Vlorë

Vlorë

 

 

Transportation

Hotels, motels and where to sleep

Restaurant, taverns and where to eat

 

Description of Vlorë

Vlorë or Vlora is situated on the Albanian coast of the beautiful Adriatic sea. The city officially was found in the 6th century BC by the Greek colonists. Geographically, it has a coastline on the northern shore of the Mediterranean, the Adriatic and Ionian seas, which forms the bay of Vlorë. Officially, the city would have been built in the 6th century before the birth of Christ by immigrants from Greece who founded their colony here. However, the first human settlement existed here for 26 centuries almost non-stop. The city played an important role in the history of the country. Today it is the second largest city in Albania and for some time Vlorë was the capital. It was here that Albania proclaimed its independence from the Turkish Ottoman Empire on November 28, 1912.

Vlorë was established in antiquity as a Greek colony in Illyria. His name was Aulon (Greek Αυλών), which means "channel" and, perhaps, is a translation of another local name. The medieval and modern Greek name is Avlonas (Αυλώνας) and is the source of the Latin Aulona, ​​the Italian name Valona (also used in other languages). At the time of the Ottoman Empire, the city of Vlorë was known in Turkish as Avlonya.

 

The Muradiye Mosque

Мечеть Мурадие (Влёра)

The Muradie Mosque (Albanian Xhamia e Muradies) is an architectural cultural monument from the Ottoman past in the Albanian port city of Vlora. The mosque was completed in 1542 and is one of the oldest buildings in the city. In 1948 it was declared part of the cultural heritage of Albania. The mosque stands in the center of Vlora in a central square and is surrounded by streets on all four sides. It is located to the west of Sadik Zotaj Street, which is also the SH8 national road, south of Lef Sallata Street and east of Atë Kristo Negovani Street. The main entrance is on the north facade, where the vestibule or portico was.

The Muradie Mosque is the best preserved testimony to the Ottoman history of Vlora. Its builder was probably the most important Ottoman architect Sinan, who had the building built in 1537 on behalf of the then Sultan Suleyman I. The Sultan was on the occasion of a ship expedition against enemy Italy in Vlora. In 1542 the construction work was finished.

Enver Hoxha, the former dictator of Albania, declared the country to be the "first atheist state in the world" in 1967. Churches and mosques have been closed, destroyed or repurposed across Albania. The Muradie Mosque escaped destruction and was converted into the city and regional museum of architecture.

The structure consists of the main building and the minaret. The former has an almost square floor plan measuring 10 by 11 meters. Above the approximately 8-meter-high wall is the twelve-sided drum and on top of it the dome, which is covered with dark red bricks. With the exception of the northern one, all walls are equipped with three pointed arches. The wall and the lower half of the drum are made of alternating stone and brick, which gives the mosque its characteristic striped pattern.

At the north-western corner of the building is the approximately 18-meter-high minaret, which is equipped with a balcony for the muezzin and a conical roof made of lead. The whole building was made with stone. There used to be a portico attached to the north wall, where the main entrance is, of which only a few traces of the foundation have been preserved.

 

The National Museum of Independence

Музей Независимости (Влёра)

Address: L. Pavaresiya, st. Garden Zotay, Vlora
Telephone: 355 33 29419
Open: 8-12 and 16-18 Tuesday-Sunday

 

The National Museum of Independence (Albanian Muzeu Kombëtar i Pavarësisë) is a historical, archaeological and cultural history museum in the port city of Vlora in southern Albania. The museum is dedicated to the independence of Albania, which was proclaimed on November 28, 1912. It is a national symbol of the country and of all Albanians and is home to a large historical and cultural history collection.

The building in which the museum is housed was built in the early 20th century. It is north-east of the port of Vlora, bordering on this near the Adriatic Sea - at that time still far outside the city, which had its center a few kilometers inland. The international maritime health supervision had its seat in this "simple but very nice villa of the quarantine" (Ekrem Bey Vlora).

In 1913, it served as the government building for six months after Ismail Qemali (1844–1919), Albania's first prime minister, returned from Western Europe and moved there. On November 28, 1913, the celebrations for the first anniversary of independence were held here.

In 1936, King Ahmet Zogu converted the building into a National History Museum. In particular finds from archaeological excavations in Apollonia were exhibited. It stayed that way until the start of World War II when it was destroyed in 1939. The building remained empty for a long time in the post-war period, until the National Museum of Independence was officially opened in 1962 on the 50th anniversary of independence.

The museum has a large and important collection of historical artifacts. Original documents, photographs and objects, as well as many other relics from the early 20th century, are housed in the National Museum of Independence.

The building has two halls and two rooms. Ismail Qemali's office and the Conference Room of the Provisional Government have been recreated in the original rooms. The original declaration of independence is in the office.

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of independence in 2012, the administration will move out of the building in order to be able to use the full interior space for the museum. The administration will move to nearby premises. In front of the building is a garden with busts of the first Prime Ministers of Albania.

 

Historical Museum

The Historical Museum in Vlore is located in the very center, in the former building of local government bodies and public organizations. This museum was established in 1962.

Hundreds of original objects are exhibited and preserved here, which illustrate various historical periods, from ancient times to the present day. In this museum, visitors can see archaeological sites from ancient cities in the Vlore region - Orikum, Amantias, Ploce, Olympia, Canina. The halls also contain historical artifacts from the medieval period. Among them - the original documents of the city of Vlora, weapons and personal items of famous historical figures.

The Historical Museum has a special department that reflects the contribution of the population of the Vlore region in the struggle for independence. There are two separate pavilions that tell the story of the war in the region in 1920 and the democratic movement in June 1924.

The museum building is located in the place where the coffin with the body of the patriot of the country Avni Rustem was found. The burial was found by accident in the mid-80s of the last century, during the reconstruction of Vlore-Skele boulevard. The body was later reburied nearby, and the original hermetically sealed lead and glass coffin covered with the national flag was moved to the Historical Museum.

 

Ethnographic museum

The Ethnographic Museum is located in the center of Vlore, in a 19th century mansion. Here you can see exhibits made of metal, wood, stone, objects of decorative and applied art, garments, and embroidery.

 

Bektaschi-Tekke on the Kuz Baba hill
The Orthodox monastery of Zvërnec is located on a small island in the lagoon of Narta.
Excursion destinations in the immediate vicinity are five kilometers away on a hill and on the ancient path from Aulon to Amantia with remains of walls from Illyrian (4th century BC), Justinian (6th century AD), Byzantine (11th century) and Ottoman times (16th century); after that the importance of the place declined by the construction of the fortress in Vlora.
The ancient Oricum, near which the port of Pashaliman was built in Ottoman times.

 

Theatre
The first traces of a theater in the area can be found in the ancient city of Oricum, which lies south on the Bay of Vlora.

In November 1962 the first theater was opened in Vlora on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Albania's independence in 1912. It is named in honor of Petro Marko, a major Albanian author.

Education
The University of Vlora, named after Ismail Qemali, was founded in 1994. As a result, the range of subjects has been steadily expanded.

The Greek Conservatory has had a branch in the city since 2008.

 

Further apart

Kanin Fortress

Крепость Канин (Влёра)

Kanin Fortress or Kanin Castle is located outside the city of Vlora, 6 km to the South-East. He occupies a strategic position on Mount Shushitsa and reaches a height of 380 meters above sea level. The first human settlements here are dated by the Neolithic. The first military structure was built in the 4th century BC. Gradually the village grew and in the 6th century the Byzantine emperor Justinian I the Great built it here. This castle became an important starting point for the beginning of the seizure of the Apenninsky Peninsula and its liberation from the barbarian tribes. In the Middle Ages, the Kanin fortress was rebuilt and for some time served as the residence of Georgy Arianity, Prince Kanin. However, after the invasion of the Turks, the castle was destroyed, and its inhabitants were taken away by the local residents for their buildings. No large archaeological excavations were carried out here, so people still find coins and household items of those times.

 

History of Vlorë

Antiquity
Thanks to its strategic position at the entrance to the Adriatic Sea, the Bay of Vlora, which forms a natural harbor, was a trading center sought after by many peoples. For the development of the city in antiquity, this sequence now results: a change of location from Treport to Vlora around the 1st century BC and an immigration in the 6th century AD

First there was a settlement seven kilometers northwest near the tip of the Treport peninsula. At the beginning of the 20th century, excavations were carried out here, but it was only since the excavations by Vasil Bereti around 1990 that various phases of settlement from the 7th century BC can be identified. Until the 2nd century BC Prove. Remnants of a 600-meter-long fortification wall running parallel to the coast were exposed. The city, whose name Daulia is assumed, experienced its heyday between the 4th and 2nd centuries BC. At the same time, Byllis, which was developed into the capital of an Illyr tribe who settled inland a few kilometers away, had its next port in Daulia. The place was in the 1st century BC. Abandoned BC.

Roman sources from the 2nd century AD mention a stopover on the trade route along the coast between Dyrrhachium and Buthrotum. Since parts of a city fortification from the 4th century AD were excavated near the Muradie Mosque in the old town in 1988, this Roman aulon is believed to have been at the site of the present-day city. In the 5th century, Aulon became the seat of a bishop within these fortress walls. The walls were reinforced under Emperor Justinian (527-565). An immigration took place from Apollonia, which was abandoned in the 6th century.

Contested city in the Middle Ages
At the end of the 6th century, Slavs ravaged the city and many residents fled to the island of Sazan. In 1081 Normans plundered the city from Apulia in the fight against the Byzantines. From Vlora they marched over the Via Egnatia to Constantinople. In 1204 Valona came to the despotate of Epirus and in 1258 the Hohenstaufen king of Sicily invaded Epirus and occupied Corfu and some coastal towns of Dyrrachium, Valona, ​​Kanina, Buthroton. Michael II. Komnenos Dukas Angelos, despot of Epirus, managed to persuade Manfred to form an alliance by giving him one of his daughters, Helena, as a wife and giving as dowry what Manfred had already conquered. The Staufer rule in Albania was to be short-lived. After Manfred's death on February 26, 1266 in the battle of Benevento and the imprisonment of his wife Helena by Charles of Anjou, the latter claimed the inheritance of Manfred (Corfu and the coastal towns of Dyrrachium, Valona, ​​Kanina, Buthroton).

In agreement with Pope Clement IV, Karl von Anjou concluded in the Pope's residence in Viterbo on May 24, 1267 and on May 27 with Wilhelm II of Villehardouin, the prince of Achaia (Morea) and with the Latin emperor who had been expelled from Constantinople Baldwin II of Courtenay signed an alliance of friendship and an agreement, the Viterbo Agreement, in which Charles received Helena's dowry, the lands between Corfu and Dyrrachium, which he saw as a legitimate legal claim.

From February 21, 1272 Valona belonged to the Regnum Albaniae founded by Charles of Anjou. Castellan was Giacomo Baliniano "[...] Iacobi de Baliniano castellani castri nostri Canine et Avallone [...]"

In 1343 Valona was conquered by Serbs and in 1417 it was the first Adriatic port to be plundered by the Ottomans. Subsequently, Valona was recaptured by the noble Albanian family Arianiti and in 1478, ten years after the death of the national hero Skanderbeg, Ottoman troops conquered the city a second time.

Ottoman period
This is probably the reason why Sephardic Jews fled Spain from 1492 to Vlora and formed a larger community in the city. In 1520, 701 native and 531 Jewish families were counted under Turkish rule.

In 1537, under Suleyman I, the city was secured by fortification walls in the shape of an octagon with an edge length of 90 meters, partly with building material from ancient Daulia. Inside there was also a mighty round tower; by 1906 all fortifications were torn down and the material used to build the main road to the port.

 

The city was now called Avlonya by the Turks. The French nobleman Jean Carlier de Pinon describes in his work Mon voyaige en Levant, faict l'an 1579 (My journey to the Levant, made in 1579) the city of Vallona (Vlora), which is inhabited by Muslim, Christian and Jewish families . According to him, Vlora had five mosques with white minarets at that time. The port was used by many pirates from the area. In 1638 a Tunisian-Algerian corsair fleet invaded the Adriatic and withdrew to the Ottoman port of Vlora. A Venetian fleet bombarded the city, hijacked the pirate fleet and freed 3,600 prisoners.

Evliya Çelebi described Vlora and the surrounding area in detail in November 1670. Within the fortified city walls there were around 300 mud houses and a market square. Outside the city fortress, around 1,000 other stone houses - some of them multi-storey - were spread over a green level. Numerous different fruits and plants were grown there on a large scale.

In September 1690 Vlora went to the Republic of Venice and in 1691 again to the Ottomans. Under Ottoman rule, Vlora - now Avlona in Turkish - developed into the most important port city in the area of ​​Albania and benefited above all from trade with Ragusa.

In 1810 Tepedelenli Ali Pascha was able to annex the city to his rule for a short time until the Ottoman Sultan recaptured Vlora in 1822 when Ali Pasha was murdered.

Political center and military base in the 20th century
The recent history of the city has repeatedly been of great importance for all of Albania. During the Balkan Wars, the city was attacked by the Greek fleet on December 3, 1912. But after Austria-Hungary and Italy asked Greece not to interfere in the strategically important Vlora, she was excluded from the war. In Vlora, Ismail Qemali proclaimed the independence of Albania on November 28, 1912. Until the beginning of 1914, Vlorë was the seat of the country's first provisional government. In December of the same year, Italian troops occupied the port city. With the help of this base, Italy controlled the southern exit of the Adriatic. In 1920 the Italian troops were forced to withdraw by an uprising by the Albanians.

From 1939 to 1943 the city was again occupied by Italy, the submarine port on the offshore island of Sazan was the reason for the Allied bombs during the Second World War on the port and city. After the war, hardly any buildings from the Ottoman era were preserved. From 1956 until Albania's political break with Moscow in 1961, the Soviet Union maintained a naval base in Pashaliman at the southwest end of the bay. In the 1950s, it was the only Soviet military base in the Mediterranean.

Fighting Crime in the 1990s
More recently, the attention of the whole world has been on Vlora, when in January / February 1997 the unrest that led to the overthrow of the government and anarchic conditions spread from here to all of Albania.

In the 1990s, Vlorë became a center of smuggling across the Adriatic. The Strait of Otranto is only a little over 70 kilometers wide. With speedboats, smugglers can reach mainland Italy in a few hours. The mafia thus transported drugs and, in some cases, weapons, but in particular people (refugees from Albania and Asia and women for prostitution) to Western Europe. There were repeated accidents in which several refugees drowned. The Albanian authorities are currently fighting organized crime with the support of Italians, Germans and Americans.

Tourist center
From the 2000s the political situation in the city improved enormously and numerous hotels, restaurants, bars and discos emerged. In addition, beaches were created and roads expanded. It is believed that most of the money for the tourism sector came from drug, gun and human trafficking in the 1990s. Many buildings were erected without building permits, so they were demolished by a municipal action in the late 2000s.

Today Vlora is the tourist center of southern Albania, next to Saranda. Summer tourism in particular has become an important industry in the coastal city. But other sectors, especially in the energy supply sector, now offer more jobs.

 


Transportation

Get in
By bus
Bus stop (Drop off point) (In the city "centre" near the Muradie Mosque, or a couple of blocks west.).
As of September 2014, mini-buses left from Saranda to Vlore at the following time: 05:30, 11:30, 16:30, 18:00.

Bus from Tirana - the journey can be very slow! - furgons from Saranda or Fier), can be faster than bus.

Daily two buses from Athens (over night bus and day long bus, both €30).

Buses to Ohrid, North Macedonia depart at 14:00.

By boat
Vlore Port. From Brindisi with two overnight ferries, arriving in Vlore early in the morning

By train
Vlora train station. A train arriving after 12:00 on the once a day service from Rrogozhinë which connects off again a daily train from Tiranë to Librazhd. The same loco formed the 05:00 Vlorë to Rrogozhinë the next day.(2013)

By car
If you are in Tirana, follow the way: Tirana-Durres-Kavaje-Rrogozhine-Lushnje-Fier-Vlore. The roadway is pretty good. From North Macedonia, you can follow: Qafe Thane-Librazhd-Elbasan-Rrogozhine-Lushnje-Fier-Vlore

From Greece, you can take three ways: (i) Kakavi-Gjirokaster-Tepelene-Vlore; or (ii) Kakavi-Gjirokaster-Qafe e Muzines-Sarande-Vlore; or (iii) Qafe Bote-Sarande-Dhermi-Vlore. The last itinerary is the shortest

Get around
There are three areas you might visit in Vlore - the beaches, the port, and the town centre.

the beaches stretch several Km to the south/east of the port, and there are numerous hotels and apartments in this stretch. There are also good beaches north/west of the port, but these are less easily accessible.
the port area - numerous hotels and restaurants in this area, though the town beach and the sea here are rather dirty
the town centre lies inland, about 2 km north of the port. A long boulevard lined with palm trees joins the two. There are many bars, shops and restaurants along this boulevard, but it is spoiled by fast traffic with no controlled pedestrian crossings. The town centre itself (around Flag Square) has a few 'tourist attractions', though unless you are in Vlore for the beaches there is not much to detain you more than half a day. The main reason for staying in this area is its convenience as a bus/furgon 'hub' serving nearby towns.
There is a small tourist information kiosk in Flag Square, next to the Independence Monument.

 

Hotels, motels and where to sleep

Accommodation on offer ranges from luxurious to basic with a good choice of hotels in between. Friendly service and good hospitality is usually encountered. Also available are private apartments and homes for longer stays of 10-15 days, B&Bs and hostels. You can camp in some areas.

Town centre area -
Vlore Hotel, Rruga Justin Godar (Near to Flag Square). €30 for a double room with breakfast [Sept 2011].
Vlora Backpackers Hostel, 24 haki isufi kushtrimi vlore (rruga gjergj kastrioti north all way till the end turn left on rruga e paqes and one more left in few buildings and is rruga haki isufi), ☎ +355 696135752, e-mail: vlorabackpackers@gmail.com.  Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 11:00. Vlora backpackers in a old villa located in a city center close to flew market grocery market and many historical museums best for stop by travelers. Bus station is outside of Vlora the port to Italy is 2 km easy with city bus. €10 per bed in dorm room.

 

Restaurant, taverns and where to eat

Vlore's sea products are some of the best in Albania. The Paradisa Beach Restaurant offers great seafood and is 5-10 minutes (depending on traffic) with a car from the center of Vlore. Ask for the right direction. Another great restaurant is "Makareshi", which is less than 5 minutes from the center of the city (with a car). But the most important thing to eat there is the Vlore traditiional food. Vlore (together with Kurvelesh) is the center of Laberia - the most famous and patriotic region of Albania. "Lab" people tend to be very proud of themselves, but also of their food. Try kukurec, qumeshtor and harapash. "Mish ne hell", which is rotisserie lamb, is well-known. Try this around Karaburuni.

Vlore area cuisine is typical of coastal and mountainous areas. The products are taken from dairy animals which are raised in the mountains by the sea. Here are some examples of traditional Albanian dishes:

Byrek is a flaky pastry that is preferred by the people of Vlore to be filled with either field greens or just as a milky pie. The most important ingredients are fresh milk, flour, and field greens.
Grilled meat is characteristic of Vlore, and is found in every restaurant. The nearness of the sea and the quality of pastures give the meat in this area an incomparable taste. Lamb from Karaburun cooked over an open fire is particularly delicious.
Yogurt in Vlore is produced traditionally and is different than the yogurt produced in most of Europe.
Harapash is similar to porridge and is cooked with corn flour, the intestines of lamb, cheese and butter.
Raki is the traditional alcoholic drink of Albania. The drink is typically grape-based, but you can also find raki made from blackberries and plums.
Another typical dish for Vlore cuisine are plates with seafood, fish, mussels, shrimp, and lobster.

 

Drink
By the main beach where the Adriatic meets the Ionian sea, there is a natural mineral water spring that leads into the ocean. Locals fill up empty bottles to take with them to the beach, and larger containers to take home. You can have an aperitif always near the seaside or in the mountain of Llogora, a natural park (protected).