic Museum “Onufri”, named after the most famous Albanian artist of iconography, exhibits masterful art from the Byzantine period. Churches, mosques, and masjids, are scattered in strategic points among the town’s monumental houses. The most noticeable and stylish element in the entire town are the symmetrical windows on the houses which lend the town a rare visual harmony, giving it its famous name of “The City of a Thousand Windows.”
Kruja is the center of some of the country’s most skilled and passionate handmade clothing masters, like Ndriçim Guni, who is devoted to the preservation of Albanian tradition in his workshop in the Kruja Bazaar. The Kruja Bazaar is one of the most famous bazaars in Albania, where the art, culture and history of the [...]
Did you know that the north of Albania houses an exceptional tulip, a rare species among the 114 that exist worldwide? Referred to as the Kukës Tulip, this particular flower is undoubtedly the most unique plant found in this region. Tulipa Albanica (family: Liliaceae), also known as the Albanian tulip, was discovered relatively recently, in [...]
Albania’s capital is one among very few select extraordinary destinations in the New York Times’ T-Magazine “The 10 Most Idyllic Destinations T Visited This Year.” The capital’s unique charms have it listed between the likes of Morocco’s Draa Valley, Greece’s Ithaca and Milos, Finland’s Aland Islands, France’s Nîmes, Italy’s Val di Noto, and Japan’s Kyoto, establishing the [...]
The popular yet low-key Jonida Brahollari, aka DJ Amer Doux, knows how to cool down as much as how to get the party started. Below read the “bittersweet” DJ’s suggestions on where to eat quick and delicious Asian food, drink the best cocktails, relax in the outdoors, and best enjoy your time in the capital [...]
The gorgeous coastal town, at once one of the most popular summer destinations and the most patriotic attraction of the country, offers the visitor countless natural and cultural alternatives in which to enjoy its beauty free of charge. Everyone knows that Vlora is one of the top destiantions of the summer. But, in the last [...]
If you have visited Albania and would like to share the country with your friends in a meaningful way but don’t know exactly how, we suggest some wonderful translated books and collections that will do the trick. There is no one perfect way to encapsulate the spirit, culture, tradition and atmosphere of an entire country. [...]
The Insider Secrets for Hello World You will carry on to let it operate since you stop by this next report. Nothing might have assisted them longer. Yes, in the event that you should be doing Math. If you should be capable of going into the candidate name in the writing box and vote and [...]
Created almost a century ago, the Përnaska fashion house successfully survived the Communist regime to become one of the most technologically advanced brands in Albania. Gucci, in the ‘20s in Florence, was planting the seeds of what later was to become one of the largest fashion empires in the world. It was in this same [...]
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