Albania is a small country in Europe bordered by Greece, Montenegro, Kosovo and North of Macedonia. Since antiquity, the country has seen many different cultures passing by, for different reasons including its geographic position being in the line with the ancient Road Egnatia, where many of the ancient armies have passed to move from Europe to Asia and vice versa.
All the civilizations have left their marks in the Albanian territory, making it a ‘heaven’ for antiquity and archeology fanatics. One among the great places to visit and experience great architecture, making you feel like living in another era, is the city of Gjirokastra.
The museum city of Gjirokastra, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2005 is located in theeastern side of “Mali i Gjerë”.
The city’s startingorigin is the castle of Gjirokastra, dating back to the IV century AD. In 1336 the name of the city was Argyrokastro. During the era of the Ottoman Empire, the city of gjirokastra was conquered and became part of the Ottoman Empire. The city developed and reached its peak over 1800-1830, a time characterized by the built of assembly houses where noted are the neighborhoods of Bazaar and Hazmurate.
The main attraction of the city is its castle known as Argjiro Castle (Albanian: Kalaja e Argjirosë) or Gjirokastra Castle. It is the biggest castle in Albania and one of the biggest in the Balkans. It is positioned on the city’s hilltop overlooking the city and witnessing the city’s history.
Inside the castle, there is the Museum of Weapons (Muzeu i Armëve), build by Albanian government in 1971. There visitors can see weapons exhibited from the prehistoric times up to the World War II.
Gjirokastra is also well-knownfor the National Folk Festival which takes place in this castle. It is truly a unique experience if you are lucky to experience.
During your Gjirokastra visit and you want to know the culture and traditions, you should not miss the Ethnographic Museum as well. The Ethnographic Museum of Gjirokastra it is located in the house where the former communist dictator Enver Hoxha was bornlocated in the Palorto quarter.
Important city attraction is the House of Zekati, home to Zekati family in Palorto. This masterpiece of ottoman era architecture, is one of the most magnificent and characteristic buildings the city. The house is a magnificent three-floor building made up of two twin towers and was built in 1811-1812. The house features wooden carved ceilings and a characteristic guest room in great shape. A wooden balcony in the third floor offers visitors the joy of an impressive view of the city of Gjirokastra.
Gjirokastra has a lot to of traditional traditional buildings one should see like:
- Angonati House
- Babaramonewly house
- Skendulaj house
- Eqrem Cabej House
- Kikino House, etc.
Gjirokastra has an important role to the Albanian culinary art and it is well-known for special dishes like pasha qofte, shapkat, oshaf, etc.
And that’s not all. Read more at http://albania.al to learn more.