Gjirokastra-1

GJIROKASTRA

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UNESCO CITY OF GJIROKASTER

UNIQUE ARCHITECTURE

1 , 3 OR 7 DAYS GJIROKASTRA EXPE TOURS

Gjirokastra-3

OLD BAZAR TOURS

Gjirokastra

“It was a strange city, and seemed to have been cast up in the valley one winter’s night like some prehistoric creature that was now clawing its way up the mountainside. Everything in the city was old and made of stone, from the streets and fountains to the roofs of the sprawling age-old houses covered with grey slates like gigantic scales...”

From Chronicle of Stone, by Ismail Kadare, born in Gjirokastra, 1936
  • Pre-Ottoman history

    The early history of Gjirokastra is relatively unknown. Due to the proximity of the Hellenistic settlement of Antigonea (near Jermë) and the Roman city of Hadrianopolis (close to the village of Sofratika) it has been frequently assumed that the medieval fortress represents the first occupation of the site.

  • The Ottoman period

    As the Ottoman Empire expanded into Europe in the late 14th century, Gjirokastra fell under their dominion and its lords were for a period of time vassals of the Sultans. It is believed that by 1420 Gjirokastra and the entire Drino Valley became part of the Ottoman Empire.

  • Between the wars

    During King Zog’s reign (1928-1939), Gjirokastra established itself as one of the most important cultural and economic centers in the country, although it was also known for the large prison constructed in the castle during Zog’s reign.

  • The communism in Gjirokastra

    Gjirokastra was declared a Museum City by the communist regime in 1961 in an effort to conserve the unique cultural heritage of the town. As well as more specialist craftsmen, a large conscripted workforce – consisting mainly of young people, known as Volunteer Youth Brigades – was assembled to maintain the old town.

Things to do or to see in Gjirokaster.

Bektashi Turbe

Situated to the right about 50m inside the main gate you will see a small building tucked into the walls of the castle amidst a lovely garden. It contains the remains of two Bektashi Babas.

The festival Stage

The stage was erected in the 1980s and has for some years been the home of the Albanian National Folk Festival, held every four years (last held in 2015). During the year the stage is used by the municipality on public holidays to present music and dance events.

The American Airplane

A U.S. military training plane was forced to land near Tirana in 1957 having technical problems. The pilot was returned to the US a short time later, but the plane, which the communists maintained was a spy plane, was brought to the castle as a trophy of the Cold War.

Artillery Gallery

Turning left from the main entrance, you will enter a long gallery lined with artillery pieces. All of these guns were either abandoned by, or captured from, the Italian and German occupation forces during World War II. Within this gallery there is also a small Italian tank built by Fiat.

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