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Gjirokastër (Gjirokaster), Albania


Gjirokastër (Gjirokaster) highlights

historical center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Gjirokastër is a city in southern Albania, in a valley between mountains, at 300 metres above sea level. Its old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, described as "a rare example of a well-preserved Ottoman town, built by farmers of large estate". The city is overlooked by Gjirokastër Fortress.




Other places we know in Albania

Apollonia - Known for ancient theatre, archaeological site, museum, orthodox monastery; archaeological site is a UNESCO Tentative List Site

Berat - Known for architecture, bridge, byzantine empire, castle, historical center, medieval old town, museum, river, venetian empire; historical center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Durrës (Durres) - Known for archaeological site, architecture, beach, marina, venetian empire; ancient theatre is a UNESCO Tentative List Site

Krujë (Kruje) - Known for castle, historical center, museum

Tepelenë (Tepelene) - Known for castle





Last reviewed: 17 May 2021

Gjirokastër (Gjirokaster) description

The city Gjirokastër appears in the historical record dating back in 1336 by its Greek name, Argyrokastro, as part of the Byzantine Empire. Later, Gjirokastërater was contested between the Despotate of Epirus and the Albanian clan of John Zenevisi before falling under Ottoman rule for the next five centuries (1417–1913).

During the Ottoman period conversions to Islam and an influx of Muslim converts from the surrounding countryside made Gjirokastër go from being an overwhelmingly Christian city in the 16th century into one with a large Muslim population by the early 19th century.

Together with another Albanian town Sarandë, the city is considered one of the centers of the Greek community in Albania.

Gjirokastër is built on the slope surrounding the citadel, located on a dominating plateau. Although the Gjirokastër walls were built in the third century and the city itself was first mentioned in the 12th century, the majority of the existing buildings dates back to 17th and 18th centuries. Typical houses consist of a tall stone block structure which can be up to five stories high. There are external and internal staircases that surround the house. It is thought that such design stems from fortified country houses typical in southern Albania. The lower storey of the building contains a cistern and the stable. The upper storey is composed of a guest room and a family room containing a fireplace. Further upper stories are to accommodate extended families and are connected by internal stairs. Since Gjirokastër's membership to UNESCO, a number of houses have been restored.

Many houses in Gjirokastër have a distinctive local style that has earned the city the nickname "City of Stone", because most of the old houses have roofs covered with flat dressed stones. A very similar style can be seen in the Pelion district of Greece. The city, along with another Albanian town Berat, was among the few Albanian cities preserved in the 1960s and 1970s from modernizing building programs. Both cities gained the status of "museum town" and are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Gjirokastër Fortress dominates the town and overlooks the strategically important route along the river valley. The Gjirokastër fortress has existed in various forms since before the 12th century. Extensive renovations and a westward addition was added by Ali Pasha of Tepelene after 1812.

The Gjirokastër fortress contains a military museum featuring captured artillery and memorabilia of the Communist resistance against German occupation, as well as a captured United States Air Force plane, to commemorate the Communist regime's struggle against the imperialist powers. Additions were built during the 19th and 20th centuries by Ali Pasha of Ioannina and the government of King Zog I of Albania. Today it possesses five towers and houses a clock tower, a church, water fountains, horse stables, and many more amenities.

Gjirokastër town also features an old Ottoman bazaar which was originally built in the 17th century; it was rebuilt in the 19th century after a fire. There are more than 500 homes preserved as "cultural monuments" in Gjirokastër today. The Gjirokastër Mosque, built in 1757, dominates the bazaar.

When the town was first proposed for inclusion on the World Heritage list in 1988, International Council on Monuments and Sites experts were nonplussed by a number of modern constructions which detracted from the old town's appearance. The historic core of Gjirokastër was finally inscribed in 2005, 15 years after its original nomination.

Gjirokastër (Gjirokaster) related tours

We at Monterrasol Travel welcome you to see Gjirokastër (Gjirokaster) during multi-day small group car tour. Contact us if you would like to customize your tour to Gjirokastër (Gjirokaster).

We have developed several tours that visiting this beautiful place. But, if you have a special conditions or any from these tours fit you, please do not hesitate to contact us, we can organize a tour exactly as you would like. And remember, we have no problems to take you from almost any place where you stay, hotel or private accommodation.


Travel 15 days Adriatic coast of Montenegro and Albania + discover Greece mainland. All seasons tour from Tivat to Athens.

tour starts in: Tivat, Montenegro

tour finishes in: Athens, Greece

tour duration: 15 days (14 nights)

tour countries: Albania, Greece, Montenegro

tour destinations: Apollonia, Arta, Bar, Berat, Budva, Dajbabe, Delphi, Dodoni, Durrës, Gjirokastër, Hosios Loukas, Ioannina, Kotor, Krujë, Livadeia, Mesolongi, Nafpaktos, Oiniades, Parga

Let's come together to 15 days all seasons tour to explore 3 countries: Montenegro, Albania, Greece. In Montenegro, we will visit town Kotor (UNESCO World Heritage Site) is surrounded by fortifications built during the Venetian period. In coastal town Budva we will walk its narrow streets of historical center and surrounding walls. We also will visit Old Bar, the settlement known from Byzantine Empire ages. On the way to Albania we will visit cave monastery Dajbabe with unique frescoes. In Albania, we need to see historical center of town Krije and its museum, admire ancient theater in Durres, wonder on beautiful sea on Divjaka beach, and come to sleep in town Berat (UNESCO World Heritage Site), called as town of thousand windows. After Berat, we will visit archaeological site Apollonia (UNESCO Tentative List site), and come to see historical center of town Gjirokaster (UNESCO World Heritage Site). Here in Gjirokaster we will walk in Ottoman fortress and see local museum. In Greece, we will stay in mainland, and see fortress of Ioannina, together with historical town and Silversmithing museum. We will admire huge amphitheater at Dodoni archaeological site (UNESCO Tentative List site), and cute small coastal town Parga with small fortress and gorgeous beach. Next day we will visit Nekromanteio Acheron, a Greek temple of necromancy, walk over famous bridge in Arta and see local museum. We will visit archaeological site Oeniadae (UNESCO Tentative List site), known for its shipyard and small amphitheater. On the way to Nafpaktos we need to see a Messolonghi lagoon, unique biodiversity area. In Nafpaktos, we will walk inside a fortress, and will see why in the port there is the statue of Cervantes. Next place we will see if famous Delphi (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the place of Delphian Oracle, now it's large archaeological site and museum with extended collection. Next, on the way to Athens, we will see hidden in mountains monastery Hosios Loukas (UNESCO World Heritage Site), and walk along of river in historical center of Livadeia. The sane day evening we will arrive to Athens.

all seasons tour

15 days

Price from € 1,887

 



Amazing south Balkans 18 days tour from Dubrovnik to Athens. Visit Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece mainland.

tour starts in: Dubrovnik, Croatia

tour finishes in: Athens, Greece

tour duration: 18 days (17 nights)

tour countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Montenegro

tour destinations: Apollonia, Arta, Corinth, Dajbabe, Dodoni, Durrës, Epidaurus, Gjirokastër, Ioannina, Kalamata, Krujë, Lezhë, Mesolongi, Messene, Mycenae, Mystras, Nafpaktos, Nafplio, Oiniades, Olympia, Ostrog, Parga, Patras, Podgorica, Preza, Rio, Sparta, Tiryns, Trebinje, Tvrdoš

This 18 days tour will allow you to meet amazing south Balkans countries: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, and of course beautiful Greece. We will pass through medieval fortified towns, old venetian coastal towns, old castles and fortresses, Orthodox monasteries, archaeological sites, and amazing Balkans coastal line. Each country we going to visit will show must-see attraction; many sites we going to will visit are UNESCO Heritage sites. At season time we will stop on beaches to take a rest, to refresh and enjoy the crystal clear water.

off-season only tour

18 days

Price from € 2,332

 



Greece+Albania off-season UNESCO sites tour 19 days from Igoumenitsa. Visit most of UNESCO Greece mainland and Albania places.

tour starts in: Igoumenitsa, Greece

tour finishes in: Igoumenitsa, Greece

tour duration: 19 days (18 nights)

tour countries: Albania, Greece

tour destinations: Aigai, Apollonia, Arachova, Arta, Berat, Butrint, Delphi, Dodoni, Galaxidi, Gjirokastër, Hosios Loukas, Ioannina, Larissa, Lëkurësi, Mesolongi, Meteora, Metsovo, Nafpaktos, Nicopolis, Oiniades, Parga, Porto Palermo, Rio, Servia, Thermopylae, Volos

This off-season 19 days (18 nights) tour covers several important UNESCO World Heritage sites located in Greece mainland and south Albania. Together with that will also visited numerous UNESCO Tentative List sites. Come to see beautiful Mediterranean land and visit stunning sites in the off-peak months! During the tour here is plenty of things to do: from fascinating museums to imposing archaeological sites, and from mouthwatering gastronomy to perfect- picture villages and towns. Both Greece and Albania is the ideal destination if you enjoy nature and dramatic landscapes, regardless the time of the year you plan to visit it.

off-season only tour

19 days

Price from € 2,434

 



Explore Croatia Bosnia Montenegro Albania Greece by cultural tour 21 days. Balkans roadtrip from Zagreb to Athens. Old towns, fortresses, monasteries, UNESCO sites.

tour starts in: Zagreb, Croatia

tour finishes in: Athens, Greece

tour duration: 21 days (20 nights)

tour countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Montenegro

tour destinations: Apollonia, Arachova, Arta, Bar, Berat, Blagaj, Budva, Dajbabe, Delphi, Dodoni, Dubovac, Dubrovnik, Gjirokastër, Hosios Loukas, Ioannina, Kotor, Kravica, Livadeia, Loreto, Mesolongi, Mostar, Nafpaktos, Nehaj, Ostrog, Parga, Podgorica, Počitelj, Radimlja, Split, Stolac, Trebinje, Trogir, Zadar, Zavala, Šibenik

Explore 5 Balkans countries Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania and Greece in 21 days cultural tour from Zagreb to Athens. Discover Adriatic coast of Croatia; venetian towns of Dalmatian rivier; medieval towns of Montenegro; famous Orthodox monasteries in Bosnia, Montenegro and Greece; archaeological places in Albania and Greece; medieval fortresses of Croatia, Albania and Greece; UNESCO sites of Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and Greece.

off-season only tour

21 days

Price from € 2,969

 



Greece+Albania off-season UNESCO sites tour 22 days from Athens. Visit most of UNESCO Greece mainland and Albania sites.

tour starts in: Athens, Greece

tour finishes in: Athens, Greece

tour duration: 22 days (21 nights)

tour countries: Albania, Greece

tour destinations: Apollonia, Argos, Arta, Berat, Butrint, Corinth, Delphi, Epidaurus, Gjirokastër, Hosios Loukas, Ioannina, Kalamata, Lamia, Livadeia, Lëkurësi, Mesolongi, Messene, Meteora, Mycenae, Mystras, Nafpaktos, Nafplio, Olympia, Patras, Porto Palermo, Rio, Sparta, Thermopylae, Trikala

This off-season 22 days (21 nights) tour covers the most important UNESCO World Heritage sites located in Greece mainland and all UNESCO World Heritage sites of Albania. Thw tour is also allow to visit many UNESCO Tentative List sites. Come to see beautiful Mediterranean land and visit stunning sites in the off-peak months! During the tour here is plenty of things to do: from fascinating museums to imposing archaeological sites, and from mouthwatering gastronomy to perfect- picture villages and towns. Both Greece and Albania is the ideal destination if you enjoy nature and dramatic landscapes, regardless the time of the year you plan to visit it.

off-season only tour

22 days

Price from € 3,053

 



In-depth cultural panoramic 24 days tour from Dubrovnik to Athens. Explore Bosnia and Greece, discover Montenegro, meet Albania.

tour starts in: Dubrovnik, Croatia

tour finishes in: Athens, Greece

tour duration: 24 days (23 nights)

tour countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Montenegro

tour destinations: Apollonia, Argos, Arta, Bar, Blagaj, Budva, Corinth, Dajbabe, Dodoni, Durrës, Epidaurus, Gjirokastër, Ioannina, Kalamata, Koroni, Kotor, Kravica, Krujë, Lezhë, Loutraki, Mesolongi, Messene, Methoni, Međugorje, Mostar, Mycenae, Mystras, Nafpaktos, Nafplio, Oiniades, Olympia, Ostrog, Parga, Patras, Podgorica, Počitelj, Preza, Radimlja, Rio, Sparta, Tiryns, Trebinje, Tvrdoš, Vjetrenica, Zavala

This extended 24 days cultural and panoramic tour from Dubrovnik to Athens will allow you to explore amazing South Balkans countries: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, and of course beautiful Greece. We will pass through medieval fortified towns in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Greece, old venetian coastal towns in Montenegro, Albania and Greece, old castles and fortresses om each country, Orthodox monasteries in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Greece, famous archaeological sites in Greece, and amazing Balkans coastal line with beaches and crystal clear sea. Each country we going to visit will show must-see attraction; many sites we going to will visit are UNESCO Heritage sites. At season time we will stop on beaches to take a rest, to refresh and enjoy the unbelievable clear water.

off-season only tour

24 days

Price from € 3,265

 



Off-season Greece+Albania UNESCO places 26 days tour from Athens. Visit most of UNESCO Greece+Albania places.

tour starts in: Athens, Greece

tour finishes in: Athens, Greece

tour duration: 26 days (25 nights)

tour countries: Albania, Greece

tour destinations: Aigai, Apollonia, Argos, Arta, Berat, Butrint, Corinth, Delphi, Dodoni, Epidaurus, Gjirokastër, Hosios Loukas, Ioannina, Kalamata, Kaninë, Lamia, Larissa, Livadeia, Lëkurësi, Mesolongi, Messene, Meteora, Mycenae, Mystras, Nafpaktos, Nafplio, Olympia, Patras, Porto Palermo, Rio, Sparta, Tepelenë, Thermopylae, Trikala

The off-season tour 26 days tour started in Athens cover most of UNESCO Cultural Heritage sites in 2 countries, Greece and Albania. Additionally, the tour cover several places in Greece that submitted to the UNESCO tentative list. Visiting UNESCO Cultural Heritage sites in Greece. This off-season tour will allow you to visit not only some of Greece's eighteen UNESCO World Heritage sites but also some of the country's fourteen sites in the UNESCO tentative list, together with other top destinations across this beautiful Mediterranean land. Come and visit this stunning country in the off-peak months! You will quickly understand why Greece is much more than just a perfect summer destination. Greece is a truly year-round destination! It boasts plenty of things to do: from fascinating museums to imposing archaeological sites, and from mouthwatering gastronomy to perfect- picture villages and towns. Greece is the ideal destination if you enjoy nature and dramatic landscapes, regardless the time of the year you plan to visit it.

off-season only tour

26 days

Price from € 3,681

 



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