Sightseeing Albania’s national hero at Kruja
Make the easy day trip from Tirana to the family seat of Albania’s 15th-century hero, Skanderbeg. Within the medieval castle’s walls are two interesting museums, the larger dedicated to aforementioned heroic noblemen. Sightseeing the restored Ottoman bazaar just outside the castle offers the best souvenir shopping in Albania.
Reclaim the abandoned city of Butrint
Don’t miss the UNESCO-listed, ancient city of Butrint, with archaeological remains spanning 2,500 years. Embark on one of the suggested walks through the forest below and seek out the public baths and Roman theatre or explore the ruins of the city abandoned in the Middle Ages at your own leisure.
Explore the Ottoman architecture of Gjirokastra and Berati
Explore the well-preserved Ottoman cities of Gjirokastra and Berat with their unique domestic architecture and their imposing hilltop castles. Both listed as World Heritage Sites by UNSECO, the former features unique 17th century houses. While Berat, with its hillside of neat, whitewashed buildings, was declared a “Museum City”.
Find fantastic frescoes in Voskopoja
Admire the vibrant colors of the frescoes in Albania’s little-known churches. Voskopoja, near Korça, was once the largest city in the Balkans. Voskopoja is full of churches and basilicas, and with its own academy where artists were trained. Although the church buildings look a little tired, the fantastic frescoes are still vibrantly colored.
Uncover the legend of Rozafa Castle
Rozafa Castle is built before the Roman conquest, this castle in Shkodra was last used for military purposes as recently as 1913. This castle was the last fortress in Albania to fall to the Ottomans in 1479 and legend has it the castle was named after a woman who was walled into the bulwark as an offering so the castle would stand.
Stand in awe at the Religious Art
The national collections of religious art in Tirana, Korça and Berat contain wonderful icons painted by the 16th-century artist Onufri and his successors in the 18th and 19th centuries. For fans of more modern work Korça’s National Museum of Medieval Art is a good counterpoint.
Explore ancient Archaeological Sites
For instance see interesting and accessible archaeological sites, such as the abandoned ancient Greek city of Apollonia and the steep-sided Roman amphitheater in Durrës. Sightseeing Byllis, may be a little harder to get to, but the Greek ruins, mountain surrounds and views over the Vjosë River valley make it well worth the effort.
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