Gjirokaster, Travel Guide
Gjirokaster is a town located in southern Albania, only about an hour away from Sarande. Gjirokaster is one of the two UNESCO World Heritage cities in Albania; the other one is Berat. This town became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005 for its well-preserved center built by farmers during the Ottoman Empire.
Nowadays, Gjirokaser is most famous for its castle. However, two other famous Albanians were from “The City of Stone” as well. The first is Ismail Kadare, who is a famous Albanian writer. The second is Enver Hoxha, who was Albania’s former dictator. Although, he is not memorialized in any way in Gjirokaster today.
“Gjirokaster Travel Guide”
The Old Town of Gjirokaster will give you the impression as if you’ve stepped into a fairytale. Most of the houses are made of old natural stones (the reason why the city has earned the nickname “City of Stone”) and have been preserved to their old state. This is one of the reasons why Gjirokaster is one of the most well-preserved Ottoman-era towns that exist.
The center of the Old Town is “Qafa e Pazarit”, where all the streets that lead to the old town meet. The majority of the ground floor houses have been converted into charming cafes, restaurants, and souvenir shops. The scenery might sound cliche but in reality, the shop owners have done a fantastic job respecting the distinctive architecture of the town and ensuring that the experience of the visitors does not get spoiled by modern architecture. Be sure to check a cute little store located right under Peco Tour Agency, on-street “Rruga Peco Kirka”. The owner is creating unique rock and wood carvings. He can even have your portrait carved on a stone or a wooden plate! How cool is that?