Slovak

Berat (alb. Berati) - 2400 year old town located in southcentral Albania is known as "the town of a thousand windows, also the Museum City". It is one of the oldest and most beautiful towns of Albania, with a settlement having existed there since at least the 6th century BC, when it was a fortress-settlement of the Greek Dassaretae tribe on the old border between Illyria and Epirus. The old town was inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage List in July 2008.

Berat lies on the right bank of the river Osum, a short distance from the point where it is joined by the Molisht river. The Osumi river has cut a 915-metre deep gorge through the limestone rock on the west side of the valley to form a precipitous natural fortress, around which the town was built on several river terraces. It is remarkable Ottoman town, with a wealth of beautiful buildings of the highest architectural and historical interest.

According to legend, the Tomorr mountain was originally a giant, who fought with another giant, called Shpirag over a young woman. They killed each other and the girl drowned in her tears, which then became the Osum river.

Berat surroundings (view from Berat Fortress)

Berat bears witness to the coexistence of various religious and cultural communities down the centuries. A town of 44,000 inhabitants (2008 est.), it features a castle, locally known as the Kalaja, most of which was built in the 13th century, although its origins date back to the 4th century BC. The citadel area numbers many Byzantine churches, mainly from the 13th century, several of which contain valuable wall paintings and icons. The earliest settlement lay on the citadel, from which the town spread downwards only later towards the river. It took on its present form only during the 18th and 19th centuries.

The town also numbers several mosques built under the Ottoman era which started in 1417. Furthermore its characteristic houses, the ethnographic museum, and the "Onufri Museum" with beautiful frescoes from this famous Albanian painter of the 16th century.

 

What to see

Houses - the enclosed residential quarters of Kala, Mangalem and Gorica are all composed of typical town houses of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Kalaja Beratit Kalaja Beratit


The citadel (Kalaja Beratit) - most of it was built in the 13th century, although its origins date back to the 4th century BC. The citadel area numbers many Byzantine churches, mainly from the 13th century, several of which contain valuable wall paintings and icons. In the Hellenistic period the town was equipped with a triangular fortification built of huge and meticulously cut ashlar masonry. The medieval walls were built directly on top of this in the 13th/14th centuries, extending to 1,400 m in circumference, with 24 towers and four entrances.

The Onufri Museum - the museum bears the name of the renowned fresco- and icon-painter Onufri (16th century), who has left a rich inheritance. The museum is composed of three rooms, in which numerous icons and a number of textiles and metal objects testify to the highly developed craft skills of the region.

The National Ethnographic Museum: In the exhibition rooms and in the courtyard of the house are original ethnographic objects from Berat and southern Albania.

The Church of Saint Triadha (Trinity) inside of Kalaja Beratit The Church of Saint Triadha (Trinity) inside of Kalaja Beratit

The Gallery "Eduard Lear"

The Church of Saint Mehilli (Michael)

The Cathedral of Saint Mary

The Church of Saint Triadha (Trinity)

The Church of Saint Vllaherna

The King Mosque

The Bridge of Gorica, over river Osum

 

 

 

Berat Surroundings

Frescoes

The Monastery of Ardenica - foundations of this monastery were built in 1282 on the initiative of the Byzantine Emperor Andronicus II Paleologus of Byzantium. The incentive must have come from the existence of the chapel of St. Triadha in the area, which was built centuries before. The frescoes dating from 1744 and mural works by the renowned painters Kostandin and Athanas Zografi from Kor are found intact inside the church.

Apollonia - important archeological site. The famous Roman orator Cicero, astonished by the beauty of Apollonia named it in his Philippics, magna urbs et gravis - a great and important city. Established in the 6th century B.C., by Greek settlers from Corinth and Corcyra, the ancient city is located 11 km to the west of the modern city of Fier.

Bylis - Byllis has been the largest city in Southern Illyria, but despite this fact, has been mentioned relatively late by historians and ancient geographers. Its walls have a length of 2250m and over an area of 30ha. In 49-48 B.C. the city surrenders to the forces of Caesar and served as a base for his large army.

Dimalion - About 30 km to the west of Berat at the fortress of Krotina have been found traces of the ancient town of Dimalion.On the hill of Krotina (alt. 444 m), traces have been excavated of an ancient town of 18 ha, including houses, streets, squares and a stoa. In the 1st century AD the town lost its importance and became merely a Roman military base.

 

Berat Area in Photos

Kalaja Beratit - 44 pictures from Berat Fortress, 01/2008

 

More Information

Map of Berat Area (pdf, 44kB)

Map of Berat City (in Albanian, jpg, 256kB)

Actualized: 01/2009
Map of Albanian Sights Map of Albanian Sights Link to website of National Tourist Organisation of Albania