Berat

This 2416 years old city, one of the olsdiest cities in Albaia, is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It is located at a distance of 120 km from the capital city, Tirana. Berat offers a wealth of heritage properties and a variety of religious buildings of the Byzantine, Post-Byzantine and Ottoman period. Since 1961 this city has received the status
of “museum city”. Berat is at the same time famous for its mild climate, its culinary and its wine.
The city’s life began in the VI-V century B.C. as an Illyrian settlement. Later on, in the III century BC, it was turned into a castle city known as Antipatrea.
In 1336 it was mentioned by name “Antipatrea“.The castle expanded afterwards, particularly during the feudal dominion of the Muzakaj family. Several churches with precious frescoes and icons as well as a calligraphy school were built within the fortress. Uniquely today, residents still live inside of the castle walls. The three major neighborhoods of the old city are Mangalemi, Gorica, and Kala, where the castle itself is located. What draws the visitor’s attention is the famous view of white facades of the houses as well as the numerous windows that are placed one above the other. For this reason, Berat is also known as “the City of the Floating Windows”. The arched bridge of Gorica, built in 1780, is a beautiful architectural monument constructed to link Gorica with Mangelemi.
Berat is famous for religious monuments where a complex of Byzantine and post-Byzantine monuments prevail. To be mentioned are St. Michael’s Church (XIII century) and St. Mary of Blachernae Church -, (reconstructed in the XIII-XIV century), Church of St. Trinity (XIV century) and St. Theodore’s Church (XVI). While in the Cathedral of Saint Mary, built in 1797, is located the museum of icons of Onufri (the prominent icon
painter of the XVI century) and his son, Nikolla. In the museum’s premises, an iconostasis with wood carvings is immediately noticeable, which dates back to 1806. There are over 100 icons on display, including not only works by Onufri and his son Nikolla bu also works of other artists such as Joan Cetiri, Konstandin Shpataraku, Onufer Qiprioti, David Selenicasi and many anonymous painters. Besides icons, old objects of religious services are also displayed in this museum.
Another interesting object to visit is the ethnographic museum, which is located in an XVIII century building. This is a typical and interesting two storey building, the first floor being built with stone, while the second is made of wood.
In 1417 Berat was captured by the Ottomans. After this event, Islamic cult objects were also honored in the city, which today attract visitors. Here we can mention the King Mosque, the Mosque of Singles, the Lead Mosque, the ruins of the Red Mosque in the fortress, the ruins of the White Mosque, the Halveti Teqe (XV century) etc. Apart from its architectural and museum values, the city of Berat is a good place to organize trips to the canyons of Osumi (ideal place for water sports such as rafting), for climbing to the Tomorri National Park. For those who love archeology, we recommend visiting the ruins of the ancient city of Dimal, located in Krotine, in the area of Shpiragu. This ancient city was first discovered by the Austrian archeologist Prashniker in 1920. Here are revealed two seals that are named “Dimal”. This city has played a role in the events of South Illyria in the late III – II centuries BC during the Greek –
Roman and Macedonian – Roman wars. The ancient historians Livy and Polybius mention it as a city of political importance. Dimal is also known as the city where the last battle between Illyrian Demeter regiment, lighthouse and Roman corps in 219 BC took place.
Berat is famous for its culinary and wine production, where wine tasting tours are organized by wineries producing wine in this region. (Cobo and Luani wineries). Among the traditional dishes it is worth tasting “përshesh me gjel deti” (Turkey), “çorba e Tomorrit” (Tomorri’s pottage), etc.

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