Albania, though a small country retains in its bosom a valuable cultural heritage. The latter is embodied in many different objects, dating back to prehistoric times to the present day.
The cultural and historical heritage of our country is also valued by the most important international organizations that relate to the preservation of cultural assets with values for humanity, such as UNESCO.
There are three sites in the Albanian list. They are the ancient city of Butrinti and two cities with special architecture such as Berat and Gjirokastra. In addition to these three sites in our country, Albanian iso-polyphony is part of the world oral heritage of UNESCO. Below we present you a panorama of not only relevant sites but also other attractive sites located close to them.
This 2416 years old city, one of the olsdiest cities in Albaia, is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is located at a distance of 120 km from the capital city, Tirana. Berat offers a wealth of heritage properties and a variety of religious buildings of the Byzantine, Post-Byzantine and Ottoman period. Since 1961 this city has received the status of “museum city”. Berat is at the same time famous for its mild climate, its culinary and its wine. The city’s life began in the VI-V century B.C. as an Illyrian settlement. Later on, in the III century BC, it was turned into a castle city known as Antipatrea.
The Museum – City of Gjirokastra is built on the eastern side of Gjere Mountain. Since 2005, part of the UNESCO world heritage, the origin of the city starts with the castle of Gjirokastra, built in IV century. The city was named Argyrokastro, in 1336. In 1417, it was conquered by the Ottoman army. The city reached its peak over 1800-1830, when monumental assembly houses were built. The first neighborhoods are those of Bazaar and Hazmurate. The main characteristic of Gjirokastra is the intensive use of stone in building the houses, which look like small fortresses, the streets of cobblestone, which all lead to Bazaar. You can also visit the Mosque of Bazaar here, built in 1557. Due to all these features, Gjirokastra is also known as the “The Stone City”.
The most important structure of the city is the castle, which is the biggest castle in Albania. Inside the castle, you can visit the Museum of Weapons, opened in 1971.
Butrint is undoubtedly one of the most important tourist attractions in Albania. The Archaeological Park, which is inscribed in UNESCO, and the National Park of Butrint are located in the southernmost part of the country. Butrint is situated 18 km away from the coastal city of Saranda and lies in the south of Butrint Lake. The Channel of Vivari, which stems from the lake with a length of 3 km, links it with the Ionian Sea. In front of Butrinti you can see the Greek island of Corfu. Butrint has a rather favorable geographic position and is easily accessible by visitors. Many international tourists, who enter Albania through the port of Saranda, visit the ancient city of Burtint.
Butrint is mentioned by the poet Virgil in his poem “Eneida”. According to him, the city was established by the Prince of Troy Aeneas (Enea) during his trip from Troy to Rome. On his way to Rome he stopped in this place and sacrificed a bull (BUTHROTOS). Due to the high biodiversity of the ecosystem where the ancient city of Butrint is located, the National Park of Butrinti is part of the international convention of RAMSAR (since 2003).