VLORA – ALBANIA
Vlora is one of the most beautiful cities in Albania and the Albanians are very proud of this city. The city is also known as “the city of the flag”, the city with the two seas” or “the southern Adriatic port”. Vlora is considered to be the pearl of the Albanian tourism, with its emerald shores, Karaburun, Sazan, Kanina castle, Narte Lagoon, the valley and delta of the Vjosa river, many beaches, monuments, people, products, land and sea. Vlora occupies a deserved place in the history of Albania, the city also enjoys the status of the hero as Vlora is the city where Skanderberg was married, where Albanian independence was proclaimed, the arena of flights for liberty and the Albanian resistance, a natural atelier of painters, artists hearth, the homeland of polyphony and a bridge to the world of Albania. Vlora has a variety of things to offer all kinds of tourists, you will notice this as soon as you step into the city of Vlora, the city of the Albanian pride and hospitality. The geographical environment and society make Vlora a lovely place that magically attracts many visitors and tourists. A chic city that has been decorated by the rugged and the soft, smooth coastline, which begins at the delta of the Vjosa river and continues passed the Soda Old Forest and passed many sandy beaches and goes beyond the Llogora Pass, where the Albanian Riviera takes part. A jewel between the Adriatic and the Ionian, Vlora is a constant temptation to rest on its ornery and attractive shores. Choosing Vlora for your holiday destination is a brilliant choice, you should know that Vlora is a magical city and that you will probably not have any desire to return home again after seeing this wonderful appearance, the hard rocks, the ornery nature, the gentle heart of the city, the sunshine, the healthy fresh food, the hot and welcoming atmosphere is sure to capture your heart.
Please remember that Vlora is not only beautiful in the summer time! Apart from the numerous cultural and historical monuments, you can also visit the sea of Vlora all year round and enjoy the views that offer many moments of pleasant and relaxation. Welcome to Vlora, where you will forget everything else apart from the beauty and the satisfaction.
Travelling to and from Vlora
By car: If you are in Tirana, follow the way: Tirana–Durres-Kavaje-Rrogozhine-Lushnje-Fier-Vlore. The roadway is pretty good. From Macedonia, you can follow: Qafe Thane-Librazhd-Elbasan-Rrogozhine-Lushnje–Fier-Vlore From Greece, you can take three ways: (i) Kakavia – Gjirokaster – Tepelene – Vlore; or (ii) Kakavia – Gjirokaster – Qafe e Muzines –Sarande – Vlore; or (iii) Qafe Bote – Sarande – Dhermi – Vlore. The last itinerary is the shortest but is the slowest because of many curves.
By bus: You can take a bus from Tirana – the journey can be very slow! You can also take a furgon (new laws prohibit furgons so you may not find one easy) from any of the nearby towns (eg. Saranda, Fier) which can be faster than bus. Buses and furgons drop off in the city “center” near the Muradie Mosque, or a couple of blocks west.
You can also take a bus from Athens. There are over night buses and day long buses every day. It cost 30 euros for all bus companies, and there is a strip of bus companies in downtown Athens.
By boat: From Brindisi with two over night ferries since May 2015, arriving in Vlore early in the morning.
ACCOMMODATION IN VLORA OF ALBANIA
It is usually easy to find accommodation in most areas of Albania, what we have tried to do is to give you the many many options but to also give our own personal advise of the goods and the bads as well as the exact location and the facilities of each accommodation choice. We would appreciate it if you would reserve your accommodation via this website and we will be there either in person or with a representative of ours to personally assist you while you are on your holidays in Albania.
ACTIVITIES IN VLORA OF ALBANIA
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.
Hiking in the beautiful, high mountains and hills, All types of water sports, Excursions to Vlora and the local villages, Tours to historic and cultural sites, Dinners at local restaurants, Many activities and equipment for enjoying the sea, And always your will receive superior service from our trained and friendly staff.
We have listed some of the best tours and activities that you should try, while you are spending time in Vlore of Albania.
An organized tour to the monastery of Zvernec: Sea, forests, sun and pure nature around you. The area of Zvernec is famous for the coastal attraction, mixed with the cultural and traditional richness which compose a high potential for the development of tourism. Inside the Narta lagoon lies the island of Zverneci, very famous for the old monastery which expresses the cultural values of the zone. Zvernec monastery is the most important cultural monument in the area of Narta. One of the reasons to visit the island of Zvernec is to see this monastery which was built in the 13th century in the Byzantine style and was dedicated to Saint Maria. In this tour you can explore the monastery of Zvernec and some unforgettable nature miracles around it.
Tour to the ancient site of Butrinti: A city declared “museum” in 1961, Butrinti is protected by UNESCO. Many legends live today about how the city was created, you can explore and live exciting moments in the ancient city. We can plan and organize the entire tour for you.
Tours & Excursions around Vlore: The area of the city of Vlore and the surrounding areas provide many brilliant areas for hiking, cycling and touring. Whether it is a adventurous hike with a knowledgeable guide, or a driving excursion to some of the scenic, cultural, or simply beautiful places in Vlore, we can help you arrange almost all of these choices of activities. Whether you want an adventurous expedition or a comfortable sight seeing trip, we are ready to serve your needs.
SIGHTSEEING IN VLORA – ALBANIA
The Museum of Independance: The museum was founded in 1936 and was the first museum in all of Albania, between the creation of the museum and today, it has collected important objects from both the cities of Vlora and the surrounded region. The museum was declared to be a national museum on its 50th anniversary. Albania was founded in this building and the museum with all of its contents, attempts to capture one of the most important moments in the history of the Albanians. The Museum of Independence is the building where Albanian independence was proclaimed on 28 November 1912. This building is shown as well on the 500 Albanian leke banknote since 1996.
The Historic museum: The historic museum was founded in 1962 and is located in the center of the city. The historical and archaeological items of the entire district of Vlora. They date back beginning from the bronze age to documents of recent years and include objects and relics from the medieval, renaissance and modern times. In this museum, visitors can see archaeological objects that belonged to different ancient cities such as Vlora, Orkum, Amantia Ploce, Olympia and Kionina.
The Ethnographic museum: The ethnographic museum is located in the oldest building in the city, and was built in the middle of the 18th century. This museum was proclaimed a monument of culture. The museum is preferred by the visitor because you can see the unique traditions of Vlora. Displayed in the museum are hundreds of objects of artistic value, commemorating the long tradition of craftsmanship in metal, wood and the wide variety of the area’s traditional clothes. In the year 1908, within the Ethnographic museum was created a patriotic club “Laberia” and whose honorary chairman was Ismail Qemali, the man who proclaimed Albanian’s independence also, in 1909 the first school was opened in the Albanian language for the girls who lived in the city, directed by patriot Marigo Posio.
Muradia Mosque: The Muradia Mosque was built in the style of the Sultans in the second half of the 16th century. The Mosque was designed by the Albanian architect Sinani, who was one of the most important designers of the mosques in the period of the Ottoman empire. His most important creation was the Great Mosque “Sulejman” (The blue mosque) in Istanbul.
Vlora Castle: The Vlora castle was built in 1531 by Sultan Sulejman to protect Vlora from attacks from the army of Venedik. This castle was documented by Dr. Auerbahu in 1847 and was saved in the library archive of Innsbruc.
Mavrove castle: The Mavrove castle is located in the Shushice valley and was built in the 4th century BC. The walls of the castle are built with a limestone blockade.
The castle of Gjon Bocari: The castle is located on the hill called “Gjembe” near the village of Tragjas in the form of a plateau extending from southeast to the west. In the north and east it is bordered by the mountains of Lungara while in the northwest it overlook the plain of Dukat up to the bay of Vlora
The walls of the castle and the other environments within are built with limestone or rough sand bound with solid mortar. The castle was built by the Boçari family, one of the principal Albanian families of Tragjas, Vlorë, southwestern Albania in the 16th and expanded in the 17th century. Modern members of the family include Gëzim and Ismail Boçari. The fortification features arrow slits for artillery openings in the walls. The northern and eastern corners of the castle feature large towers. The stone walls form a rectangle surrounding the courtyard and have a width of 1,25 meters and a height of 5,5 meters.
Kanina Castle: This castle was built in the village with the same name which is located about 6 kilometers (4 miles) away from Vlorë. The main castle rises on the side of the Shushica Mountain, about 380 meters (1,250 ft) above sea level. The initial castle was built on top of the site of an ancient settlement, one of the oldest in the region of Vlora. The castle is believed to have been constructed in the 3rd century B.C. In the 4th century B.C. the castle was transformed into a fortress town. In the 6th century A.D. the castle was reconstructed by Justinian I. The castle was the center of the Principality of Valona in the 14th century.
The lagoon of Narta: Located in the south of the embouchure of the Vjosa river, there is the Lagoon of Narta, which has an area of 4180 ha, the second biggest lagoon in Albania.
The Narta Lagoon is another natural ecosystem with possibilities for development of eco-tourism, bird observation, fishing etc. It represents the second campus in Albania for seabirds.
In Narta there are 195 kinds of birds. During the winter there nest about 48.700 seabirds, 23% of wintry poultries that come to Albania.
There you can see thousands of different types of ducks.
In the same time there arrive white tailed eagles, flamingos, peregrines, black kites etc. The area of Narta is known for its production of hand made, high quality wine. In the future, natural tourism in the lagoon could be wreathed with “wine tour”, which is produced there. In the lagoon’s waters live different types of fish, but the typical ones are such as eel and Narta’s bass. The area of Zvernec is famous for the coastal attraction, mixed with the cultural and traditional richness which compose a high potential for the development of tourism. Inside the Narta lagoon lies the island of Zverneci, very famous for the old monastery which expresses the cultural values of the zone. Zvernec monastery is the most important cultural monument in the area of Narta. One of the reasons to visit the island of Zvernec is to see this monastery which was built in the 13th century in the Byzantine style and was dedicated to Saint Maria. This construction is in the center of the island. Each year on the 15th August, there is an Orthodox celebration to remember the name day of Saint Maria. About food and accommodation, Narta is famous allover Albania for the wine which comes from the healthy vineyards of the fields of Narta.
Dellenja, Pishe-Poro, Delisufi: Beyond Narte to Vjose estuary on the north coast, we can enjoy a low field which belongs to a beautiful area of another unbeaten part of Vlora, called Vlora’s Granary. A number of fluvial and marine villages, among of which stand out Dellenja, Pishe-Poro and Delisufi, which hide in their bosom a powerful natural wealth that in the future could be a source of life for the entire area. Vjosa, which is the natural borderline of Vlora from Fier, is a natural resource that is currently used only by locals for fishing, but its fifteen kilometers from Mifoli Bridge, are fully navigable for boats or hiking tours of small ships, which can traverse the vast space of Vjose to its delta, where the coast of Vlora starts. Dellenja pine forest, is also an untrapped resource that can be used for hiking, picnics shelter for tourists travelling in campers or in tents during their expeditions. The village itself is a clean area, with generous and hospitable people, who are eager and willing to reveal their country, to be seen as a point of tourist interest. Small hotels nucleolus, guest houses, ethnographic museums and entertainment areas are rising slowly in the countryside, in anticipation of a future tourist, which is increasing while the road to the national highway which is about ten kilometers, now is fully rehabilitated. Dellenja and Delisurf beach, is a good opportunity for fishing, due to the merge with Vjose flow is also quite curative sand mixed with iodine which during the winter months to gather all the layers that often turn the sand beach into a black surface density of iodine. Pine-Poros dunes which are also natural monuments, together with dense pine forest and small lagoon, which locals call Kallenga of Poro, create a powerful lineup for natural tourism, which can be passed easy without a visit. This place has been the target of one of the patriarchs for hunting (Mehmet Shehu), because the area has been among other natural reserve for pheasants. A large amount of bird species grow here now, and has been discussed that pheasants will be brought back to give the former beauty to the area. Another very interesting natural asset in this area is the Dead river or the Salt River as the local residents call it, this is an animated segment that mainly keeps the water in the winter, with the change of inter tidal of the Adriatic Sea. Seeing that the main interest of foreign tourists visiting Albania is mainly the Albanian culture and nature, this area doubtlessly can be called the “Bermuda Triangle” of Albania.
The National marine Park of Sazan – Karaburun: The Marine park consists of Vlora Bay, Karaburun Peninsula and Sazan island. Vlora bay is the largest bay on the coast of Albania and one of the oldest ports of Europe. It departs from Plaka Cape Treport and continues creating a large pocket up until the Galloveci Cape, on the north of Karaburun, its entrance is located on the Sazani island and has the appearance of a warship that has just come out at the sea. The bay of Vlora has a length of 19 kilometers and a width of 9,5 kilometers and a maximum depth of 54 meters. It’s western part, which lies along the Karaburun peninsula consists of a rocky abrasive coast, while the other parts consist of a low sandy coast, with rich beaches. The Adriatic waters that compose this bay, reach temperatures ranging from 13 oC in the cold winter season and 25 oC in the hot summer months allows you to enjoy sunbathing and fishing here almost all year round. The bay of Vlora is used and continues to be used until today as an area with excellent opportunities to accommodate various types of ships. A total of six ports, each with specific characteristics are placed on this bay. The port of Vlora is the largest seaport of southern Albania and serves to all surrounding regions for the transport of goods and passengers. On the northern west side of the main port is the port of Zverneci, which serves to anchor the fleet of the fishing vessels. While in the southern part of the port city is the small port of Radhima, which serves military vehicles to patrol the coast. In the southern part of the bay, where the Karaburun peninsula begins is where the military port of Pashaliman is located. It has been called by his name from the Ottoman Navy in the 16th century, it became a major military base of the Warsaw Pact in the Cold War Years. Here, Soviets invested millions of dollars and for a long period, it was ready to serve as a marine squad consisting of 12 submarines and dozens of other auxiliary ships. Today, this port, due to its relationship of partner ships with NATO has been taken under the auspices of the Turkish Navy. The port is also partly located on the island of Sazan, where it is used for military purposes, while in the port of Orikum, the newest port in Vlora bay, we see the tourist port for yachts. Vlora bay is favorable for the sport of diving. There are a number of companies that practice this sport activity. Under the water, you can find some museums that consist of sunken ships from antiquity until the World War II.
The Karaburun peninsula is a part of the bay, it is the biggest peninsula in the territory of the Republic of Albania. With a length of 16 kilometers, it serves as a borderline between the two Adriatic and Ionian Seas. Its diverse landscape offers many different shapes as small bays, plateau, karst caves, capes, beaches, slopes, bare mountain tops etc. Among these, we should also mention Bear Bay, Laurel Bay, first Ragusa and second Ragusa Bay, Ravenna Bay, Saint Jan, Saint Basil, Saint Andrews Bays, Bristan bay etc.
The sea water surrounding the Karaburun peninsula forms the largest marine area of Karaburun-Sazan National Marine Park. Further south to the peninsula lies Llogara National Park. It has a mild Mediterranean climate with hot summers and generally warm to cool, dry winters. Water sources are absent on ground surface. Nevertheless, the fauna is represented by several species, such as the endangered loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) that nests on the isolated beaches of the western Ionian coasts. Also the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) have also been sighted. Vegetation is poor, but there are oak trees on the western side of the peninsula and on the plateau of Ravena (covered with pastures). The eastern side is covered with scattered bushes and pines. The marble found at Grama Bay was used in construction during ancient times, while inscriptions of sailors can be found on its walls. The largest cave of the peninsula is named after Haxhi Aliu, a well known pirate of the time.
Orikum: Orikumi is one of the newer cities of Albania, it is located just 20 kilometers towards the south of Vlora. The municipality includes the town and the villages Orikum Radhima, Tragjas and Dukat. The settlement was established in the late 1950s when the first residential buildings and social economic character buildings rose in order to house the families of the service men and the Albanian Soviet military-naval base of Pasha Liman. Until the 1990s, Orikumi was a small, rural character town. The changes in the political and the economical orientation of the country did this after all those years for a new, modern city to be born in the view of the nautical tourism. In the development of this “industry” that was laso influenced by proximity Orikumi Orikum Archaeological Park, Lagoon Pashaliman, Karaburun, National Natural Park Llogara etc. The azure waters of the Adriatic beaches, piers, comfortable hotels, restaurants and culinary tradition and international law, modern infrastructure, tourist attractions here add to it. Radhima lies along the western slope of Mount Lungares, near the sea. It also belongs to the municipality together with Orikumi Tragjasin and jewelries. It is known for many holiday villas, many small beaches and all year round restaurants. Lamb from the Duchy and fresh fsh that the fishermen bring it at night are very popular in the area.
Natural park of “Llogara”: Llogara National Park situated nearly 30 km southeast of Vlore on the main road between Orikum and Dhermi, has been declared by the Albanian Government as a national park in 1966. The Park area can be used for hiking and as an alpine retreat. Some small tourist resorts are located here. The 1,010 hectares area is covered by lush plant life and considered a classic place where a natural equilibrium exists between the world of animals and plants. The Park is known from its vibrant flora and fauna with over 100 different types of wild animals and birds including: deer, wild cats, foxes, etc. The mixture of refreshing high altitude mountain air and proximity of the sea makes it very attractive destination for tourists. The area is also important for the growth of eco-tourism, picnic, hiking and air sports. The visitors to the Llogara National Park have the opportunity to see beautifully-shaped trees, formed by air currents, or to admire beautiful views of the Ionian Sea. One of the important tourist attractions is the Flag Pine tree which resembles the Albanian Eagle.
Amantia Archaeological park: Amantia (Ploce) is an ancient city of the Illyrian Empire, located in the district of the historical village of Ploce. It was founded at the end of the 5th century BC. The city was located near the mountains with an area of 15 ha2. Amantia was a city in the time of the Epirote League in 230 BC. After the Roman occupation, they maintained their autonomy and were an important city in the road between Apollonia and Epirit. The Temple of Aphrodite and the stadium of Amantia, with about 3000 seats, were found within the boundaries of the city.
THE BEACHES IN VLORA
Pishe Poro – Dellenje – Delisuf beach: The coast of Vlora begins here, although this area is not frequented by tourists but mainly by local residents. The beach goes to the border with Zverneci Beach and doesn’t host in fracture. However, in recent years the service provided by small locals that mainly provide the fish and seafood products. The beach is quite curative because of high density of iodine accumulated during the winter.
Zverneci Beach in Vlora: This is the largest beach of the coast of Vlora. It is a sandy beach whose gates added value from the of Soda, 8 kilometers long, consisting mainly of wild pine. The fine sand, shallow water, fresh sea air and the surrounding forest and landscape make it one of the most favorite, popular beaches, suitable for families and for nature lovers.
The Old Beach: The Old beach is another shallow, sandy beach which has been transformed into an elite area. It is frequented also from the coast because you can run or play ball. Even the beach is suitable for families, especially for families with young children.
The New beach: This is the newest beach in town frequented mainly by families because it is a low beach field. In the recent years, it has improved in infrastructure and increased the municipal services and facilities for the maintenance of the coastal state, which have made its standard of a higher quality.
Zhironi beach in Vlora: This is undoubtedly the most attractive beach of Vlora Riviera. Clean water, white sand, big rocks in the sea and the land space make it coveted for filmmakers. There are dozens of video clips of the most famous Albanian singers that were filmed here.
Jonufra beach in Vlora: Is another one of the most beautiful beaches on the coast of Vlora. Although it is a small beach, it is very popular due to the white big grain sand and the big waves bumping strongly and foaming the shore. The beach is preferred especially by young people.
Radhima beaches are of two types, rocky and sandy beaches. Meanwhile, here is the deep sea to the shore and waters are transparent. All the beaches offer services like umbrellas, chairs, showers, toilets and beach bars.
Orikumi beaches are sandy and deep beaches. Those values increase because of the restaurants, holiday villas and hotels that provide extra services. In order to have fun in your spare time, there are many pedal boats, kayaks and jet skis available to rent.
A number of other small beaches are those placed next to the tourist hotels as San Tropez, Vironi, The Nymph, Jonufra, Pashai, Regina, Krela, Grand Hotel Aita, Laberia, Freskia etc. that provide all of the elite facilities for tourism. Karaburun beaches are known for their crystal waters, natural beautiful and tranquility. In these numerous bays, there have been many new structures built in the recent years. Travelling from Vlora with speed boats there which offer a pleasant route. Recently, the services are enriched with regular lines that develop this area as a tourist ship Regina Blu, Teuta ship, smaller ships or yachts of the only company for small tourist cruises “Sail Albania” based in Orikum.
THE HISTORY OF VLORA
In ancient history Vlore was called Avlona. It was noted by many travelers and foreign chroniclers, as one of the main port cities of the southern Illyrian region, which flourished, in importance only behind Apolonia and Orikum.
“The name of Vlores is one of the least well know geographic names of the eastern coast of the Adiatic that has remained since the ancient times. The city is on par with Durres, Shokdra, Lesha, and Ulqin, as one of the most important and ancient cities of Albania. These places would not have survived had not they been continuously occupied through the centuries. A good part of the population of these provinces have since their Albanian settlement, been able to resist the process of Romanization and enslavement, in which a large part of the Balkans peninsula took part in.” notes a study by Professor Shaban Demiraj.
According to archaeological remains seen on the Vlore coast, in previous years Vlore was marked by noteworthy prehistoric residences, cultural and economic developments, and characteristic cities and urban centers. Like the “Caves of Velça,” “The Cave Writings of Lepenice” (a rarity in the greater Balkans) “The Cave of Spile” (in Himara) “The Mosaics of Mavrova” or “The Pitosa of Mallkeq” the Vlore region has numerous sites that showcase the independence and the continuation of the culture of the Illyrians through the bronze and iron ages. Other known ancient residences are the city castles of Amantia, Olympia, Kanina, Himara, Cerja, Armeni, Haderaj, Triport and Vlora (Aulona) itself.
Amantia was founded in the fifth century BC and is one of the smaller southern Illyrian cities, is over 1000 years old and has many old mountain buildings and ancient antique stadiums built with large stone blacks.
South of the city of Vlore is found the city of Orikum, which is the most ancient port on the coast of Vlore, and was founded as a residential area in the fourth to fifth century BC. Orikum then became a fortified port, and an important Adriatic military base. In the second and first centuries BC it was an important sea side work site, for building and repairing ships, favored by proximity to the pine forests of Llogara and the greenhouses of Selenica. In the second century BC Orikum was destroyed by a powerful earthquake and lost its importance, having not gotten permission to rebuild. It was during this particular time in the bay of Vlore that another wharf city, “Avlona”, the Vlore of today first made an appearance in history. The ancient archaeological symbol of Vlore is “The Girl of Avlona” a sculpture of a nymph 87 cm and carved by local masters with the limestone of Kanina that symbolize the grave clothes of the Illyrians.
The name of the city – Wharf of Aulona first is noted in the second century BC by the authors Lukan and the geographer Ptolemy. These facts are confirmed by the archaeological evidences of a castle, and a large port that may have existed at the mouth of the river and at the lagoon of Narta. During these times, the port of Avlona must have moved, it appears that the commercial aspect of the port moved to JL and Kanina, became the administrative center of the military in the fourth century CE. In the fifth and the sixth centuries Vlore received an orthodox bishop who was dependent on the metropolis of Durres, but his presence in Avlona explains why the city became a more important place of residence. The past few years have lead to the discovery of the surrounding protecting wall and fortification in the center of Vlore as well as the discovery of some new existing archaeological remains near the train station.
The last archaeological excavations in Kanina and Himara have given other evidence for the continuity of Illyrian culture through late antiquity and the middle ages.. In the sixth century CE and continuing in the middle ages, Avlona was mentioned in a list of important port coastal cities, with developed naval facilities that exported olive oil, salt, timber, olives, and the emerging markets of Avlona mirrored those through out the rest of Europe. In the neck of the river Vjosa, emerged the port of Spinarce, where trade developed as well as consular trade with Raguza and Venice, etc.
Medieval Vlore and its region fell under the Norman occupation of 1081, falling under Venetian occupation in 1205 and later under the domination of the Hohenstaufen Germans. During the reign of the Arberesh Kingdom after 1272 Vlore served as a center of cultural development, and as noted in several concurrent chronicles, there was a flowering of crafts, trade, husbandry and forestry.
The Arianit Family has played large role in the political, military and society of Vlore, most notably in the 11 th Century with the first of the Arianitas, Komnen Golemi Topise, until the 15 th and 16 th centuries. A noted individual of the 15 th century was Gjergj Arianiti, who organized the resistance against the Ottoman regimes in 1431-1432, in the mountains of valleys of Laberia. According to legend Gjergj Arianit was revered through out Europe. He allied himself with the Albanian hero Gjergj Kastriot Skenderbej, when Skenderbej married his daughter Donika, though Arianit remained independent in the South and middle of Albania. In the assembly of Lezha, on March 2, 1444, to face the dangers of the Ottoman occupation, Gjregj Arianiti stood by the Albanian rulers in their national campaign.
In the 15 th and 16 th centuries the ottoman regime turned the Vlore into an important Adriatic Port. In a Turkish census in the year 1520 there was listed 701 local families and 531 Jewish families. This is evidence for a peaceful and tolerant climate, at a time when elsewhere Jews faced savage persecution. Thus the city was host to 6300 – 6500 residences. Vlore was the base for the Ottoman attacks against the southern Italians in 1480, against the Himara insurgents in 1492 and served as a base for the Sultan Sulejmani against Corfu in 1537. And in this year was built the castle of the city, where today is located the Flamurtari stadium, and whose stones were taken from the castle of Jangeci in Zvernec and from the surrounding walls of Aulona.
In the 17 th and 18 th Centuries Vlora was on of the most important harbors of southern Albania, behind Preveza, because her bay protected boats from storms. In the port of Vlore was built a large depot for the storage of agricultural products and village goods which found there way there all the way from Berat, Gjirokaster and Myzeqe. In their exports, the city developed trade with Trieste, Venice, Vienna, Corfu, Istanbul, Izmir, Brescia, Bari, Manastir, Ioanina and Malta. In the port of Vlora, regularly entered, every week the Austrian Ship “Lloyd” and the Italian “ Puglia” which have done in the year 1904, respectively, 224 and 181 entrance and exits. Vlora exported 20000 barrels of olive oil, 11000 loads of olives, 1.5 million kilograms of salt, and 15000 units of wool, and 20000 pieces of leather, as well as a myriad of other agricultural products from around the region.
One desired article was the flint from the stones of Drashovice that were prepared either as blocks or as shards. For export, animal furs and caps were the preferred articles for Istrien and Tristien and other alpine places. Vlore manufactured olives that were more ancient than those made in Italy and France was distinguished by their high production quality, and their oils. In the year 1900 Vlore was registered with over 100,000 olive trees
Through out the centuries Vlora has been known as an important patriotic heart of Albania, and the struggles for freedom, independence and prosperity have been in the spirit of every Vloniat.
Vlore was the site of many wars against foreign occupations and struggles to spread Albanian education and was home to many patriotic societies.
In the years 1908-1912 the club “Laberia” made a burning hearth for the struggle for independence and against the Young Turks. The head of this club was Ismail Qemali who opened an Albanian School in the neighborhood of Muradie (August 7 th 1908) and which marked an important occasion in the educational life of Vlore.
But the most important incident in the city of Vlora was the one that happened on the 28 th of November 1912, when the sage and diplomatic old man, Ismail Qemali, together with other Albanian delegates from around the country, declared the independence of Albania and at the same time raised the national flag in Vlore. Thus Vlore became the first capital city in independent Albania.
In the 25 th of December 1914 Vlore was conquered by the Italians. After the expansion of the Italian occupation, there grew a resistance to their rule. In the year 1920, after the Congress of Lushnja, there was created the National Protection” Committee, headed by Osman Haxhiu, which organized war forces in the War of Vlore. The war of Vlore is one of epic glories of Albanians. Vlora was the “Thermopoli” according to Halim Xhelo.
In the years 1920 – 1924 Vlore was included in the process of democratization of local people. Here was created the Federation “Atdheu” (1921) and the branch of the society “Bashkimi” (1922). A large role in these years was played by the magazines “Politics”, “National Protection” “Free words” “National Hope” etc, which were published in Vlore.
In the Second World War, Vlore was made one of the most important bases for the National Anti Fascist Movement against the Nazi occupation. It kept a heavy load in the war and its contribution is well noted.
USEFUL INFORMATION ABOUT VLORA IN 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
PHOTO GALLERY OF VLORA
MAP OF VLORA