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Gjirokastra

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Gjirokastra – The city of stone

If you had imagined about a stone town, be sure it exists. It’s called Gjirokastra and it’s in Albania. In this small town in the Balkans, Gjirokastra is a attraction to visit and also, Since 2005, it has been in UNESCO World Heritage site.

The origin of the city starts with the castle of Gjirokastra, built in IV century. The city was named Argyrokastro, in 1336. Then in 1417, the Ottoman army conquered the city. Gjirokastra reached its peak over 1800-1830, when monumental assembly houses were built. The first neighborhoods are those of Bazaar and Hazmurate.

The main characteristic of Gjirokastra is the intensive use of stone in building the houses, which look like small fortresses and the streets of cobblestone, which all lead to Bazaar. You can also visit the Mosque of Bazaar here, built in 1557. Due to all these features, Gjirokastra is also known as the “The Stone City”.

The most important structure of the city is the castle, which is the biggest castle in Albania. Gjirokastra Castle, invites you to the Museum of Weapons,opened in 1971. During your stay in Gjirokastra, you can visit the Ethnographic Museum, located in the house where the former communist dictator Enver Hoxha was born.

Gjirokastra traditional houses

You can also visit the house of Zekati family in Palorto. It is one of the most magnificent and characteristic buildings of Gjirokastra. It is considered as the best surviving example of an ottoman tower house in Gjirokastra.

Other important traditional buildings to visit are Angonati House, Babaramonewly restored house, Skendulaj house or Eqrem Cabej House. One of the famous spots to visit at ‘Sokaku i te Marreve’ that means Mad People Street is also the reconstructed house of the famous Albanian writer Ismail Kadare.

If you like culinary, be sure to visit because the town of Gjirokastra is also known for its culinary art. We can mention special dishes like; pasha qofte, shapkat, oshaf with dried figs (a dessert with sheep`s milk, sugar and dried figs), etc.

In Gjirokastra you can visit interesting sites, part of the cultural heritage as well as natural wonders, like the archaeological park of Antigonea and the ancient theatre of Hadrianapolis.

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