Visit Albania on a tour, which is in a wonderful location by the sea! The country has numerous sandy and pebble beaches on both the Adriatic and the Ionian Sea. Holiday and seaside resorts that are very popular with tourists are Dhërmi, Himara and Saranda on the Ionian Sea and Durrës, Vlora, Shëngjin and Velipoja on the Adriatic. You can also expect Barat, the city of a thousand windows. In the south of the country, enjoy the iso-polyphonic chants of the Tosken, which are UNESCO masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity. In addition to its many seaside resorts, Albania also has beautiful landscapes such as lagoons, plains and mountain ranges to offer. The capital Tirana awaits you with museums, culture, art and entertainment, as well as the other large cities Durres, Elbasan, Shkodra, Vlora, Fier, Korca, among others.
A unique castle complex with eleven churches
Berat Castle is the only castle complex from the Middle Ages in Albania that is still inhabited today. The fortress’s outstanding sights include eleven Orthodox churches, the interiors of which are decorated with wall paintings. Some of the most valuable icons in the country come from the houses of worship. The other stone houses of Berat Castle are characterized by thick walls and cute gardens. Nothing seems to have changed here for hundreds of years. Inside the castle walls there is a restaurant, two bars and numerous stalls where visitors can buy a souvenir or two. It is advisable to join a guide who will hold the keys to the church portals.
The Shën Triadhës Church is one of the most beautiful cross-domed churches in Albania
The tour of Berat Castle is a unique experience. The entrance to the castle complex is the large Vor Burg, which dates from the 12th century. The actual castle is entered through the impressive main gate. The former powder and weapons store stands on the large square in the upper town. From the castle wall in the west you have a wonderful view of some of the new districts of the city of Berat. At the western end of Berat Castle, the visitor comes across the Church of Shën Triadhës. It is one of the most beautiful and best preserved cross-domed churches in all of Albania. The church dates from the early 14th century.
The greatest treasure of the Onufri Museum are its 107 icons
A steep path leads up to the Acropolis, the part of Berat Castle that was best protected. The Paschal Palace, which dates back to the 14th century, once stood here. The fortification walls in the south of the castle complex are also worth seeing. Stone steps lead down here to the banks of the Osum. One of the main attractions of Berat Castle is the Onufri Museum, which is housed in the Shën Mërisë Monastery. 106 icons and 67 vestments and items from everyday church life are exhibited here. Shën Mëri Vllahernës is one of the oldest churches in Berat Castle. The church dates from the early 13th century.
The heart of Tirana
Skanderbeg Square in the center of Tirana is the ideal starting point for a city tour through the capital of Albania. The center of the square is an eleven-meter-high equestrian monument depicting Gjerg Kastrioti Skënderbej. It was created by the sculptor Odhise Paskali. Gjerg Kastrioti Skënderbej is still a national hero in Albania. At the time of the Ottoman invasion of Europe, he succeeded in uniting the tribes of Albania and in brave resistance to the Turks for 25 years. On the north side of Skanderbeg Square is the National Museum, the facade of which is decorated with a Shqiptarët mosaic. On the south side there are buildings in the style of Renaissance Italy from the 1930s. The plans for the buildings come from the architect Vittorio Morpurgo.
The Tirana Opera House is located in the Palace of Culture
The big red building on the west side of Skanderbeg Square is the Albanian State Bank. Nearby is the former palace of King Zogus, which now houses a children’s theater. The Palace of Culture rises on the eastern side of the central square of Tirana. The southern wing houses the national library and the largest bookshop in the Albanian capital. The northern part of the building is used by the opera with its ballet and an ensemble dedicated to folk dance.
The Et’hem Bey mosque and the Kulla e Sahatit clock tower are some of the landmarks of Tirana
To the east of the Palace of Culture, the visitor encounters the old mosque Et’hem Bey and Kulla e Sahatit, a clock tower in which a small but fine museum has found its home. The clock tower is 35 meters high. Inside, 90 steps lead up to its top. The watch comes from China. Et`hem Bey is a single-dome mosque with a square floor plan. The side lengths are each ten meters. The inner walls of the mosque are richly decorated with frescoes. Flowers and plant ornaments are the preferred representations. The minaret is 40 meters high and is closed at the top by a so-called pencil tip.