Albania 00/01 Welcome to Albania Albanian Alps - Thethi Albania is a land to be loved. In this small Mediterranean country, virgin nature and cultural mysteries combine to create a unique sense of place. From the crisp white snow of the mountains to the red fields of spring poppies, Albania’s landscape is ever-changing with the seasons, offering visitors to enjoy a warm summer beach holiday or a challenging mountain trek in the fall. In Albania, visitors are welcomed as guests as part of the country’s rich cultural traditions and heritage. The warm hospitality of the Albanians will make everyone feel at home in this small wonderful land. Come to Albania! We welcome you as our guest!www.albaniantourism.com & www.akt.gov.al
Albanian Hospitality Known as the “Land of the Eagles” A few years later in 1933 the first National (“Shqipëria”) in Albanian, the country of Tourist Organization was established.Albania has a long history of tourism, dating After the Second World War in 1955 the back to the time of Emperor Justinian in ALBTURIST enterprise was established as the fifth century. The Emperor’s family was a state controlled company. In April 1992, known to vacation at Lin village on the Albania created its first Ministry of Tourism, shores of Lake Ohrid, just north which has varied over the years with different names. Today the Ministry also encompasses of Pogradec. Several other famous the sectors of culture, youth and sports. travelers have traveled to Albania The Albanian National Tourism Agency over the centuries: Lord Byron, (NTA) was established in September 2007 Edith Wharton, Rebecca West, by a special decision given by the Council amongst others. Many of them of Ministers and is part of the Ministry of left their impressions of Albania Tourism, Culture, Youth and Sports. through their written works, Hospitality is just one of the reasons that describing in glittering terms tourists come and visit this small country. this “Land of the Eagles”. Within a small territory, Albanian nature The first tourist is amazing. The country is home to twelve association national parks, all of them with something in Albania was unique to offer. The Albanian coast offers established visitors an escape to calm, quiet waters as in 1928 as the almost the entire coast is sheltered from “Royal Tourist winds, making it a paradise for swimmers. Automotive Throughout the centuries Albania has been Club”. a contact point for numerous cultures, from the Illyrians to the Greeks, Romans, Venetians, Byzantines and Ottomans.
Albania 02/03 Explore Albania with us! The country is located in the heart of the There are many forests rich for their flora Mediterranean and is sprawling along the and fauna, many large and small lakes, some seashores of the Adriatic and Ionian Sea. of which are unique in the Balkans for their Albania is an important gateway to the genre. The culture and history are impressive Balkan Peninsula, a junction of roads from and have a lot to offer to the tourists. Butrint, north to south and from west to east. It has is considered as one of the most magical the viability of reaching the major European archaeological sites. It is located in the south capitals within 2 or 3 hours of flight. The of Albania and is part of the UNESCO’s tourists, at their first cultural and visual world heritage program, apprized as one impact will notice an epic country, with a of the most imperial places on earth, full of very old culture, in which probably is spoken mythology and mystic atmosphere. The site one of the oldest languages of Europe. As a lies in the center of a real Mediterranean result of the geographical position, in Albania jungle, and it is built by an ancient Trojan there are traces of different civilizations and style. In the UNESCO’s world heritage list cultures Illyrian, Hellenic, Roman, Byzantine, there are other two Albanian cities prominent Norman, Slave, Ottoman, etc. for their specific and old architectural style, Kosova, Macedonia, Greece, Montenegro Berat and Gjirokastra. The country offers a and Italy through the Adriatic Sea surround whole complex of archaeological sites, Illyrian Albania’s borderland. Although a small area castles, medieval fortifications, Byzantine it offers a diverse nature. There are many churches and monasteries of the post- wonderful beaches, spectacular mountains Byzantine period. with various forms of snow, river valleys, large canyons, and many other surprises for visitors.www.albaniantourism.com & www.akt.gov.al
Who are theseAlbanians? Nowadays Albania territories have been The Greeks arrived in Epidamos (todaypopulated 100,000 years ago. At the beginning Durrës), Apollo and Butrint in the seventhof the third millennium BC, in the area it was century BC, settling there with self-governed established an Indo-European population. colonies. In the north with the expansion of As a result of the merge it was conceived a the Ardianai Kingdom, based in Shkodër,population that retained the characteristics of a new conflict with Rome started, which in specific cultural and language in the Balkan the year 229 BC culminated with Rome Peninsula (pelazgieas). Based in the older sending a fleet of 200 ships against Queen inhabitants, between Teuta. In 167 BC this war ended up with the second millennium the expansion of Roman Empire control all and the first century BC over the Balkans. The most important trade was founded route between Rome and Kostandinopoli Illyrian population. was Egnatia road, which passed through The Illyrians, the port of Durrës. With the division of the as the Greeks, Roman Empire (395 AC), Illyria fell into preserved their the occupation of the eastern empire, later language known as the Byzantine Empire. Three of the and traditions, first Byzantine emperors (Pari Anastasius I, regardless of Justin and I Justian) were of Illyrian origin. the Roman From 1443 until 1468, the Albanian resistance centaury under the command of Skanderbeg (Gjergj occupation. Kastrioti), won 25 battles against the Turks led by Sultan Fatih Mehmet the conqueror of Kostandinopoli who failed to invade the city of Kruja.
Albania 04/05 After the death of Scanderbeg, it was a matter of time for the Ottomans to defeat the Albanian resistance, taking control of the country in 1479; 26 years later Kostandinopoli was occupied. For more than 400 years, Albania has been under the Ottoman regime. Muslim citizens were the favored by the system, which excluded them from the Janisari. A tax that required every Christian family to provide one their sons, converted to Islam to serve the Ottoman army. As a result, many Albanians converted to Islam but always breeding harmony and religious The self-support system used by the tolerance. Numerous efforts and rebellions communist regime banned Albania from for independence brought to the declaration foreign investments, leaving the people in of the independence in November 1912. From great economic poverty until 1991. This year 1912 until the end of the First World War, was the time when Albania eventually the country became prey by the attacks of the emerged from isolation. From 1991 to 1997, neighboring states. the Democratic Party governed the country, Mussolini Italian fascist’s but as consequence of the failure of pyramid occupied the country schemes, in 1997 the coalition of the Socialist in 1939, ending the Party took power until 2005. After the last Ahmet Zogu monarchy elections, on 3 July 2005, the coalition of the that lasted 11 years. Democratic Party took power again. In 1943, Hitler’s forces Albania is a member of the NATO alliance occupied the country. now and is actually involved in a series of The resistance to foreign processes and reforms aimed at economic attacks is known as the growth and the country’s admission into Anti Fascist National the European Community. Liberation Front. In November 1944 when the German troops of the Third Reich left the country the Communist Party came to power. Shortly after, the totalitarian regime was established under the leadership of the communist leader Enver Hoxha. Around 50 years of this regime of isolation policy was applied.www.albaniantourism.com & www.akt.gov.al
Mother ElizaTeresa Dushku Stan DragotiIsmail Inva IbrahimKadare Mula Kodra Jim BelushiFerid AngelinMurati Preljocaj Albanians: the Great and the Good These are some of the most prominent Albanians in the international arena, but there are many others with conspicuous success in present times. Most importantly, these sons and daughters of a small country like Albania confirm the vitality and the verve theses people hold, by listing us proudly in the big human terrestrial family.
Albania 06/07Albanians today of the contemporary choreography, is theThe sage, the humanity and the geniality of Paris Opera House ballet maestro, Angjelinthis small nation is revealed, and signified Prelocaj, whose works stand alongside thein many outstanding figures, who proudly works of the Great Nurejev. Born in 1957 ofhave unfold their extraordinary work in the Albanian parents who had immigrated tointernational arena, helping the development Paris, he began his career by studying classicaland global prosperity, peace, art and culture, dance before turning to contemporary dance.science and medicine worldwide. He has received many prestigious prizes,The country is home of the great figure of among them the “Chevalier dee L’Ordrethe humanity, Mother Teresa of Calcutta National des Arts et des Lettres”.whose maiden name is Gonxhe Bojaxhi, herparents were both Albanians and many otherpersonalities. Her activities in humanitarianassistance to people in need, poor andvictimized by wars, are unprecedented,transforming her in the image of a saint forthe whole humanity. These Albanians are inmany, but we’re going to mention only someof the boldest of them. From the foremost isthe writer Ismail Kadare, who has won manyprestigious international awards, amongwhich the most important is the “Man BookerInternational Price”. The Great Kadare ispublished in almost every country of theworld, and he was also nominated several To achieve a position in the history oftimes for the Nobel Prize. Also the opera contemporary visual arts is an indisputablesinger Inva Mula ranks among the ten best merit, considering the immense surge ofsopranos of the world, with a repertory of painters and sculptors, endless modern andextraordinary arias from almost all of the postmodern currents of the XX century. Thisgenius opera composers of all time. The merit was given to Ibrahim Kodra, born insoprano appears in the most prestigious opera the town of Durrës and formed and shapedscenes of the world and is particularly much as an artist in Italy. His masterpieces standappreciated in the “La Scala” of Milan and in alongside other famous painters such asthe “Metropolitan” of New York. Modigliani and exposed in the most well known galleries around the world. On the other side of the Atlantic, many other famous Albanians are contributing in their respective areas. Among the foremost in the sphere of medicine is the Nobel Prize Ferid Murad with the invention of the Viagra pill. The famous Hollywood actor James Belushi and his brother John Belushi, considered as the Elvis Presley of the American Comedian. Eliza Dushku, the young actress of Albanian origin. Another very successful Albanian is the movie director Stan Dragoti, who led the New York City promotionIn the field of arts and letters, the violinist campaign named “I loveTedi Papavrami, is described by the media New York”. Fadil Berishacriticism as the “The little Albanian virtuoso”, the great photographerbecause of the admiration he sparked when living in New York,he was a child with the sound of his violin considered by thein many international stages. Another major critics as a focustalent named by French media as the genius of genius.
Ancientechoes“Masterpieceof the oralandintangibleheritage ofhumanity”Iso-polyphony is an epic form of the oral art of singing in Albania, which has its origin in theancient times. It is now present in southern Albania, especially in the provinces of Gjirokastra,Tepelena, Vlora, reaching its culmination in the Ionian coast, in Himara and the surroundingvillages. One of the masterpieces of the iso-polyphony is the song titled “The girl of the waves”,written by the poet Neço Muko, whose subject is based on the immigration and it is sang inHimara region. The 25 November 2005 is a historic day for the whole cultural heritage of theAlbanians, in this day the Albanian Iso-poliphonia folk music joins the list of “The Masterpieceof the Human Oral Heritage”, protected by UNESCO.
Albania 08/09 The Albanian UNESCO sitesGjirokastra, the city of stone. Albania ranks as one of the countries, part of the UNESCO world heritage. Thus the archaeological point of Butrint located in the south of the country, is part of the UNESCO world heritage list since 1992, being the first Albanian site enlisted. The other two cities are Berat and Gjirokastra (since 2005). Butrint is the country’s major archaeological site. The settlement was inhabited since prehistoric times and it’s important to mention that has been part of Greek and Roman colonies. Later, it was followed by a period of prosperity under Byzantine administration, and then ruled by Venetian domination for a short period. The city was abandoned in late medievalism. The present archaeological status of the site shows traces of all the periods of time that the city has gone through.
The culture of Albania has evolved over hundreds of yearsThe most ancient objects are a stone hammer In the IV-XIII century the city was mention and a shaft belonging to the second half as an Episcopal center. In the years 1080-1085 of the second millennium BC. Hekateu the city was in the hands of the Normans and firstly mentioned the city, by the end of the then ruled by the Venetian, who in the XIII VI century BC. He affirmed that the city centaury builds up a fortification securing was built according to Troy and the origin the city for four long centauries. In the future of the name refers to the sacrifice, a bull years the French invaded the fortification but named “Buthrotos” provided by the Trojan in 1798 Ali Pashë Tepelena annexed Butrint. prince Enea on his way to Dodona. On its He constructed two forts to protect the early periods Butrinit was the center of the strategic point from the French attacks coming Kaonic tribes, later to become part of the from Corfu. The ancient city of Butrint passed kingdom of Epir. In the years 1926-1936 the in the hands of the Ottoman invaders until Italian archeologist Luigi Ugolini led his the period of the Independence. Nowadays excavations in the southern Albania. He Butrint is one of the most tourist hot-spot andfocused his work in Butrint and Finiq, where is certainly an object of pride in our country’s he discovered: the baptistery, the theater, past history. the basilica, the public baths, many houses, and a great number of object sand statues of inestimable value. The most extraordinary objects discovered in the theatre of Butrint are the statue of Apollo, the goddess of Butrinti, the marble heads of Zeus, the Agrippina’s portrait, as well as many Latin and Greek epigraphs. In the V century BC part of the city was rebuilt.
Albania 10/11 Tirana: a dynamic capital city Tirana is the capital of Albania and also the Famous Italian architects project the center main economic and cultural center of the of Tirana at the time of Mussolini. Tirana country. Tirana is relatively new; Sulejman Boulevard “Dëshmorët e Kombit” was built Pashë Bargjini founded it in 1614. In the in 1930, while the central square “Scanderbeg place where today is the monument of “The Square” was during the years 1928 -1929. Unknown Soldier”, he firstly built a mosque, In year 1968, on the occasion of the a haman and a stove, which at the time were 500 memorial of the death of national hero the main institutions of a newborn city. Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg his monument In 1816 Toptani family ruled the city. The was inaugurated in the “Skanderbeg Square”. most important event for Tirana is 11 Thirty years after in the square was added February of the year 1920, when Lushnja the monument of the dictator Enver Hoxha. Congress declared it provisional capital Shortly after on the 20 February 1991 the of Albania, which would have gained the students and the people oust it from the definitive status in 1925. square. Following this act the city had a constant growth, In Tirana you can visit a network of museums which continues and galleries such as the National History and has taken Museum, the Archeology Museum, the momentum private Museum “Mezuraj”, the Gallery especially of the Figurative Arts, numerous private after 1990. galleries etc. Some of the most important monuments and sites in Tirana are Mosaic Saint George, the walls of the Tirana’s Castle, the tomb of Kaplan Pasha (one of the medieval rulers of the city), the “Tabak Bridge”, Mosque of Ethem Beut etc.www.albaniantourism.com & www.akt.gov.al
Tirana is simultaneously the center of The Clock Tower. many important institutions such as the Palace of Congresses, the International Cultural Center, the Palace of Culture with the Opera House and the Ballet Theater, Sky-Tower, etc, as well as the governmental buildings of the Council of Ministers, the Presidency and the Parliament. In the southeast of the city, lies the park with an area of 250 ha, which includes the 55 ha artificial lake, the memorial of the British and German soldiers fallen in Albania during World War II, the Botanical park and a the swimming pool complex the ideal place for leisure activities.
Albania 12/13 Nightlife in Tirana The capital is the most dynamic center of Albania with a lively nightlife, which is a fascinating combination of theaters, restaurants and clubs. Most of them open all night long. There are a variety of places to entertain you. Bars and clubs (located in the former block area) playing all kind of live music, such as jazz, house, funky, Latin, etc. You can choose to go at the “Irish Pub” or at the “Tirana Hard Rock Cafe” an American style saloon playing hard rock music. Tirana is home to the Opera House, the National Theater and many other galleries and museums, which in recent years have been the stage to many artists and performances famous worldwide. Tirana overnight offers you a wide range of cocktail bars, where you can enjoy some very delicious cocktails while listening to the selected music by the best DJ. Downtown is “Regency Casino” inviting all the warm-blooded people about gamble.www.albaniantourism.com & www.akt.gov.al
The Petrela Castle The Petrela Castle is located 18 km away The southern and the southeastern side are from the capital alongside the Tirana- extremely craggy, which made the fortress Elbasan national road and it is one of the protected and unreachable. The Petrela Castlemain tourist points near Tirana. The fortress was built at the time Vila Castle (an ancient rises on a rocky hill above the village with stronghold lying in front of Petrela Castle)the same name. This Castle has a triangular lost its importance. The fortress was built shape with two spotting towers. Its first for military purpose, guarding the Egnatia’s construction period belongs to antiquity, road branch Tirana-Durrës-Elbasan, which at while the current architectural profile dates the time had a particular significance. At the on the XV century AD. Discoveries show beginning of the XIV the stronghold was part that the Castle of Petrela, is a medieval fortress built at the time of the Byzantine of the Topiaj dominion, the rulers of a region Emperor Justinian I, in the VI century AD. flanked between Mat and Shkumbin. In the The castle was constructed on top of a high walls of the castle is the first insignia of Topiaj rocky hill. family.
Albania 14/15 Mentioned in ancient times by the Roman poet Katulus as “The Adriatic tavern”, Durrës is one of the oldest cities of Albania with a 3000-year of history. Founded in the year 627 BC by the colonists, coming from Korinth and Korkyra, the city was originally named “Epidamnos” and later “Duyrrachium”. Now days the city, is the country’s principal port and is daily connected with the ferry lines to the Italian ports of Bari, Brindisi, Trieste and Ancona and the Slovenian port of Koper. Durrës is known for its nearby sea resort, which is the largest and most popular in Albania.During the summer season it is the home for thousands of tourists from Kosova, Macedonia and also for day visitors. In southern part of Durrës beach the “Kavaja rock”, known in roman times as Petra is located. In was here that in antiquity, the battle between Julius Ceazar and Pompey, took place. The most important monument to be visited in Durrës is the roman amphitheatre build up in the first century AD. It is the second largest monument of this type in Balkan. Other things of interest are the archeological museum, the rotunda (the Byzantine forum), the Roman baths, the castle walls, the small Venetian fortress etc. Part of the UNESCO’s world heritage list, Berat a “2400 year old museum”, is located 130 km away from the capital of the country. Built alongside Osumi River, the city lies by the foot of Tomorri mountain, considered in antiquity as a sacred place. Named, as “The city of one above the other window”, Berat has two characteristic quarters Mangalem and Goricë. It is described as a rare example of a well-preserved Ottoman city located in central Albania. Part of the city is the castle, which was built in the 13th century, but its origins date back to the 4th century BC. The center of the castle is rich with many Byzantine churches; most of them are unique for the wall paintings, icons and the values they hold. The cathedral of St. Mary is housing the “Onufri”, National Iconographic Museum. To be mentioned is the fact that the city of Berat, has a considerable number of mosques built in the Ottoman period. The King’s Mosque (Xhamia e Mbretit) is the oldest one built in the XV century, at the time of Bayazid II and is notable for its fine ceiling.www.albaniantourism.com & www.akt.gov.al
The city of Korça is located in the southeastern The city of Porgadec was built in thepart of the country. It is one of the largest southwestern shores of Lake Ohrid and isand most important cultural and economical one of the most notable cities of Albania forcenters of Albania. The city is known for its its tradition in hosting “family tourism”typical quarters, composed by low houses and and for the pleasant, fresh climate duringvillas, which are paved with cobblestone. The the summer season. The tectonic lake is thecity of Korça has a range of museums such as deepest of its kind in the Balcan Peninsula.“The Education Museum”, which is located in Its maximal deep reach approximately tothe building where the first Albanian school 300 meters and is 4 million years old. The lakeopened in 1887, “The National Museum of envoirmnet retains a very old flora and fauna.Medieval Art”, “The Prehistoric Museum”, It houses the rare fish, called “Koran”, a kindthe house-museum of the famous landscape- of trout, unfoundable almost in any other lakepainter, Vangjush Mio, the museum of the in the world. Lake Ohrid is part of the Naturaloriental art “Bratko”, etc. In the vicinity of the and Cultural Heritage list of UNESCO. Thecity, there is the cemetery of French soldiers most tourist spots around the lake aret Lin,fallen during the First World War. Korça is Pojskë, Hudenisht and Tushemisht. Worththe city where the largest carnival in Albania, visiting are the Driloni water sources, locatedare organized. This event takes place before 5 km from Pogradec. There are very nicethe Orthodox Eastern. The city is known for restaurants constracted with wood, andthe local songs, called serenades. In the city offering some of the most delicious dishiesyou will find many taverns with tasteful of the region. Do not miss the Koran’s dishtraditional cooking such as various types of (Tavë Korani). Besides nature, Pogradec andpie which perfectly combines with the good its vicinities provide a big number of historicalmusic and the traditional drink, raki. Korça is sites such as the Basilica of Lin along witha very good base for exploring many tourist their multicolored mosaic, the monumentalpoints located in the nearby mountains graves of the lower Selca, which aresuch as Voskopoja, Dardha, Vithkuqi and unique in their kind, etc.Boboshtica. These villages are well knownfor offering the possibility to practice manyoutdoor sports and activities. Beside thatthe area is famous for the Byzantine churchesof Vithkuqi and Voskpoja, whose internalsare painted by the famous Albanianmedieval painters. Not far from Korça youcan visit Prespa Lake, which is the country’slargest national park, the Neolithic tombof Kamenica, etc.
Albania 16/17 Vlora is an old city founded in the VI century The city of Saranda enjoys a very good BC, known by the name Aulona. Vlora has position along the Ionian coast and nearby a very beautiful natural position located in the Greek island of Corfu. These two locations the front of the Karaburun peninsula and are regularly connected via ferry links, which Sazan Island and surrounded by beaches makes possible for tourists to visit all the and rocky sand. The city carries historical marvelous sites of the city of Saranda. The values to the Albanian nation hosting the city was firstly mentioned in I century BC First Assembly, which declared the country’s with the name “Onhezmus”. The ancient city independence from the Ottoman ruling was destroyed by the barbarian invasions. on the 28 November 1912. The Museum of However, some ruins remained, and today is Independence is dedicated to this historic possible to visit the old settlement as well as event. Other museums are the ethnographic the old synagogue. Saranda is well known for and historic ones. Highly recommended is the its sunny weather and has traditionally been “Muradije” mosque, the only work remained the ideal destination for the honeymooners in Albania from the famous architect Sinan and the young people. In the city and not the Great, built in 1542. On the top of the hill far from, there are some small and very overlooking the city is the religion point of clean beaches like Ksamil, Krorëz, Kakome “Kuzum Baba”. Vlora is the starting point etc. There are good natural opportunities to the Albanian Riviera and is one of the for different water activities. The area most frequented areas of the Albanian “Sun round Saranda is blessed with a number and Sea” tourism. In this region are the of archaeological sites. Definitely the most archeological parks of Orikum and Amantia important is Butrint. Part of the UNESCO’s and the National Park of Llogara. world heritage list, since 1992 is only 18 km away from the city. Beside numerous objects like the Askelapius temple, the Theater, the Stoa, the portals, the Baptistery, the Venetian fortress you will have the possibilities to walk in a real Mediterranean jungle dominated from high trees and daffiness. This eco-system is a National Park. Other important sites are the ruins of the 40 Saints Monastery, which denominates the modern city of Saranda, the Mespopotam church and the three-angular castle of the Vivari channel. Only 2 km south of Saranda on the top of a high hill is the Lëkursi castle, a nice place for having a tasty meal while enjoying the Ionian extraordinary landscape. Other places wit interest are the “The Blue Eye” water sources, the ruins of the ancient city Fonikes (Finiq), a former settlement of the Kaonian tribe etc.www.albaniantourism.com & www.akt.gov.al
The traditional city of Gjirokastra is part ofthe World Heritage list of UNESCO, and isone of the most attractive tourist sites of thecountry. Perched on the eastern side of theWide Mountain (Mali i Gjërë), its activitystarted with the IV century castle, which istoday the greatest castle in the whole country.Inside the fortress is the Museum of Weapons,where weapons of different periods untilSecond World War are exposed. Old housesbuild by stone resembling to small castlesand streets paved with cobblestone are someof the main touristy attractions. Gjirokastrais also known as “The City of Stone”. InGjirokastra, you can visit the ethnographicMuseum, which is located in the house wherethe former communist dictator Enver Hoxhawas born. The city is a very good starting baseto reach the Archaeological Park of Antigonea,the Tekke of Melan near the village ofNepravishta, as well as the untouched naturalareas of the fir of Sotira in Dropull, the water Shkodra lies in northwest Albania, nearsources of Viroi, etc. the lake with the same name, which is also the largest lake of the Balkan Peninsula. Shkodra is an ancient city founded in the IV century BC as the main center of the Illyrian Labeat tribe. The city was originally named Scutari. Shkodra is one of the main centers of Albanian culture and history. The main attraction visited by tourists is the Rozafa Castle, which belongs to the Illyrian period. The castle was builds on a rocky hill located in the west side of the city, surrounded by three rivers: Drini, Buna, and Kir. Other interesting and historical places to visit are the Historical Museum, the Marubi atelier of photography, the “Lead” Mosque built by Bushatlliu in 1774, the Englishman’s Clock (Sahati i Inglizit), the Great Coffee (Kafja e Madhe) designed and built in 1900 by the local architect Kolë Idromeno, the typical quarters of Gjuhadoli and Serreq built with venetian architecture, the Cathedral Church, the Brotherhood Church (Kisha e Fretërve), etc. There is a great number of natural and architectural places surrounding the city to be visited, such as the Velipoja beach, the Shkodra lake with the picturesque villages and Shiroka and Zogaj, where you can enjoy the unique cooking of the carp dish (Tava e Krapit), “Ura e Mesit”, a bridge on the river Kir, the ruins of the medieval city of Sarda in the Vau Dejës lake. Shkodra is also the gateway to the magnificent Alps of Albania.
Albania 18/19 Kruja is 32 km away from the capital and very close to the Tirana International Airport. The historic city of Kruja is 608 high meters above the sea level and offers an open vista to an amazing panoramic view. There you can visit the Museum of Gjergj Kastrioti “Skenderbeu” and go shopping in its old traditional market. The name and the importance of the city are closely related to the 25 years of activity of our national hero, Scanderbeg, who in the XVI century made Kruja a bastion of uncompromising resistance against the Ottoman. The Gjergj Kastrioti Museum, is situated inside the castle, which dates V-VI century AD. The museum itself is inaugurated in 1981. Within the walls of the castle are the Ethnographic Museum and Elbasani is the country’s third largest city, the Dollma Tekke. Interesting enough is the which was once a settlement and a station, on traditional market near the castle’s entrance, the ancient “Via Egnatia” (Egantia road). The which dates from the period of Scanderbeg. city was originally known as Skampa. The Here tourists can find Albanian craft products rebuilding of the castle by Sultan Mehmed such as embroidery, carpeting, silver objects, the II in 1466, named the city “Ilbasan” which copper, alabaster, filigree, traditional clothing, means, “to rule the country” to be later antiquary etc. Kruja is 54 km from the capital transformed in the today’s name Elbasan. and 82 km from Durrës, country’s main Some of the most interesting objects in the maritime entrance. city are the walls of the old castle, encircling residential quarters. Inside the walls the one can visit the St. Mary church, having a very beautiful iconostas and the King Mosque (Xhamia Mbret). Other objects are the Ethnographic Museum and the thermal waters in the vicinity of the city, which are used since the Roman period. 4 km away from the city is the Monastery of St. John Vladimir built by the Albanian prince Carl Topia in 1382. In this monastery, were also found the buried remains of Montenegrin Prince Vladimir, which were respected by local residents by performing sacred processions on his honor. Other sites to be visited in Elbasan are the churches of Shelcan and Valësh which were painted by the famous Albanian iconographer, Onufri.www.albaniantourism.com & www.akt.gov.al
The house is always open for guestsThe Hospitality, the Culture and the ArtHospitality is an old Albanian tradition. In the Kanun of Lekë Dukagjini (Ancient North Albaniancode) was written “The house is always open for guests”. In the tradition of the hospitality, theforeigners are always treated with special respect. Albanians are a friendly people and makevisitors feel very welcome.
Albania 20/21 Beside, hospitality that was highly estimated in centuries by travelers, in Albania is worth mentioning the many rich traditions and folklore of the country, which is extremely rich of resources and forms. During your visit through ethnographic museums as well as by following artistic folkloric activities you will be able to enjoy this wealth inherited in centuries that still continues to blossom in the nowadays. Albanian Art has left its traces in the Now days Albania is part of the European arena by authors such as the contemporary world of arts and culture musician Jan Kukuzeli of the XI century, through the range of artists in different who has contributed in the field of Byzantine disciplines. music by composing a system of his own, known as “The Kukuzeli system”, the famous Your visit in Albania is a good opportunity iconographer of the XVI century, Onufri, to visit many art galleries, exhibitions, known especially for its unique artistic value, museums and also to follow a wide range and many others. of different activities. Inva Mula is a regular performer at La Scala, where she has sung in “La Bohème” and “Manon”, “La Traviata” among others.www.albaniantourism.com & www.akt.gov.al
Curly pelicans: on the most western nesting point in EuropeThe curly PelicanOne of the most specific species of the Albanian is ornitofauna. In addition to the fact that heis located in some areas of Albania, he is well adopted to the natural environment as the mostwestern point of his European habitat. This place is the Karavasta lagoon in the Adriatic coast,which is the largest lagoon of the Albanian coast with a surface of 4,330 hectares and at the sametime one of the largest lagoons of the Adriatic. For this reason the Karavasta lagoon is protectedby the International Convention since 1994 and enlisted in the RAMSAR list. Inside the lagoon isa small sandy island where flocks of pelicans usually stay together. It is very pleasant to observethis island while approaching by boat. The curly Pelican is considered as endangered specie whilethe number of this exemplar is decreasing worldwide. The Karavasta lagoon in Albania stillretains 5 percent of its population in the world scale.
Albania 22/23 Divjaka Pines National Park This Park is 40 km from the town of Lushnja or 5 km from Divjaka. It has an area of 1,250 hectares part of the Karavasta Lagoon under the protection of RAMSAR International Convention since 1994. Here is one of the most important ecosystems in the country. The fauna of the Park is particularly rich with the curly pelican (a very rare specie) constituting about 5 % of world population of this type of pelican. Dajti National Park Located to the east of Tirana, it has an area of 3,300 hectares. It is Llogara Park 50 km far from the international airport or 26 About 40 km to the southeast of Vlora, this km from Tirana. The park has a number of Park is where the Adriatic becomes the Ionian 200-year old beech trees that are really worth Sea. Near the Llogara Pass, a number of very visiting. Daily visitors frequent the Park that interesting tree shapes due to wind currents it is considered Tirana’s “natural balcony”. can be observed, for ample “Pisha Flamur” Accommodation is available for tourists (the flag Pine). From the Llogara Pass, visitors interested in more than daylong stays. can see the Ionian Sea, the sharp slopes of Vetëtima Mountain and a good part of the Thethi National Park “Albanian Riviera”. It is a great spot for air Located in the Albanian Alps, by the Cursed sports as well as a Mountains (Bjeshkët e Namuna), it has an area wonderful climate of 2,630 hectares. It is 70 km far from Shkodra due to the combination and is run through by the Theth River with of mountain and sea air. a plentiful supply of mountain trout. The Grunas waterfall is particularly worth visiting. In addition, there are many oak trees and a variety of animals in the park. Lura National Park It has an area of 1,280 hectares to the east of “Kunora e Lurës”. The most picturesque feature is the 14 glacier lakes of Lura, which are frozen in the winter. To the south, you can visit the “field of mares” which has a wide variety of colorful plants and coniferous trees. The Park has great possibilities for developing eco-tourism.www.albaniantourism.com & www.akt.gov.al
Valbona Valley National ParkWith an area of 8,000 hectares this isthe gem of Albanian Alps. It is located25-30 km to the north west of BajramCurri town. It lies between highmountain peaks and it is a festivalof colors and contrasts. Its biodiversitymakes it very important as a touristattraction. The Valbona village isthe focal point of the Park.Its configuration, hydrology, forests, Zall Gjocaj National Parkflowers, characteristic dwellings and With an area of 140 hectares, it is 40 km to thethe hospitality of its people make the north east of Burrel. It is a very picturesquepark an ideal place to visit. park with a number of underground water sources and creeks.Tomorri Mountain ParkWith an area of 4,000 hectares, the Park Prespa National Parkis to the east of the museum city of Berat. It has an area of 27,750 hectares and straddlesFrom afar, the mountain of Tomorr gives the borders of three countries: Albania,the impression of a gigantic natural fortress. Greece and Macedonia. It contains the lakes ofHere is also the grave of Abaz Aliu (Kulmak Prespa e Madhe and Prespa e Vogël and theirTekke), 1,200 m above sea level. Every August water source. It is an area rich with culturalthousands of pilgrims go up to the tekke for a tradition. Eremite Byzantine churches exist inweek thus stimulating religious tourism. the cave of Tren, Prespa e Vogël Lake, Trajani’s castle, St. Mary’s Church and in the island ofFir of Hotova National Park Maligrad.With an area of 1,200 hectares in the regionof Frashër, it is located about 35 km to the Butrint National Parknortheast of Përmet. Its characteristic is This Park is located about 25 km to the souththe Hotova Fir, which is one of the most of Saranda. It has high scientific, tourist andimportant Mediterranean plant relics of the archaeological values as well as a highcountry. Thanks to its great nature, healthy biodiversity. The park is 2,500 hectares.climate and proximity to living quarters, this The following activities can be carried out inPark has great recreational value year round. this area: blue tourism in Ksamil, ecotourism in Butrint Lake, fishing, water sports etc.Shtama Pass National ParkWith an area of 2,000 hectares, the Park is Fir of Drenova National Park25 km to the northeast of Kruja. The water Located 10 km from the city of Korça, the parksources “Queen Mother” is one of the most has an area of 1,380 hectares. Locals as wellattractive spots in the Park with clean, cold as tourists visit it frequently. Many drinkingand curative waters. A large number of water sources such as Shen Gjergji, Plaka,visitors frequent the Park. Pllica and others are located in the Park.
Albania 24/25 The Republic of Albania has a considerable Beside the beaches, the Adriatic cost is rich costal line length of 450 km (including of many lagoons, natural ecosystems with lagoons), extending it in to two seas: the important opportunities for those passionate Adriatic and Ionian, which have different about the birds studying and observation characteristics from each another. The and the eco-tourism. The Ionian costal line is Adriatic beaches are sandy with shallow known for the fascinating beaches with deep waters, making it suitable for family and very clean waters. Young people mostly visit the Ionian beaches. This area offers many holidays. The main beaches are those opportunities for those found of water sports of Velipoja, Shën Gjin, Durrës, Golem, like, diving, boat tours etc. Some of the most Spillenjë, Divjaka, Vlora’s new beach etc. exotic and interesting beaches in the south of Albania are Dhërmi, Jali, Himara, Qeparo, Borsh, Saranda and Ksamil.www.albaniantourism.com & www.akt.gov.al
The small country spread in two seas There are many lakes in the territory of The city of Pogradec was built on itsAlbania, differing in size and characteristics. southwestern coast of the lake and is well The most famous is Lake Ohrid with a known for its climate. Alongside the lakeshore surface of 362 km2, of which 1/3 belongs to there are several tourist centers such as Lini, Albania. The lake is 300 m deep ranking Pojska, Pogradec, Drilon and Tushemisht,itself as the deepest in the Balkan Peninsula. where many hotels and guesthouses offer The historical values and the diverse flora all optimal conditions for a wonderful and and fauna enlisted this naturalistic site as relaxing vacation. Shkodra Lake possesses part of the UNESCO’s cultural and natural a surface of 362 km2, which 149 km2 belongsheritage. There is a variety of aquatic species to Albania. The main tourist centers are in the lake.The most famous and particular Shiroka and Zogaj, offering numerous hotels one is Koran, a very tasty fish. and restaurants.
Albania 26/27 Komani Lake in the North Albania. The area is famous for the variety of fish dishes such as: carp, eel and shtojzë. The Main leisure activities are fishing, swimming, sunbathing and the exploration of the area. Prespa Lake with a surface of 285 km2, which 38.8 km2 belongs to Albania is known for the small island of Maligrad. For those exploring the island it would be very interesting to see the old eremite church there. Those who are willing to explore more of Albania will be able to see the artificial lakes formed by the Drin’s cascade (Vau i Dejës lake, Koman lake and Fierza lake).The artificial lakes of Shkopeti and Ulza, the small glacial lakes of Lura, Balgjait, Doberdol, Sylbice, Rajca, Lukova, etc.www.albaniantourism.com & www.akt.gov.al
Liquid therapyThermal waters in Albania & Health TourismAlbania enjoys a number of thermal water sources, located in different parts of Albania like inPeshkopia, Bilaj in Fushe-Kruja, Elbasan, Vronomero in Leskoviku, Bënjë in Përmet, etc. Thesethermal waters are famous for having regenerative and curative characteristics. Some of themwere exploited in the Roman period such as the thermal waters of Elbasan.
Albania 28/29 The Postenant steam baths near Leskoviku and the drinking water sources of Kroi i Bardhë in the Municipality of Selita, in Mirdita are known for the valuable medical attributes in curing disease like asthma, skin diseases, arthritics, neurologic diseases, gastritis, rheumatism etc. Some of these water sources offer contemporary accommodation services like the “Ibrahim Kupi” SPA Center in Bilaj, Elbasan, in Peshkopia and Leskovik. Health Tourism Dental tourism is a new term to us but in fact has begun being very sensitive toward significant actors in this field. Durrës is among the cities with the largest number of tourists in the summer season and has begun to practice massively health tourism, primarily in the field of teratology. Albania offers low prices on the market for dental services and great quality in this sector. In recent years the Albanian immigrants who live outside Albania have exploit massively this health service. Now this kind of treatment is being used by foreign citizenship as well.www.albaniantourism.com & www.akt.gov.al
Leisure sportsand adventureThe Albanian nature with its various forms Albania is a country with dense hydrographic and variety offers numerous opportunities network. The area offers numerous rivers, for exercising many types of sports and gorgeous valleys, full of narrow gorges, activities for a remarkable vacation. canyons and other surprises. Water sports Mountains and hills, which occupy 2/3 of such as rafting, canoeing, are much popular the country extending from north to south in this region. To be mention are the canyons offer opportunities for activities such as in Osumi river, the Këlcyra gorge, the upperhiking, trekking, walking, climbing, skiing, Vjosa flow in the Përmeti region, the Devolli caves exploration, mountain bike, etc. The valley, and in the Shala Valley in the Albanian most beautiful and most frequented areas Alps. Albania has a lot of places suitable for are those of the Albanian alps like Thethi, practicing air sports like paragliding, flights Valbona, Vermoshi, Razma, the area of with delta plan etc. The most important pointKorça with many hot-spots like: Voksopoja, to exercise these sports is Llogara, and theDardha, Vithkuqi and Boboshtica as well as mountains of Morava in Korça. In the lastmany other points as many other like Dajti, years the Albanian territory has been part Llogaraja, Gërmenji, Tomorri etc. of many international races.
Albania 30/31 The Pirogoshi Cave The Pirogoshi cave is located in the Skrapari province and constitutes the largest cave with a length of over 1,500 meters. It is situated at an altitude of 450 meters above sea level near the village Radesh, 3 km from the city of Çorovoda. The cave has a wide entrance of 12 meters and an altitude of approximately 5 meters. Inside is rich of stalactite and stalagmites. Quite interesting to visit is the “major corridors”. The cave ends with a deep well where the colonies of bats live.www.albaniantourism.com & www.akt.gov.al
TraditionalAlbanian Foodand BeveragesTraditional AlbanianFood and Beverage The Turkish, the Balkan and the European As a result of the suitable Mediterranean kitchen mostly influenced the Albanian climate, Albania is known for cultivating kitchen. This is known for its high grapes and producing a variety of red and nutritional values of food and the very white wines. The most famous are: Merlot, good taste. Almost every province offers Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Kallmet, Sangiovese, its particular specialties. The cookery Riesling, etc. But the most famous alcoholic of the grilled meat, especially lamb and drink in Albania is Rakia (a type of brandy preparation of various pies is widespread whose main ingredient is mostly the grape’s across the country. The middle and the juice). Some other areas of Albania (Korçë southern Albania are well known for using and Dibër) use the plum’s fruit to produce a large-scale of vegetables, the olive oil, the brandy or the raspberry in Boboshtica.various spices and lemon. The fish dishes are Albania is also known for producing the especially popular in the town of Shkoder, Skanderbeg cognac, famous for its taste the Carp Dish (Tava e Krapit), in Pogradec and flavor. This Albanian cognac has won the Koran with walnuts, as well as many many international awards. Among the non- other fish dishes in the coastal zone of the alcoholic beverages is to be Ionian and Adriatic etc. Albania is famous mentioned Boza (a corn- for a variety of pastry; a big number of them based refreshing drink), are common to other Balkan countries and produced in the minor Asia. One of them is “Ballokumja”, a north of the traditional cake whose ingredients are corn country flour, butter and sugar, which originates in especially in the the town of Elbasan and is delivered as a province of Kukësitreat for the Summer Day’s event (March 14). and its vicinities.
Albania 32/33 Typical albanian flavours and souvenirs You cannot leave Albania without taking Works in filigree, copper are used to create first a souvenir from the country, so full of various works of finery, as well as works in tradition. These typical Albanian products gold, wood engraving, weaponry decoration are an example of the impersonation of the in gold and silver applied in centauries are Albanian people tradition, which is clearly part of this cultural heritage. expressed and maintained from generation Famously known for the souvenirs trading to generation. These craft works are applied and classical in its kind, is the old market in different techniques such as wool, wood, of Kruja. Distinguished for wool products, copper, silver etc. Since ancient times artistic such as carpet, fez, the wooden pipes, the old craftworks were important components of products of copper, filigrees etc. the Albanian culture. The traditional wool Beside Kruja the tourists and the visitors are clothes, shajaku (pressed wool craft used in welcomed to visit all the other cultural center different parts of Albania), elegant fabric of Albania such as Berati, Gjirokastra, Tirana clothes (used especially for festive events), and Shkodra, where they will be able to feel show this heritage with its stylish art too, and to appreciate souvenirs of this wonderful whose embroidery of various gold and silver tradition, which are the real expression of our threads are very unique. ancient origins.www.albaniantourism.com & www.akt.gov.al
Cultural EventsMarch 14 November 29“The Summer Day” “The White Night”(various activities and concerts) (music and different festive activities)May: November:“Tirana’s Jazz Festival” The International Book Fair“Top Fest” December:June 21 Tirana Film Festival“The International Day of Music” (the most important cinematographic event)(musical bands playing music everywhere The Albanian Song Festivaland different activities) (transmitted by the National Radio Television) “The Magical song” (music festival)September 16Peza’s event (different activities) These events are organized annually with no specified opening day.September The International PhotographyThe Biennale of Tirana (every two years) Competition "Marubi"“Poeteka” The International VisualNovember 2 Arts Competition "Onufri"“The Tirana’s autumn”(concerts with chamber music) International Music Festival "Marie Kraja"
Tourist Map MONTENEGRO Vermosh Sylbice Valbonë Theth Morinë Bogë Razëm Tropojë Valbonë Bajram Curri Hani i Hotit Theth KOSOVA Koplik Qafë Prushë Lake Koman Krumë Lake Shkodra Qafë Morinë Mesi Bridge Lake Koman Lake Fierza Shkodër Vau i Dejës Pukë M Fushë Arrëz Kukës Murriqan në ADRIATIC Shishtavec Bu SEA Lura Lakes Velipojë Shëngjin Shën Epifania Du Kurbnesh r Kallmet Lurë rë Drini Rrëshen Lezhë s- Bay Rubik Ko p Lake Zall Gjoçaj Peshkopi er Ulëz DLEGEND D M ur Rodoni Laç ri n rë Bay Shën Anoi s i Z Burrel i -TNational Capital Rodoni Cape Qafë Shtamë ri Scanderbeg Maqellarë e M Museum D st uDistrict Capital Bllatë e rr ë Lalëzi REPUBLIC OF sTown Krujë -A Bay Fushë Krujë n Bulqizë cVillage M o n at Zgërdhesh aInternational Airport MACEDONIA Bishti i Pallës DajtiSeaport Durr ës-B Bizë Black Lake ari TIRANA Roman Amphitheatre M ShijakMarina Durrës Er Ethem Beu