Saranda

SOME GENERAL – USEFUL INFORMATION ABOUT SARANDA IN ALBANIA

Not only Albanians, but also internationals tourists “have fallen in love” with Saranda. Situated in the blue gulf of the Ionian Sea, Saranda stands opposite to Corfu, like a nymph from the antique mythology who wants to woo it all the time. Graced by olive tops and citrus terraces, Saranda combines the white colour of the land with the blue of the sea and the green of the vegetation. On the road to Saranda, you can find the Butrint of Enea and Virgil, Ksamil with its rare islands, the unique “Blue Eye”, the Phoenice of Epirus, the Queen Mussel of the lake, and above all the sea which lures us all.

Located in the most southern corner of Albania, hidden between the hills and washed from the dark blue waters of the Ionian Sea, we can find the seaside town of Saranda, one of the most beautiful seaside towns in Albania. Saranda is considered to be a pearl of the Albanian Riviera. The main town has always served as a part for the Mediterranean countries, but was never considered to be very important as a trade center, due to the reason that the town Buthrotus was the important trading town during the ancient years. Saranda, the small town that has expanded in size in the past 15 years can be called “The getaway to the Southern Albania” located exactly opposite the Greek island of Corfu, Saranda is one of the most appealing touristic destinations in the whole country of Albania, not only due to its beauty but also for its historic and archaeological values.

The bus station of Saranda is located in the center of the city, very close t the ruins of Synagoga. The local transport station is located right in front of the Butrinti hotel. A ticket on the local bus costs 30 lek per ride, regardless of the distance! The 30 lek must be paid to the conductor on the bus. The buses run every 15 minutes starting at 6.00 a.m. and finishing at 22.00 at night! The public buses are run by the government and are clean and your ride will be comfortable. Not all drivers speak English, but if you have a map or a guide book to show them where your destination is, they will more than happy to help you.

The tourist information office in Saranda in Albania

The tourist information office in Saranda in Albania

There are companies that rent cars in Saranda, these companies do not have their own offices but they cooperate with all of travel agencies in Saranda and with the tourist information office which is the large, round shaped building that you cannot miss on the seafront. Before signing the rental contract, please read through the terms and conditions on the back side of the contract.

Another way of getting around the town is by a taxi, taxis are not so expensive, compared to other countries and some of the taxi drivers even speak English! After 2..00 at night, a taxi is your only choice of moving around. The taxis in Albania have recently started to use taximeters and some drivers even offer a receipt. The usual price for a taxi is 300 – 400 lek (around 3,5 Euros) for a journey up until 3 kilometers and for any journey longer than 3 kilometers, you should estimate an extra 100 lek per extra kilometer.

 


 

ACCOMMODATION IN SARANDA

 

 

 

COMING SOON!

ACTIVITIES & SPORTS IN SARANDA

Albania is qualified today as one the most attractive holiday destinations in the whole of the Mediterranean. The wonderful nature, the land, the museums, the ancient monuments are all places that must be explored. The natural environment of Albania gives you the opportunity to exercise many kinds of sports. More than the two thirds of the country are mountainous terrain and in these areas in the autumn and winter, sports like skiing, mountaineering, climbing, trekking etc. can be exercised.

Fishing in Saranda: Saranda is a seaside town, where you can fish almost everywhere, either in the sea, in the lake of Butrint or in rivers that surround Saranda that offer wonderful fresh water fish. Fishing can be done either with a net or with a hook, Mussels appear everywhere in the sea around Saranda, there are even cultivated in the large lake. A good percentage of the population of Saranda uses the fishing activity as a way of survival selling their fish to the many restaurants and taverns in Saranda that serve the fresh fish to the happy clients.

Hunting around Saranda: Although hunting is not one of our favorite activities, there are many areas around Saranda that will satisfy the hunters! The fauna of the Butrint lake, its forest the forest of Corraj, Stillo and many other areas around Saranda are densely populated with greenery and are good options for those who enjoy hunting. Before hunting in Albania, you should always contact the authorities, or ask for information at the tourist information office about the hunting areas and the hunting season. Hunting is not permitted all the year round.

Water sports in Saranda: Common water sports which tourists enjoy are boating, canoes, navigation of the coast line with small boats or jet skiing. However, recently, water sports in Saranda have developed alot and now Saranda can also offer sports such as wind-surfing, kite-surfing or deep water diving in order to please the vacationers who practice these kinds of sports. There is a very rich world of pristine fauna and marine flora in the area of Saranda and also in the surrounding areas. Also, in addition to the internal world of the sea, there are also many relics that range from early antiquity and until the end of the World War II. Enjoying the underwater world is one of the pleasures that many holidaymakers are looking to experience in the last few years. Although a coastal country, Saranda also offers activities like climbing and mountaineering in the surrounding environs, up to 1880 meters high in the mountains of Eremeci, the 40 Saints monastery in the Pas of Gjashta, in the areas of the pine forests and via the ancient paths of the western part of the city.

 


 

SIGHTSEEING IN SARANDA

The town of Saranda had wide beachfront promenades where you can stroll in the morning and in the evening. For those interested in archaeological tourism of Saranda, you should visit the Onhezmi Castle walls and the ruins of its towers that lead down to the seashore. The first mosaic is located within the ruins of a Paleochristian basilica of the VIth century. The church is located at the beginning of Skanderbeg Street. The mosaics are in geometrical shapes and are composed of images of birds, fishes and deer. These figures are made out of small pebbles, which colors prevail in white, black ad red. The most interesting scene is the “Eucharist”, which exposes the two paradise deer.

Archaeological excavations have revealed many interesting findings. Before this church became a Christian Chapel, the building served as a synagogue, which indicates to us that Onhezmi had been inhabited by a Jewish Community. It also enhances its symbolic mosaics, which are typical contents of the Jewish culture as also is displayed by an inscription found on one of the mosaics. Other mosaics have also been found in various areas of Saranda, as the playground, the old hotel, near the ALB telecom building. The two ports of Saranda are also of great interest and are worth a visit to! The small port with the small fishing boats and small tools and the main port that the cruise boats deck at.

In the center of the town of Saranda, you can find the Municipality building, the theater and the Historical Museum, all three buildings are of great interest and should be visited while you are in the town of Saranda.

Above the main town of Saranda, is the church of the 40 saints (Rrënojat e Manastirit të 40 Shenjtorëve). The bombing during the World War II destroyed a large part of the church and today the church is in ruins. The church had initially been built by stone, connected by a mortar, it had a large hall that was covered by a flat roof and a ceiling. There are many legends about this church, the 40 cells which were the cells where the monks lived in. The legends increase the interest to visit the church.

The castles of Saranda – (Please also look at the castles of Albania)

The castle of Lekursi: This castle is located on the southern side of the top of the hill that looks over the bay of Saranda. From the castle, you can see the Greek island of Corfu, the village of Delvina, the ancient site of Butrint, the seashore of Saranda and also the valley of Pavlla. The castle itself was built in the year 1537 by the amazing Sultan Suleiman, who had already attacked the Greek island of Corfu and wanted to control the harbor of Saranda and the road that related it with the ancient site of Butrint. The ruined castle used to withhold the old village of Lekures. It has been built in a square form with two circular towers on its north-western and south-eastern corners. To climb as much as the citadel, visitors ought to go away the major road on Qafë Gjashtë and go up the city hill from the opposite side of town. Today, you will find within the  castle, a restaurant – coffee bar that offers special celebration nights on weekends, where you can hear Albanian music and watch the traditional Albanian dances by exceptional musicians. The night time view of the bay of Saranda from the castle is picturesque.

The Venetian Castle of Buntrint in Albania

The Venetian Castle of Butrint in Albania

The Triangle Venetian castle of Vivari: This castle is located on the southern bank of the Vivari channel, exactly opposite the entrance to the famous ancient site of Butrint. It has a triangle shape with three corners and with round towers on each corner, the southern tower is the highest and the largest out of the three towers. The castle is usually locked with a large iron door but if you do get the opportunity to visit the inside of the castle, you will see the old cells which belonged to the former garrison. These cells are located along the northern side of the castle, which has a length of 40 meters. Each of the other sides of the castle have a length of 50 meters.

This castle is said to have been built by Anjuins in the XIIIth century.

Later the castle passed through various stages of reconstruction by the Venetians and by Ali Pasha Tepelena.

The castle of Ali Pasha Tepelena

The castle of Ali Pasha Tepelena

The castle of Ali Pasha Tepelena: The castle was built during the years 1807-1808. The reason why it was built was to prevent French armies attacking Butrint from the Greek island of Corfu. This citadel is rectangular and it has four towers on its corners.

The citadel has an impressive protective system. The purpose was to create protection from the sea and this was accomplished by two towers, each being 2.80 meters thick and 5 meters tall, with loopholes for cannons. The citadel has two gates; one of them leads to the Vivari canal

Butrint: Butrint is a microcosm of Mediterranean history, representing in all phases of development, the rise and the fall of the great empires that dominated the region. What you see today is an amalgam of monuments representing a span of over two thousand years from the Hellenistic temple buildings of the 4th century BC to the Ottoman defenses created in the early 19th century.

The statue of Dea in Butrint of Albania

The statue of Dea in Butrint of Albania

According to classical mythology, Buthrotum was founded by exiles fleeing the fall of Troy. On arrival, Priam’s son Helenus sacrificed an ox, which struggled ashore wounded and died on the beach. Taking this as a good omen, the place was named Buthrotum meaning “wounded ox”. Virgil’s epic poem, The Aeneid, recounts Aeneas visiting Butrint on his way to Italy.
While there is evidence of settlement dating back to at least the 8th century BC on the acropolis, Butrint’s first substantial settlement took place in the 4th century BC with the creation of a healing sanctuary to the God Asclepius. The sanctuary was protected by solid fortified walls. Visitors would travel here to make offerings and sacrifices to the God, to seek a cure for illnesses and to attend ceremonies in the theater.
With the rise of the Roman Empire, Butrint expanded to become a flourishing Mediterranean city. Monuments, like the theater, were given a roman aspect, and after Julius Caesar and Augustus founded a colony here the city was expanded via a bridge and an aqueduct, across the channel, onto the plain beyond. The city would have covered an area of around 20 hectares, and public and private buildings of every kinds were erected – temples, fountains, baths and funerary monuments.

Butrint in Albania

Butrint in Albania

In the 5th century, the region suffered vandal raids, and the ordered life of the city changed dramatically. Houses, often made of wood, were constructed in the remains of the classical buildings and people were sometimes buried within the city. In the late 5th century to the mid- 6th century, we see the spread of Christianity at Butrint became the seat of a bishopric, and the Baptistery with its beautiful mosaic and the Great Basilica both date from this period.
We know little about Butrint from the mid-7th century until the late 9th century. In 1081, the bay was a scene of a battle between the Norman and the Byzantine fleets and Butrint was seized by the Normans. During the 13th century Butrint thrived again. A castle was built on the acropolis and its fortification walls were repaired. In 1386, Butrint was bought by the Venetians and for four hundred years it became a military outpost of Venetian Corfu. Butrint was prized for its fish, its cattle and plentiful forests. Eventually the acropolis castle was abandoned in 1572 and the garrison made its headquarters in the Triangular Castle on the south side of the river channel.

Butrint park in Albania

Butrint park in Albania

By the 19th century, Butrint had become a small fishing village clustered around a castle. The settlement was governed by Ali Pasha, whose fame as a ruthless but skilful ruler of the region earned him the name “the Muslim Bonaparte”. Ali Pasha built the castle at the mouth of the river channel.
From the late 18th century, foreign diplomats and grand tourists, such as Lord Byron, visited the region often as guests of Ali Pasha. The classical ruins that are framed by mountains and wetlands were a delight to European painters, among them was Edward Lear, who visited in 1857.
In 1928, an Italian archeological mission, headed by Luigi Maria Ugolini, came to Butrint and began modern archeological investigations. Between 1928 and 1939, the Italian archeological mission uncovered most of the grand public monuments that you see here today. This work to excavate and interpret the city continued after the Second World War. The Butrint Foundation, a UK registered charity, was established in 1993. Since then, the Albanian Institute of Archeology and the Butrint Foundation have worked together to research, conserve and promote the site.

Butrint site in Albania

Butrint site in Albania

Butrint became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992, a National Park in 2001 and a Ramsar Wetland Site of International Importance in 2003. The Park now measures 94 km2.
The entrance fee for the Butrint Archaeological Park is 200 lek and during the summer season, there is a café located inside the park offering refreshments and snacks.

The Theater of Butrint: The theater had a capacity of 1500 seats. It was built in the IV-III centuries before Christ. It is on the southern side of the city’s acropolis. It consists of the seats, the scenes and the orchestra. The first 13 steps have been preserved. The ground of the scene was paved with flagstones during the Ottoman period. The Scene and the Orchestra were rebuilt in the II century Before Christ. The scene consists of two spaces: the front stage and the backstage. In the backstage are the narrow corridors which allowed the actors to move and enter the scene. Here there are some inscriptions on freeing slaves. It is thought that many slaves were freed here and a part of them were women.

The Baptistery of Butrint in Albania

Butrint in Albania

The Baptistery of Butrint: It has a circular shape. It is a monument with great values and dates back to the Paleochristian period, built in the IV century Before Christ.

The baptistery consists of two rooms: the baptismal room and another room in the northern part. In the center of the Baptismal Room is the Baptismal Font which is cross-shaped.

On the floor of the baptistery there are many decorations and a variety of mosaics of different shapes. The figures are inside 69 medallions and seven circles. The medallions with figures of animals and fowls are very special. The mosaics of the Butrint Baptistery have great values.

Butrint in Albania

The temples of Butrint in Albania

The temples of Butrint: There are two temples; one is underneath the theater and the other above. The theater above dates back to the III century before Christ and it was built in the same time as the Theater. Inside is the basement of the altar. Lion paws support the leg of the altar. This floor was paved with black and white mosaics.The temple below is thought to be the oldest. On its back there is a cave where water used to flow. This water is thought to have had curative values. The rectangular temple was built during the IV-II centuries. Some statutes have been found inside this temple.

The Basilica of Butrint: It was built at the end of the VI century before Christ. Its walls are made with stones, while the tile windows are covered by an arched-shape wooden roof. The surrounding walls and the stone-paved floor are preserved to this day. This monument dates back from the Byzantine period and is in north-eastern of the city. The central part was rebuilt during the IX century. It is thought to have been paved with mosaics.

The Spring of the Nymphs in Butrint of Albania

The Spring of the Nymphs in Butrint of Albania

The Spring of the Nymphs:

In Butrint there are three springs. One of them is the Spring of the Nymphs built during VI-I centuries Before Christ.

This spring is near the Lions’ Gate and is 5 meters deep. There are inscriptions on its edges.

What you see today is an amalgam of monuments representing a span of over two thousand years from the Hellenistic temple buildings of the 4th century BC to the Ottoman defenses created in the early 19th century.

 

The Islands of Ksamil in Albania

The Islands of Ksamil in Albania

The Islands of Ksamil: Near the town of Ksamil there are four islands covering a
surface area of 9 hectares. The islands are covered with evergreen shrubs and vegetation. The most beautiful beaches of the Riviera are in the rocky islands of Ksamil. These beaches are distinguished for their exotic nature with crystal clean waters and small pebbles. The islands of Ksamil are very much visited during summer by numerous domestic and international tourists. The area of Ksamil as well as the fours islands have recently become very popular among the tourists and you will be happy to find many many accommodation choices, restaurants and taverns in the area.

 

The Blue Eye ( Syri te Kalter, Bistrice – Delvine, Albania): It is the biggest and

Blue eye pond in Albania Syri te Kalter, Bistrice - Delvine, Albania

Blue eye pond in Albania Syri te Kalter, Bistrice – Delvine, Albania

most interesting water spring among the 18 springs bubbling near the base of Mali i Gjerë. It is a monument of nature; its shape is oval, similar to the shape of an eye.

Water springs from the ground with a darkish color in the middle and light blue color on the sides.

Its depth is considerable, up to 45 meters. It is opposite to Krongj village, 45 meters below the level of Drinos valley.

The waters of Mali i Gjere mainly empty here. It is a wide reservoir of karst waters. It is also a spring with fresh waters, surrounded by dense and evergreen vegetation. Waters from all springs flow into the artificial lake where they have formed the Bistrica dam. The lake covers a surface area of 9 ha and it has a great number of fish. You should make sure that you have enough time for a coffee in the area as the atmosphere around the lake is beautiful and very relaxing.

The Monastery of Mesopotamia in Albania

The Monastery of Mesopotamia in Albania

The Monastery of Mesopotamia: It is in the southern part of the Mesopotam village, very close to Phoenice. In the beginning, it was a pagan temple. Later on, the Church of Saint Nicolas was built over its ruins. It is thought to have been built during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine IX Monomachos. The Church of Saint Nicolas has special Byzantine style architecture. It is one of the biggest and oldest churches from the Byzantine period, preserving special values. It stands out because of its mosaics decorated with animal motifs and its tile decorations on the outer walls. The mural figures have different shapes, such as: an eagle, two dragons and a lion on one side; while a lion is on the other side. The mosaic in the naps features a dragon with open wings. The church underwent two reconstructions in 1793 and 1845 which altered the appearance of the church, but also could have made it to lose some of its values.

Delvina: Delvina is one of the oldest and the most traditional cities in Albania; recently Delvina has also become a tourist destination. Located just 10 kilometers away from Saranda, the road leading from Saranda to Delvina is in good condition and while driving you will enjoy the beautiful, picturesque nature, the rivers and the forests, the ancient monuments, the organic food, the famous wine and many other values. Delvina has been determined as the most traditional city of Albania; it is a city of medieval origin. It was flourished by people that fled from the destruction of the Phoenice city, during the 5th and the 6th century. Its history is proved by the many monuments that have been found, while the historical complex of Xhermehalle, which prevails the Ottoman architecture, is astonishing. The complex is composed by the castle, the Turkish hammam, the mosques, the old fountain and some small tekkes etc. When the Turkish imperial officer visited Delvina in the year 1970, the city had a Varosh, just outside the castle, where the most distinguished neighborhoods were Gjin Alex and Llake, with fortified houses that were equipped with walls and iron.

THE HISTORY OF SARANDA IN ALBANIA

The history of Saranda in Albania

The history of Saranda in Albania

Saranda is a city with more than 2000 years of history, established in the southern coastline of Albania, rich with rare Albanian and even European cultural heritage and archaeological values. This rich archaeological heritage, combined with the beauties of the nature and its natural port, is the basis for developing the image of Saranda as a world class tourism destination.The city was mentioned for the first time under the name of ONHEZEM.

In the Ist century B.C, the city was used as a harbour for sailing from Epirus to the Italic peninsula. The city saw its greatest development in the II-III centuries Before Christ. Some ruins next to the sea date back from this time. In the IV century the city was regenerated again around its first nucleus and was fortified with 2 metre thick protective walls, covering an area of 5 hectares. Inside the semicircular citadel, fortified with towers, archaeological excavation has found ruins of buildings, cisterns, and a paleochristian basilica from the V-VI century whose floor is covered with beautiful multicoloured mosaics A series of ecclesiastical acts from 414-516 refer to Saranda as an Episcopal seat and as a city. In the VI century guidebook of Hieroclites, the city is mentioned under the name of Anhiazmi, as one of the 12 cities of the old Epirus province.

Saranda in Albania

Saranda in Albania

It was used as a port for the city of Phoinice (Albanian: Finiqi). During the Medieval Age the city is not mentioned in the written documents. The surrounding wall from the Byzantine Era on the western side of the city today, the ruins of a paleochristian monastery under the name of Ajiu Saranda (Forty Saints) rising on the mountainside above Saranda and the construction of the Lekursi Castle at the end of the XVI century-beginning of the XVII century on the south-eastern part of the city, show that Onhezmi is ancient. The name “Saranda” started to be used at the end of the 1920s. In 1930 the inhabitants called the city simply “The port”. In 1876 Naim Frasheri was a customs officer. In 1878 the city was destroyed and burned down by Greek hooligans coming from Corfu. Under the Ottoman rule, a decree from the Sublime Porte made Saranda a private property of Sultan Abdyl Hamit. Then, 200 years later, Ahmet Zogu “took” this seacoast pearl as a “gift” from the parliament of the time which was controlled by him. Under the rule of Benito Mussolini, the city of Saranda was named “Porto Eda”, for the sake of his daughter. After World War II, some high officials from the communist regime had in the city their tourism resorts and haunting shelters.

DEVELOPMENT

The promenade of Saranda in Albania

The promenade of Saranda in Albania

In 1927, Saranda had about 800 inhabitants, while almost ten years later it had 1800 inhabitants. During these years, it underwent a rapid urban development. The port and the promenade along the coast were built along with the first houses and a series of storehouses and shops. In 1957 the city became an administrative centre. During 1960- 1980, Saranda was promoted as “a tourism offer of Albania” not only for the Albanian visitors, but also for those few foreign visitors who could be counted on the fingers of one hand and who ventured to come in the country fenced with barbed wires in the middle of Europe. During this same period the first investments were carried out, especially on the green crown of the Riviera. Thousands of young people volunteered to build olive,
orange and lemon terraces. From 1960 to 1982, the population of Saranda grew by an annual average of 2.7 percent. At the time, the city of Saranda had 15 thousands inhabitants and development was limited. During 1990- 2004, the city developed rapidly, and the population grew as a result of many families coming from different areas of Albania.

Saranda in Albania

Saranda in Albania

The construction industry has boomed in recent years. This has changed the image of the city, from a quiet coastal resort to an area with mass constructions, some of them illegal.

Every year the International Festival of Theater “Butrint 2000” is organised in the amphitheater of the antique city of Butrint, with the participation of many European theater troupes. Numerous shows are put in the movie house of
Saranda.

During summer months, the burlesque troupes of Saranda as well as other troupes from the country and beyond come to put on different shows in the city “flooded” by visitors. In the city of Saranda there two local TV stations and there is a signal for all of the other national TVs. “Saranda” newspaper is published during the tourism seasons. Some of its pages are in English The fruit and vegetable market, where it is possible to find organic food from the farmers in the region, is in the city center. Saranda has a long tradition in agricultural productions and during summer the prices in the market are very favorable.

Saranda in Albania

Saranda in Albania

Small and medium markets run also well and they are rich with articles for wider uses. Groceries are open almost all day. The souvenir shops are in the center of the city, very close to the movie house. The shops usually open at 7.30- 8.00 in the morning and close at 00.00 PM. In Saranda, sea food is mostly grilled. In general, food is roasted well, and steaming is also commonly used for cooking. The meat in the main course is mostly veal or lamb. In Saranda, sea food is mostly grilled. In general, food is roasted well, and steaming is also commonly used for cooking. The meat in the main course is mostly veal or lamb. Raki and wine are the most common drinks during the meal. The typical Mediterranean cuisine of Saranda, including mostly seafood such calamari, octopus, cuttlefish, mussels and fish of all types, is very much preferred. Not less preferred are the salads with bio products and other local traditional dishes.

USEFUL INFORMATION IN SARANDA OF ALBANIA

 

 

UNIQUE CULTURE OF ALBANIA

The Albanian culture is an exotic blend of traditions that have evolved over thousands of years. From the ancient Illyrians and Greeks to the Romans and the Ottomans, the language, music, arts, and cuisine of the Albanian people are a rich and vibrant mix of many civilizations. Once you discover our culture, you are bound to fall in love with this new destination on the Mediterranean.

Hospitality is in our nature. Welcoming guests and ensuring their comfort is a hallmark of Albanian heritage and is epitomized by our very own Nobel Peace Prize recipient: Mother Teresa. The spirit of cooperation and friendship thrives in Albania, and it is not uncommon for guests to be invited to eat and drink with curious locals wishing to learn more about you.

Besa is a concept related to the Albanian code of honor and is an idea that is very important to the Albanian people. In the Kanun (a set of traditional Albanian laws), Besa is described as the highest authority, so essential to personal and familial standing as to be virtually a cult. Besa has been the subject of some stories and novels by Albania’s foremost modern novelist, Ismail Kadare, a Nobel Prize Candidate for Literature and winner of several international prizes. Kadare’s work has been published in over forty countries and translated into more than thirty languages, making Kadare the best ambassador of Albanian literature worldwide.

If we are speaking about the food and drinks of Albania, then we must mention the country’s deliciously-unique cuisine. It has many similarities to Turkish and Greek dishes, but offers a healthier, Mediterranean twist. Come try our wide variety of phyllo dough delicacies, including a melt-in-your-mouth sensation called byrek, or the original sweet treat known regionally as baklava.

Albania also has a long tradition of wine craftsmanship, which is lately being revived to its former glory. While you’re here, taste a sampling of our wine, produced from a rich soil that has been under cultivation since the ancient Greeks and Romans. Regardless of your culinary inclinations, we guarantee that our rich history and culinary traditions have created a menu of mouth-watering specialties for you to try.

Each region of Albania likes to specialize in its own brand of music, thus giving the music aficionado an incentive to explore the entire country in search of each community’s sense of style. For example, UNESCO has classified a type of music from southern Albania, known as Iso Polyphony, to have tremendous cultural value to humankind. Our music has even given rise to a few prominent artists of global acclaim, including opera lyric soprano, Inva Mula, and the distinguished violinist, Tedi Papavrami.

In regards to style, when you arrive in Albania, you will notice that the men take great pride in their appearance and will often don a suit and tie when in public. Even if their errands only involve a short trip to the grocery store, the men will dress to impress.

Depending upon the type of festival or time of year, you might even catch a glimpse of Albanian men in traditional folk attire. The National Folk Festival held in Gjirokastra is a prime example. This special autumn event is held once every four years and attracts artists from around the world.

The women of Albania also share a flair for style, especially at traditional Albanian weddings. At these events, the families of both the bride and groom will gather together in their finest dress and celebrate with great fervor. Weddings are often the ideal opportunity to witness the best of Albanian culture all in one event, and if you’re invited to one, the experience will undoubtedly be extraordinary.

Albanian culture is unique in many ways and we hope you’ll visit us to see it firsthand. We say ‘yes’ by shaking our head from side to side, both men and women greet each other with a kiss on either cheek, and our conversations are loud and passionate in an effort to entice others to join in. Visit Albania and discover why our culture is a new Mediterranean love.

MAP OF ALBANIA

map of Albania

map of Albania

PHOTO GALLERY OF SARANDA

MAP OF SARANDA