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Destinations Europe Albania Gjirokaster Holidays & Tours

Gjirokaster Holidays & Tours

An ancient stone-built town climbing the slopes of the Drino Valley in Southern Albania, Gjirokastra was a Byzantine fortress named Argyrokasto (Silver Castle) before it was captured by the Ottoman Empire in 1419. It subsequently evolved into a fabled and wealthy Ottoman merchant town, and in the early 20th century, became a world centre for Bektashism – a Sufi mystical sect.

Today, Gjirokastra, ‘the city of a thousand steps’, boasts 500 historic buildings, a fortress, and cobble-stone streets filled with solid and highly distinctive Ottoman houses constructed with locally quarried limestone – many of them are the former homes of wealthy merchants and landowners. The town’s ethnographic museum – featuring objects and exhibitions related to the region’s social and cultural life, including folk costumes, implements and antiques – is built on the site of communist dictator Enver Hoxha’s birth, and is the place to learn about Ottoman society.

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