Going to Albania

Located on the Balkan Penninsula in southeastern Europe, Albania is located near to the main European markets and can be visited easily by air, land and sea.

Mother Teresa Tirana International Airport

VIA AIR

The only airport in Albania with international service is Mother Theresa International Airport, located in Rinas, just 17 km northwest of Tirana. The most convenient way to get from the airport to Tirana is by taxi. The journey from Tirana to the airport takes twenty to thirty minutes, depending on traffic, and costs about 2,500 lekë (or 20 EURO) each way. Soon will open also the Airport of Kukes (North Albania) and will be constructed the Airport of Vlora (South Albania).

The Rinas Express bus departs every hour between 6am and 6pm, as an hourly bus service between the Airport and the National Museum in the centre of Tirana. The single fare is 250 Albanian Lekë.

Other Information
“Mother Teresa” Airport
The airport has a duty free shop, Customs operates 24 hours a day.
Phone: 00355 4/2381800/1600, Fax: 00355 4/2379065

Lost & Found:

Phone: 00355 4/2381681/82, Mobile phone: 00355 69 20 66626E-mail: info@tirana-airport.com, Website:

The following are DIRECT flights to and from Albania:

Company

Website

From

Adria Airways/JP

www.adria.si

Ljubljana / Munich / Frankfurt

Air Serbia/JU

www.airserbia.com

Beograd

Alitalia/AZ

www.alitalia.it

Roma / Milano Malpensa / Torino / Bari

Austrian Airlines/OS

www.austrian.com

Vienna

Blue Panorama Airlines /BV

www.blue-panorama.com

Roma / Milano/ Bologna / Genova / Pisa / Venezia / Verona / Perugia

British Airways/BA

www.britishairways.com

London Gatwick

Ernest Airlines/EG

Milano , Bergamo,  Venezia , Bologna , Pisa , Verona

WizzAir/W6

www.wizzair.com

Budapest

Jetairfly/JAF

www.tuifly.be 

Brussels

Lufthansa/LH

www.lufthansa.com

Frankfurt

AlbaWings/2B

www.albawings.com

Firenze/ Milano Malpensa  / Perugia / Ancona  / Rimini / Treviso / Verona / Genova

  • Aegean/A3

Athens

Transavia/HW

www.transavia.com

Paris / Amsterdam

Turkish Airlines/TK

Pegasus Airlines /PC

AirAlbania

www.turkishairlines.com

www.flypgs.com

www.airalbania.com.al

Istanbul

  • Edelweiss
  • Zurich

VIA SEA

Visitors can access Albania by passenger ferry through its larger coastal cities. Several foreign companies have regular services to:
Port of Durrës:
Connects to Italian ports of of Bari, Ancona and Trieste in Italy and Koper in Slovenia.
Phone: 00355/052222028, Web:http://www.apdurres.com.al/, Customs operate 24 hours a day.

Port of Saranda:
Daily trips are made to the Greek island of Corfu.
Phone: 00355/073222734, Web: http://portisarande.al/, Customs operate until 22.00 pm

Port of Vlora:
Connects to Italian ports of Brindisi and Otranto
Phone: 00 355/033 235 61, Web:http://www.portivlore.com/,Customs operate until 22.00pm.

Port of Shëngjin:
Connects to the Italian port of Bari.
Mobile: 00355692080556 Web: www.portofshengjin.al, Customs operates until 22.00.

  • Ferry Lines
  • Agency
  • Contact
  • DURRES- TRIESTE
  • Adria Ferries
  • Adria Ferries
  • DURRES – BARI
  • Adria Ferries
  • Adria Ferries
  • Grandi Navi Veloci
  • Niki Mare
  • Nobel Maritime Inc.
  • Duni Port
  • Agency
  • Northbay Maritimos Lda.Madeira
  • Euro Ferries
  • European Seaways
  • Ionian Island
  • DURRES – ANCONA
  • Adria Ferries
  • Adria Ferries
  • DURRES – BRINDISI
  • Northbay Maritimos Lda.Madeira
  • Euro Ferries
  • VLORE – BRINDISI
  • RedStar Ferries
  • SARANDE – CORFU
  • Finikas Lines

VIA ROAD

REPUBLIC OF KOSOVO 

From Kosova, the primary route crosses the border near Qafë Morinё (Albania) and connects Prishtina and Kukës. The other entry points are Morinё (Tropoja with Gjakova)  , and Qafë Prush (Hasi with Gjakova) . Customs operates 24 hours .

REPUBLIC OF GREECE
From Greece through Kapshtica to Korça. Customs operates 24 hours.

From Greece through Kakavija leading to Gjirokastra. Customs operates 24 hours.
From Greece through Qafë Boti (Konispol) leading to Filat. Customs operates until 22.00.
From Greece through Tre Urat, connecting Përmet with Konica. Customs operates until 22.00.

REPUBLIC OF MONTENEGRO
From Montenegro through Hani i Hotit, leading to Shkodra and Shkodra Lake. Customs operates until 22.00.
From Montenegro through Murriqan Sukobina, connecting Shkodra with Ulqin (Montenegro). Customs operates until 22.00.
A crossing has recently opened at Vermoshi, which links the region of Kelmendi in Albania with Plava and Gusinje in Montenegro. Customs operates until 22.00.

REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA
From Macedonia through Qafë Thana leading to Pogradec, Librazhd, and Elbasan. Customs operates until 22.00.
From Macedonia through Tushemisht at the southeastern end of Lake Ohrid, leading to Pogradec. Customs operates until 22.00.

From Macedonia through Bllata, leading to Peshkopi, Bulqiza, and Burrel. Customs operates until 22.00.
From Macedonia through Gorica, leading to the northern shores of Lake Prespa. Customs operates until 19.00.

For more info please visit the Customs website : http://www.dogana.gov.al/c/173/334/deget-doganore

There are regular International bus services between the following cities:

Their departure is at the International Terminal at Dritan Hoxha road , behind the Palace of Sports “Asllan Rusi” .

Tirana – Sofia (Bulgaria) through Qafe Thane custom

Tirana – Prishtina , Prizren , Peja (Kosovo) through Morina custom

Tirana – Skopje , Tetovo (Macedonia) through Qafe Thane custom

Tirana – Athens , Thessalonica , Xanthi , Kalamata , Iraklio  (Greece) through Kakavije or Kapshtice custom

Tirana – Istanbul (Turkey) through Qafë Thana or Kapshtica custom .

Tirana – Rome , Milano (Italy)  through Durres Port or Hani Hotit custom .

Tirana – Dortmund  (Germany) through Hani Hotit custom .

Tirana – Kotor (Montenegro) through Hani Hotit custom .

Timetable photo of different international bus lines :

Nr

Line

Departure

1-8

GREECE

TIRANA – ATHENS

(Pass also in Shkoder)

3 am

4 am

4 30 am

5 am

5 30 am

6 am

8 am

9 am

11 am

12 am

2 pm

2 30 pm

3 pm

3 30 pm

4 pm

4 30 pm

5 pm

5 30 pm

TIRANA –

THESSALONIKI

(Pass also in Shkoder)

4 am

4 45 am

6 am

7 am

8 15 am

9 am

TIRANA- HERAKLION

4 am

2 pm

5 pm

TIRANA – KATERINI

5 30 am

6 am

TIRANA – KALAMATA

8 30 am

1 30 pm

2 pm

TIRANA – XANTHI

5 am

7 am

9-10

 ITALY

TIRANA – MILAN

8 30 am

9 30 pm

TIRANA – VARESE

8 30 am

TIRANA – VITERBO

5 pm Wednesday , Saturday only

TIRANA – ROME

9 20 pm

11-13

KOSOVO

TIRANA – PRISHTINA

(Passes in Durres)

6 am

6 30 am

12 am

2 pm

3 pm

5 pm

TIRANA – PEJA

6 am

2 pm

4 pm

14

BULGARIA

TIRANA- SOFIA

6 30 pm

14

GERMANY

TIRANA – DORTMUND

TIRANA – HAMM

8 am

8 am

15-16

MACEDONIA

TIRANA – SKOPJE (SHKUP)

TIRANA – MACEDONIA

TIRANA – TETOVO (TETOVA)

7 pm

9 am

9 pm

6 pm

15-16

TURKEY

SHKODRA – ISTANBUL

TIRANA – ISTANBUL

(Passes in Shkodra)

( Custom of Kapshtice)

11 am

11 am

12 15 am

15-16

MONTENEGRO

TIRANA – KOTOR

6 am

Interesting facts about Albania

The Karavasta Lagoon is one of the largest lagoons in the Mediterranean Sea and is home to the Dalmatian Pelican, as well as over 250 bird, mammal, and amphibian species. Five percent of the world’s Dalmatian Pelican population is found in this lagoon.

Karavasta - Albania

Mother Teresa, whose given name was Agnesë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, was an ethnic Albanian. Mother Teresa’s work has inspired commemorations throughout Albania, including the name of Albania’s international airport: the Tirana Mother Theresa International Airport.

Goxhe Angnes Bojaxhiu known as Mother Teresa of Calcutta , Albanian origin catholic nun

The second largest Roman Amphitheater in the Balkans is located in Albania’s port city of Durrës. Built in the 2nd century AD, the theater could hold 20,000 spectators, about one-sixth of the population of Durrës currently.

Amphitheater - Durres - Albania

Two of the seven “purple codices” (the Purple Codex of Berat is a historic manuscript to early biblical literature) written from the sixth to the eighteenth centuries are preserved in the UNESCO city of Berat in Albania. The two Albanian codices are very important for the global community and the development of ancient biblical, liturgical and hagiographical literature.

Purple Saint Codex of Berat
 

Did you know that the first Emperor of the Roman Empire, Augustus, studied in Apollonia, near the city of Fier, in the year 44 BC?

Temple of Apollonia, largest ancient city in Albania - Fier
 

The main legacy of the Albanian national hero, Gjergj Kastrioti (George Castriota) Skanderbeg, was to stop the expansion of the Ottoman Empire in Western Europe. His contribution is commemorated in monuments, statues, and squares named after him in Rome , Vienna , Budapest , Paris , London , Geneva , Michigan , Skopje, Pristina,  Spezzano , Piana degli Albanesi near Palermo and all Calabry region , and Brussels.

Statue of Skanderbeg in Tirana , Albania
 

Did you know that the origins of iso-polyphony, one of the world’s most ancient acapella singing traditions, can be traced to the Illyrians, the ancestors of modern Albanians? The term “iso” refers to the droning tone, which accompanies the iso-polyphonic singing and is related to the “ison” of Byzantine church music, where the drone group accompanies the song. This unique musical tradition was recognized by UNESCO in 2005 when it was added to the list of “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.”

Albanian polyphony
 

The Albanian language is a stand-alone branch of the Indo-European language family and is now spoken by close to eight million people around the world. In addition to a large diaspora, over 80,000 Arbëresh speak Albanian in southern Italy.

Albanian Language

During the nearly forty-year leadership of Communist period, over 700,000 bunkers were built in the country – one for every four inhabitants. The bunkers are still a ubiquitous sight in Albania for visitors, with an average of twenty four bunkers for every square kilometer. Albania is maybe unique with its bunkers where some of them are decorated with bright colors.

Bunker in Albanian Alps
 

Onufri or Onuphrios from Shpati near Elbasan is famous as the most important icon painter of 16th century in Albania. Even though he painted biblical and ecclesiastic motives according to the Byzantine canon, he had the merit to free himself from the strict patterns. In his works, he depicted Albanian landscapes, towns, peasants, shepherds and especially knights.

Birth of Jesus

What is Lorem Ipsum?
Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

 

 

 

Vlora is one of the largest and most populous cities in Albania. It is 130 km from the capital, 120 km from Mother Teresa International Airport, and is home to the second largest port in Albania. Vlora is rich in history and antiquity. This historic city dates back to the 6th century B.C., when it was known as Aulona. Fragments of the massive wall surrounding Aulona have been found in the center of the city, close to Sheshi i Flamurit (Flag Square). In 1081, the city fell under Norman dominion. In the 14th century it was part of the Kingdom of Arbëria, ruled by the Balshaj, Albanian princes, until 1417 when the city was invaded by the Ottomans. In 1812, the city came under the control of Ali Pashë Tepelena, and one century later, on November 28th, 1912, it became the first capital of an independent Albania, ruled by the government of Ismail Qemali. The most interesting sights in Vlora include the Independence Museum (in the headquarters building of the first government), the History Museum, and the Ethnographic Museum. Among the religious objects in Vlora, the most important is the Mosque of Muradie, built in 1542 by the chief architect of the Ottoman Empire, Mimar Sinan, who was originally from the region.(He was born in Agirnas district of Kayseri- Turkey). He is the constructor of the famous Suleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul and is also known for his work in other cities in Turkey such as Edirne (for the Selymie Mosque), Erzurum, and many others. Also, a prominent hill above the city is home to the Bektashi Tekke of Kuzum Babai. The site offers an amazing view of the city of Vlora, the peninsula of Karaburun, the island of Sazan, and the lagoon of Narta. There are also several interesting clubs and restaurants in the city of Vlora.
Amantia was the historical capital of the Illyrian tribe of Amanties, founded around the 5th century BCE. Its present location is near the village of Plloça in the river valley of Vlora. At its peak, Amantia featured an acropolis and a Doric style temple dedicated to Aphrodite. The most notable archeological object among the preserved features is the stadium, measuring 60 x 12.5 meters. A significant sculptural object is the bas-relief of the God of Fertility, which can be seen at the National Historic Museum. Additional relics from Amantia are on display at the Archaeological Museum.
Finiq (Phoenice) is located near the modern city of Saranda and is about 20 km north of Butrint Lake and the Albanian border with Greece. During antiquity the territory surrounding the settlement belonged to Chaonia, part of the Epirus kingdom. The site is rich in findings from the Classical to the Byzantine period. Ancient sources mentioned the wealth of the city, especially during the Hellenistic period, between the 3rd and 2nd centuries BCE, when Finiq was a prominent city in the Epirote League. The city of Finiq hosted the historically significant signing of the treaty ending the first Macedonian War. This document took the name of “The Peace of Phoenice.” The city’s prosperity continued throughout the Roman and Byzantine periods. The Ottoman occupation appears to have caused the shrinking of the city of Finiq. Phoenice boasts several archaeologically important relics, including a small prostylos temple, a theater, exemplars of Hellenistic houses, and several Roman water cisterns.This picturesque site also contains an important Byzantine church.
Behind the Independence Monument Square in Vlora, the excavated remains of a rectangular castle are visible. The castle comprised a portion of the ancient city of Aulona and was built in the 4th century CE to withstand Gothic invasions. Other finds in the area indicate that it was first settled during the 4th century BCE. The most famous find from this period is a sculpture known as “the aulonian girl”, depicting a girl wearing an Illyrian dress. Historical sources mention Aulona in the 2nd century CE, in relation to Roman efforts to improve roads in this part of the western Balkans. In various itineraries, Aulon is mentioned as a principal stopping place on the main road from Dyrrachium to Butrint. Following the Gothic invasions of the 5th century CE, an archdiocese was established inside the castle. During the reign of Justinian, the castle was further fortified by his direct orders. Late in the 6th century CE, Slavs invaded the city, causing widespread damage and an evacuation by many citizens to the island of Sazan, where traces of this settlement have been discovered. The city might have never regained its status, appearing to have diminished significantly in size and importance. Aulona is mentioned again in Byzantine documents, around 1100 CE.
Treport: Excavations near the Cape of Treport, located in the lagoon of Narta, have revealed traces of an ancient settlement dating back to the 7th century BCE. Over the centuries, the settlement expanded and a new wall was built around it in the 4th century BCE. Between the 4th and 2nd centuries BCE, the city prospered. The original name of the city is unknown, but according to finds in the area, the indicated name is Daulia. The city was mysteriously abandoned after the 2nd century BCE, but this might have been related to the Illyrian-Roman wars.
Orikum (Orikos) is located in southwest Albania, about 40 km south of the archaeological site of Apollonia. According to Pliny, colonists from Colchis established the city of Orikum. Its geographical position made it an important harbor and a trading center on the Adriatic coast. Orikum was important to military strategists as well. It was used by the Romans as a defensive base in the wars against the Illyrians as well as in the 3rd century BCE against the Macedonians, who later occupied it in 214 BCE. Julius Caesar used the area as a troop encampment for several months until Pompeius Magnus took them. Being subject to such varied cultural influences, Orikum became a thriving urban center. This is evident by various archaeological ruins, such as part of an orchestra platform and a small theater with the capacity to hold 400 spectators. Additionally, ruins of protective walls and streets are visible lying underwater in a lagoon. The emperor Theodore commissioned the nearby Marmiroi Church, of Byzantine origin, in the 13th century CE. It has a small 6m x 9m main hall and a dome approximately 3m in diameter that is supported by four Roman arches. Its internal walls feature fragments of murals that reflect various aspects of Byzantine culture. The church has three entrances and is renowned for its elaborate construction and architectural significance. Today Orikum is an important city, which has been part of many regional development programs and has seen a distinct increase in the tourism sector. This is a result of its proximity to the Adriatic Sea and its relative position to other nearby cities.
Onchesmos (Saranda) is the name of the ancient town derived from Anchises, the Trojan warrior whose mythological union with the goddess Aphrodite resulted in a son named Aeneas. Aeneas, along with his father and his son, Ascanius, escaped the sacking of Troy, and journeyed throughout the Mediterranean. Dionysos of Halicarnassus calls Onchesmos the Harbor of Anchises, and the Byzantine historian, Procopius, mentions that Anchises died at Onchesmos. During the 6th century CE, the town’s name changed to Hagia Saranda or “Forty Saints”. The circumstances of this name change are unclear, but might be related to the construction of a great basilica overlooking the modern city of Saranda. Various monuments and archaeological finds of the city have been excavated. Among the more impressive finds are the ruins of a synagogue, a portion of a Roman imperial archway, and the ruins of a late antiquity house. Also noteworthy are an apsidal building, an odeon, a cemetery, and an elaborate mosaic widely known as the Dolphin Pavement.
The Monastery of Saint Nicolas in Mesopotam is a beautiful monument located in the village of Mesopotam, not far from the touristic city of Saranda. It is quite accessibile thanks to its location on the national road linking Saranda with Gjirokastra. It is a Byzantine church, reconstructed two times in the years 1793 and 1843 CE. The main characteristic of the monastery is its distinctive defense features. The fortified wall surrounding the monastery includes rectangular towers. As it is also near the National Park of Butrint, it attracts numerous visitors.
Muradie Mosque is located in the very heart of the city of Vlora. It is a sultan style mosque, with a dome built in the second half of the 16th century CE. It consists of a prayer hall and a minaret built of carved stone. This monument has a harmonious distribution of its windows. Mimar Sinan Aga the Great, an architect of Albanian origin who was one of the most important mosque builders in the Ottoman Empire, carried out the design and construction of this mosque. It is supposed that he was born in the village of Gjergaj (modern day Sinanaj) in the region of Tepelena, southern Albania. He is considered the greatest architect of the classical period of Ottoman architecture, often compared to Michelangelo. Muradie Mosque is the only structure that has remained from this master in Albania.
The Fortified Settlement of Karos is located near the village of Qeparo, along the Qeparo River. The location was clearly chosen for its natural defenses, as the fortress is situated atop a hill. Approachers from virtually any direction would face a difficult climb up a rocky slope. The original defensive walls apparently had only one entrance. The present state of the walls is a mere shadow of what it used to be, but it still extends for 350 m and is approximately 3 m thick. It varies in height, but reaches a maximum of 1.5 m in its ruined state. Two structures behind the entrance gate would have provided additional barriers for attackers and suggests just how heavily fortified this location once was. Origins of the settlement are unknown, but artifacts unearthed during the archaeological dig represent a wide range of inhabitants from the Early Iron Age to the 4th century C.E.
The region of Vlora is very rich with other sites. We should mention a number of orthodox churches along the Albanian Riviera, including the Chuch of Saint Mary of Mesodhia (1783 CE) and the Church of Saint Spiridhoni (1778CE) in Vuno, the Chuch of Ipapandia in Dhërmi, the Church of Saint Mary of Athali in Himara and the traditional houses of Odise Kasneci in Vuno and Lilo LLazari in Himara.
Other monuments in the district of Vlora include the Church of Marmiroi (13th century CE) close to Orikum, the towers of Dervish Aliu in the village of Dukat, the Castle of Kanina and the Gjon Boçari Castle in the village of Tragjas. In the district of Saranda, you may also visit the ruins of the Monastery of the 40 Saints (close to Saranda), the Lëkursi Castle (2 km south of Saranda) and the small castle at the entrance of the Vivari channel near Burtint.
As regards museums in the city of Vlora, you may visit the Museum of Independence, the Ethnographic Museum and the Historic Museum.

Apollonia: Cicero, the famed Roman orator, was captivated by the beauty of Apollonia, and in his “Philippics”, referred to it as “magna urbs et gravis,” or “the great and important city.” The ancient city, founded in the 7th century BCE by Greek settlers from Corinth and Corcyra, is located 11 km west of the modern city of Fier. A French mission lead by Prof. Leon Rey discovered Apollonia. Archaeological excavations have shown that Apollonia reached its zenith during the 4th – 3rd century BCE.
Studies estimate that around 60,000 inhabitants lived inside the city gates. The city has a 4 km long wall encircling an area of 137 hectares. Sources depict a flourishing culture with a busy harbor along this active trading route. Among the most interesting remains are the city council building, the library, the triumphal arch and the temple of Artemis.
The odeon, from the 2nd century BCE, is also noteworthy, as it once accommodated approximately 10,000 spectators. There is also a spectacular 77 m long stoa with a covered walkway. An earthquake in the 3rd century CE, in addition to causing damage to infrastructure, altered the path of the Vjosa River and the harbor eventually silted up. This effectively changed the trading route, and the once proud city declined until it was nearly uninhabited. Apollonia was “rediscovered” in the 18th century CE, and archaeological efforts have continued intermittently throughout the 20th century CE. Today the site is easily accessible from the nearby city of Fier and it offers both unique views of the Adriatic coastline and numerous historical and archaeological items of great interest to visitors.
Byllis, established in the 3rd century BCE, once flourished as a political, economic and cultural center in the region. Being governed by a body of civil servants, the introduction of a bronze currency system and a reputation for having skilled artisans were the hallmarks of this powerful society. The surrounding wall of Byllis is very well preserved, measuring 2,250 m long, 3.5 m wide and 8 – 9 m high. It surrounds an area of 30 hectare and has a triangular shape. The theater built in the middle of the 3rd century BCE is located in the southeast corner of the agora. The theater exhibits several unique features including a sculpture display area. It was an immense construction with the ability to accommodate an estimated 7,500 spectators. Interestingly, historians believe that the design of the individual steps would allow for standing room only.
The adjacent stoa, measuring 60 x 11.4 m, remains partially preserved. The basilica located in the site measures an impressive 33 x 22.8 m. Inside are many beautiful examples of mosaics depicting a variety of subjects. To the south of the basilica lies the remains of a school, which dates back to the 3rd century BCE. This area features a series of alcoves and the rectangular footprint of the original building. The cathedral is perhaps the most impressive area within Byllis. It consists of the basilica, the baptistery and the diocese complex. The cathedral underwent several reconstructions, first in 470 CE and again in 547 CE. After each reconstruction, the cathedral increased in size. The basilica of the cathedral exhibits a much more elaborate configuration than the other basilica in Byllis. The threshold leading to the entryway is made with an extensive mosaic. Notably, it is the largest mosaic discovered in Albania to date. It displays diverse motifs and scenes reflecting the daily life of shepherds, anglers and others. The walls of this cathedral had beautiful frescoes at the time, and several depicting geometrical shapes remain.
Gurëzeza is located near the modern town of Cakran, dominating the plain of Vjosa and offering visotors a view which extends to the Karaburun peninsula and the island of Sazan in the bay of Vlora.
The partially preserved walls cover an expansive area of over 15 hectares. Settlements of the site appear divided into three distinct phases: the Protourban, Urban and Late Antiquity periods. Several important coin hoards were found in the vicinity of this site, one with about 2,000 bronze coins from Apollonia and Epirus. 200 silver coins were included in this find, forty of which belonged to the Illyrian king Monunios. Based on this find, some archaeologists and historians speculate that this may have been Monunio’s actual residence. In the town of Ballsh you may also visit the Basilica of Ballsh.
Nikaia (Klos) is an ancient city located southeast of the modern city of Fier, near Byllis. The city features a protective wall that is notable for its length, 1850 meters, dating back to 425 BCE. The use of polygonal and trapezoidal blocks for its construction is typcial. Three defensive towers guarded the single entrance to the city. Among the most important archaeological finds are a small theater, a stoa and the ruins of a stadium. The theater had a capacity of approximately 900 spectators. There are even inscriptions preserved on one of the theater walls granting citizenship to several individuals. They date back to the 3rd century BCE. The stoa (covered walkway) is partially excavated and measures 10 x 40 m. Life in Nikaia came to an abrupt end in 167 BCE when the invading armies of Paulus Aemilus ravaged the region.
The Monastery of Ardenica is a Byzantine structure occupying a surface area of about 2,500 m . This monument consists of the Saint Mary Church, the Saint Triad chapel, the konake, the oil mill, the oven and the stall. In the center is situated the Church of St. Mary, partly built with pumice stones brought from Apollonia. It occupies a large area, covered by a wooden roof and a flat ceiling. The church is composed of a naos, a narthex and a two-story exonarex, which at the one end connects with the 24 meter tall bell tower. At the southern part of the complex is an open portico built with columns and cantilevers. The naos is made of three parts, each of them divided in two lines by wooden columns. An iconostasis divides the naos from the altar. The church floor is paved with stone tiles, as are the narthex and exo-narthex. In 1743 CE, with the initiative of Berat’s bishop, Metod, the monastery, including Saint Mary’s Church, underwent restoration. The Saint Triad chapel lies at the northwest part and its dimensions are 7.5 x 3.7 m. Its entrance is situated to the west, and it has two small windows on its southern facade.
This chapel was built with pumice stones and its semicircular wall divides it from a rainwater collection tank. A stone cantilever covers the chapel’s portal. Near the eastern window is a ceramic basso relief.
The Monastery of Saint Mary in Pojan is located within the complex of the Apollonia Archaeological Park. It was built in the 13th century CE. By the end of antiquity, Apollonia was largely depopulated, hosting a small Christian community that built this monastery on a hill, probably the site of the old city. Byzantine Emperor Andronicus Paleologus the Second reconstructed it. The chapel was built in the Byzantine style. The Monastery of Saint Mary is one of the most beautiful structures of this kind in Albania.
In the region of Myzeqe you may also visit several churches in the villages of Kolkondas, Karavasta, Vanaj, Libofsha, Hoxhare, Krutje and Kadipashaj.

The Tumuli Burials of Kamenica are located in the southern part of Korça, along the national road linking Korça with Erseka. This is one of the most important monuments, representative of Albanian prehistory. Visitingthe site, you will have the chance to be acquainted with prehistoric community life from the 13th – 6th centuries BCE.
The basilica, where the mosaics can be found, is located in the village of Lin, 22 km north of Pogradec. They date back to the 6th century CE and have different motives, including floral and geometrical. They are similar to other mosaics found in Durrës.
The Monumental Tombs of “Selca e Poshtëme” (Lower Selca) are 2,400 years old, located 40 km from the modern city of Pogradec. Selca was a town founded by the Illyrian tribe of Desartes in the 6th century BCE. It is thought that Pelion was the residence of the Illyrian king, Klit, located in Selca. The settlement reached its greatest prominence in the 3rd – 4th centuries BCE, when its protective surrounding walls encircled an area of 3 hectares. Five monumental tombs in Ionic style have been excavated from this archaeological site. Four of the carved tombs are located inside tunnels. Although examples of these types of tombs can be found throughout southern Italy, few are known to exist in the Balkans. It is suspected that vast treasures were buried inside the tombs.
Goliku Bridge is a medieval bridge with a hunch, or hump, upon the main cantilever. It lifts up on two circled vaults divided by a discharger window. Along the causeway the bridge has a length of 37 meters, and the vault’s width is 2.8 meters. The large vault has a light area of 7.4 meters, 9.4 meters from the water, and a width of 90 centimeters.
At the big vault’s end are 20×20 centimeter holes for gripping the crib’s balk. The right vault has an opening of 6.3 meters and a thickness of 75 centimeters. The discharger window has an opening of 1.2 meters wide by 3 meters high. The causeway was made with river stones, with brace girdles every 1.2 meters, and it has a right incline of 16% and a left incline of 11%. The vaults were made with scale stone and the front walls of lime and stuff stones.
The Ristozi Church of Mbroje in Korça is defined and framed by the naos, a porch that lies in the western and southern parts. The church structure is an inscribed crosstype. In the eastern wall, we find the semicircular Abside, with an arched Nike. Two other Nikes, reaching the ground, are in the southern and northern walls. The church has two entrance portals, one in the southern part and the other in the eastern part.
At the junction point of the cross beams, an equiangular tumbler lifts up on a podium. According to the building techniques and its form, studies suggest that the church was likely built during the 14th century CE.
The Churches of Voskopoja are in a small mountain village perched at a height of 1200 meters above sea level, 21 km west of Korça. It was once a very prominent city along the “Egnatia Road,” reaching its height in the middle of the 18th century CE with 24 churches and monasteries. Only seven ofthese twenty four churches remain today.
The Church of Saint Michael (Shën Mëhilli) was painted 1726 in by the Zoografi brothers.
The Church of Saint Athanas (Shën Thanasi), together with the cemetery, are from 1724 CE. The church was built by five masters from Kastoria. The Church of Saint Ilias (Shën Ilia) and the Church of Saint Mary (Shën Mëria) are from 1722 CE.
Vithkuqi is a mountain village in the district of Korça, 26 km southwest of the city. In the 17th century CE, Vithkuqi was an important urban center with 27 churches.
In the region of Korça there are also a number of old churches in the villages of Boboshtica, Shipska (17th century CE), on the island of Maligradi in Lake Prespa, the Eremite Churches on the coast of Lake Prespa and the Church of Saint Nicolas in the village of Vodica (1799 CE) in the region of Kolonja.
The site is well known for the churches of Saint Michael (Shën Mëhillit) (18th century CE) together with the cemetery, Saint Peter’s Church (Shën Pjetri) and Saint Paul’s Church (Shën Pavlli). The famous Zoografi brothers painted the frescoes of the churches of Saint Michael and Saint Peter.
In the city of Korça there are also several museums. You may pay a visit to the Prehistoric Museum, the Museum of Education, the Museum of Medieval Arts, the Museum House of Vangjush Mio (a notable painter) and the Museum of Oriental Art Collection, Bratko. In the city of Korça you may also visit the Mosque of Ilias Bey Mirahori, the oldest monument in the city.

The Castle of Elbasan is a field castle in the city of Elbasan. Cristobel, the second Mehmet historian, refered to it first. The Ottoman chronicler, Evlia Çelebiu, visited the city in the 18th century CE and described the castle in detail. During the Austrian invasion, the castle became subject to extensive study. Austrian archaeologist Prashniker and Shcober, who visited the castle during the First World War, noticed that there are ancient fortifications under the medieval walls. The castle has a quadrangular shape with 308 x 48 m dimensions. Today there are only eight towers remaining from the original twenty-six at the begining of its construction. During the late antiquity period, Skampini, the city within the castle, started as a center on the “Egnatia Road,” connecting Rome to Constantinople. Turks reconstructed the castle for strategic purposes. The castle is still inhabited today, and important Muslim and Christian religious objects can be found within.

The Monastery of Saint John Vladimir (Shën Gjon Vladimiri) in Shijon is located only 4 km away from Elbasan. It was built in 1381 CE by the Albanian prince, Karl Topia, who brought the remains of Saint John Vladimir. Saint John Vladimir was the Duke of Krajina (Montenegro). He was declared a Saint and is well know in the Balkan Peninsula. A large pilgrimage was organized in his honor at this monastery until 1967 CE, when the communist regime forcibly closed religious institutions all over the country. Nowadays this pilgrimage is organized every 3-4 June. The monastery, with its rich library, was a very important cultural center for Albanians. Unfortunately, Nazi Forces burned a part of the monastery during the Second World War. The monumental gate of the monastery, carved from stone, is currently being preserved at the National Historic Museum in Tirana.

The Roman Road Station of Ad Quintium is located in Bradashesh village, in the vicinity of the modern city of Elbasan. Based on the construction techniques used, the site has been dated back to the 2nd – 4th centuries CE. Excavations are ongoing.

In Elbasan you may also visit the Ethnographic Museum of Elbasan, the Peqini Castle (15th century CE), the Church of Good Friday (Shën e Premtes) in Valësh and the Church of Saint Nicolas (18th century CE) in Grabova, district of Gramsh.

The Church of Saint Nicolas in Shelcan (Kisha e Shën Nikollës) is located in the village of Shelcan in the distict of Shpati, southeast of Elbasan. Inside the church there are valuable frescoes painted by Onufri, a famous Albanian painter from the 16th century CE.

Tirana, the heart and capital of Albania, like all other European metropolises has a never-ending movement and energy. With its clubs, pubs, cafes, and taverns, Tirana is worth to discover, both day and night. The value and hospitality shown towards tourists is something that will mark your journey not only in Tirana but also all over the country.

There are different thoughts regarding the origin of the name of the city. Some think that it relates to Tyrrenia (a name of Etruscan origins), while other believe that it relates to the word Theranda (harvest), or to the Tirkan (a castle at the foot of Mount Dajti).

Your own journey might begin by visiting the museums and the key spots such as Sheshi Skënderbej, where you will be able to see the Mosque of Et’hem Bey (built between 1798 and 1812) and the 35 m high Kulla e Sahatit (the Watch Tower), built in 1822 with a San Marco style cupola. Moreover, you can visit the famous Mosaic uncovered on the floor of an old Roman lodge. Its center configures the walls of the castle of the Roman emperor Justinian (A.D. 520). The monumental Tomb of Kapllan Pasha and the Ura e Tabakëve (a bridge constructed in the beginning of the 19th century, located on Bulevardi Zhan D’Ark) are other interesting place to visit.

As a capital, Tirana has the country’s finest museums, theatres, and galleries representing the national arts. A visit to the National History Museum, the Archeological Museum, the private “Mezuraj Museum,” and the National Gallery of the Arts will leave wonderful memories. You can also pass a pleasant evening in the National Theatre or the Opera and Ballet Theatre. For dining, Tirana will be glad to offer you both a rich traditional cuisine and a variety of foreign fares, from Italian to Chinese, . There are also several clubs and restaurants in Mount Dajti to discover and enjoy. There is the possibility to travel there by cable car, which is a very special experience. In the region of Tirana you may also visit the castles of Petrela and Preza, as well as some natural attractions, such as Pëllumbasi Cave, Shkalla e Tujanit, and much more.

The Përsqop Fortress is located south of Tirana, near Petrela Castle. The inhabitants of Petrela Castle once used this fortress perched atop the Vila Mountain.

The Illyrians constructed the basic structure and then eventually the Romans expanded it. Remnants of an aqueduct are still visible to the northeast of the fortification.

The Tirana Mosaic can be found on “Naim Frashëri” street. It is the oldest object found in Tirana, and the archaeologists think that it was part of the floor of a Roman villa from the 3rd century CE. The place was later used as a site for the construction of an early-Christian church. It is also known by the name “The Mosaic of the Church of Saint George’s Spring.”

The Tunners Bridge (Ura e Tabakeve) is a small stone bridge, 7.5 meters high, located on “Jeanne d’Arc” Boulevard in Tirana. It was also called “Saint George’s Bridge.” Today it is a restored monument, originally built in The National Gallery of Fine Arts the first half of 19th century CE.

In Tirana, you will have the opportunity to visit the largest and the most important museums in Albania: the National Historic Museum and the Archaeological Museum, the Mosque of Ethem Bey and the newly excavated walls of the Justinian Castle. In the region of Kavaja you may also visit the Ethnographic Museum of Kavaja and the Church of Çeta near the village of Zig Xhafaj.

Kapllan Pasha’s Tomb is located on “28 Nëntori” street in Tirana. It is part of a monumental cemetery complex of the first Tirana Mosque, which was destroyed during the Second World War. The complex included six other monumental graves of the same type, but with varying dimensions. The only tomb remaining today is that of Kapllan Pasha, a former ruler of Tirana. The tomb has an octagonal shape reaching 4 meters in height. Kapllan Pasha’s remains were later exhumed and reburied in Istanbul.

Preza Castle overlooks the village with the the same name and is located on a hilltop. It is a small castle, the construction of which was started in the 14th century CE and was completed in the early 15th century CE. It belonged to the Topias, a local feudal family. It has four towers, one in each corner. The clock tower was erected between 1800-1850 CE. People appreciate it for its location, with a view overlooking the plain of Tirana. The castle is quite close to the “Mother Theresa” International Airport. A restaurant and other service facilities are located inside the castle.

Bashtova Castle is situated close to the village of Bashtova, about 3-4 km north of the Shkumbini River estuary. The castle was built in the 15th century CE and was used by the Venetians. In the past, the Bashtova region was known as a harbor on the Shkumbini River and as a center for the export of cereal grains. The castle has a rectangular shape, 60 x 90 meters, with 9 meter high walls. The western part of the castle was rebuilt in the 18th century CE.

The earliest historical reference to the city of Durrës is from 627 BCE. The modern city is built on the top of the ruins of the ancient Epidamnos, or Dyrrachion, which became known as Dyrrachium in the Roman period. According to Thucydides, Corcyreans and Corinthians named the city Epidamnos after colonizing it. The founder was Phalius, from Corinth and a descendant of Heracles. The earliest coins of Epidamnos, dating back from the first half of the 5th century BCE, were marked with symbols of Corinthian origin. Another account, by the historian Apian, indicates that a non-Greek king named Epidamnos lived in the area before the Greeks arrived. He built the first city and named it after himself. Dyrrhachos was his grandson and the city was later named after him.
Epidamnos was involved in the Peloponnesian War, and following the war the name was changed to Dyrrachium. The war led to many political and architectural changes in the city. Trade with the Illyrians flourished during the ensuing years. Many Illyrian tombs were discovered in the city cemeteries, indicating that this period was characterized by significant cultural exchange and that people were traveling freely between the regions.
Dyrrachium was the battlefield between the legions of Caesar and Pompey during the Civil War of 49 – 48 BCE. The city sustained damages as a result. In the year 30 BCE, Dyrrachium became a Roman colony and was named Colonia Iulia Augusta Dyrrachinorum.

Most of the excavations began in the 1960s, and most of them are ongoing, allowing observers a rare opportunity to view an archaeological excavation in progress. One of the most interesting finds in the city is the “Bukuroshja e Durrësit” (Pretty Women of Durrës) mosaic, housed in the National Historic Museum in Tirana. The mosaic dates back to the 4th century BCE, surviving as a wonderful artifact from this period. In the 9th century CE, the city entered into a turbulent period.  
During the 2nd century CE, the city’s status as a major trade center was further enhanced by the construction of the “Via Egnatia”, a roadway linking the Adriatic with Thessalonica and then on to Constantinople. The largest of all public buildings constructed in Dyrrachium during the 1st and 2nd centuries CE is the amphitheater, with an estimated capacity of 15,000 – 20,000 people, situated near the center of the modern city. Other important archaeological finds are the public baths dating back from the 2nd century CE, the remains of a 15 km long aqueduct built during the reign of Hadrian, the Byzantine era walls and the round forum-macellum built in the 5th – 6th centuries CE. Normans attacked the city in 1071 CE, and then in 1081 CE subsequent attacks by the Venetians, and later the Ottomans, threatened the city’s very existence. In the city of Durrës you may also visit the Archaeological and Ethnographic Museums.

Early Christian Basilica of Shën Mëhill (Saint Michael) in Arapaj: The ruins of the St. Michael Basilica (Bazilika e Shën Mëhillit) were discovered during an archaeological expedition in 1974 CE, which took place 6 kmaway from the modern city of Durrës. The church is notable for its architectural style, which features three naves, an atrium on the west side and an impressive mosaic covering a surface area of 54 m². The mosaic is almost intact and survives in a surprisingly good condition. Not far from the area, some sculptural objects dating back to the 5th – 6th centuries CE were also discovered. Many unearthed coins found around the area indicate that the settlement was in use from the 5th – 14th centuries CE. In 1081 CE, the Byzantine soldiers fleeing from the Norman invasion sought refuge in the church, and it was thus later burned to the ground by the invaders.
The Bazaar of Kruja has been protected since 1961 CE, preserving the rich characteristics of traditional Albanian markets of the 18th – 19th centuries CE. The market of Kruja covers a wide area, stretching from the center of the city to the western gate of the castle. The cobblestone street is lined with a variety of small shops displaying a range of products for sale, as well as artisans working in their studios. The roofs are made of wood, covered with tiling to protect both the shoppers and the products on display. Nowadays the original wooden facades of the market of Kruja are very well preserved. The market is famous for its diversity and for the eldest forms of merchandising, playing a special role in Albanian culture and tradition.
The Ethnographic Museum of Kruja is one of the most visited museums in the country. It is housed inside the walls of Kruja Castle and is known as one of the most organized museums of Albania. It opened in 1989 in a traditional house of the noble Toptani family, originally built in 1794. The construction is classified as a “first class building.” It is a large, two story house with 15 rooms, a garden and a water well. 90 percent of the objects displayed in this museum are original, some of them over 500 years old. Here the visitor will have the opportunity to see the guest room, the living room (with a separate section for women), the children’s room, the Turkish bath, the kitchen with its equipment, olive oil processing tools, the smithy and more. Various clothes are also on display, including Catholic and Muslim costumes. Pottery, wood works and silk, cotton and wool clothes are also on show. The Skanderbeg Museum of Kruja, housed inside the castle walls, is also worth a visit. It is dedicated to Skanderbeg, Albania’s national hero. In the cape of Rodon you can also visit the Church of Saint Anthony and the ruins of a castle.
The ancient town of Albanopolis is located in the vicinity of the modern town of Kruja. It was thought that the Illyrian castle of Zgërdhesh might actually be the site of the ancient city, Albanopolis, capital of the Albans, from whom the present day country is named. The city was built on a hill and covers an area of approximately 10 hectares. The protective walls, now measuring 90 m and still relatively intact, once stretched 1,400 meters. The large acropolis dominates approximately one third of the area that was once enclosed within the walls. Among the items unearthed at the site is a small marble statue of Artemis which is particularly beautiful. The ancient city flourished for three or four centuries but then was eventually abandoned around the second century CE.