Durrës city walking tour on 9th May 2020
An interesting walking tour in the heart of Durres, breathing its history as you stroll.
The gathering point for the visit is at Aleksandër Moisiu University, Campus -Spitalle, Durres.
Please email us within April 19th 2020 at firstname.lastname@example.org to register to participate to the tour.
We will go together to by public transports where the tour will start.
Duration of the tour: 1.5 hours
Stop by one of the largest Roman amphitheaters in the Balkans at Durres Amphitheatre. The amphitheater is located in the center of the city, which makes it easily accessible during a city walking tour. The site was built during Emperor Trajan’s rule and its well-preserved remains, including a chapel mosaic, are open to the public along with a museum. The mosaic is located inside alcoves, but some of these are under structural risk due to the development on top of the amphitheater, so use caution when you are touring the area.
The castle was built by the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius I (r. 491–518), who came from Durrës (ancient Dyrrhachium). At the time, Anastasius made the city one of the most fortified cities on the Adriatic. The ancient walls were devastated in an earthquake in 1273, and had to be extensively repaired. Currently the medieval walls stand at nearly 15 feet (4.6 meters) in height and the three entrances of some of the fortification towers are preserved in nearly one-third of the original length of the city walls. The castle was reinforced with several guard towers by the Republic of Venice and during the period of rule in Albania by the Ottoman Empire the wall was reinforced.
On 7 April 1939, Albanian patriots fought the Italian invasion of Albania. In Durrës, a force of only 360 Albanians, mostly gendarmes and townspeople, led by Abaz Kupi, the commander of the gendarmerie in Durrës, and Mujo Ulqinaku, a marine official, tried to halt the Italian advance. Armed only with small arms and three machine guns, they succeeded in keeping the Italians at bay for several hours until a large number of light tanks disembarked from the latter’s naval vessels. After that, resistance diminished and within five hours the Italian forces had captured the entire city.
Today the castle is a popular tourist attraction.
Durrës Archaeological Museum
The Durres Archaeological Museum (Albanian: Muzeu Arkeologjik) in Durres, Albania, established in 1951, is the largest archaeological museum in the country. The museum is located near the beach and north of the museum are the 6th-century Byzantine walls, constructed after the Visigoth invasion of 481. The 1997 rebellion in Albania saw the museum seriously damaged and looted.
The bulk of the museum consists of 3204 artifacts found in the nearby ancient site of Dyrrhachium and includes an extensive collection from the Ancient Greek, Hellenistic and Roman periods. Items of major note include Roman funeral steles and stone sarcophagi and a collection of miniature busts of Venus, testament to the time when Durres was a centre of worship of the goddess.
In 2010, the Durrës Archaeological Museum is expected to undergo a total reconstruction. Despit
e the importance of archaeological objects, the museum is not an independent institution and is operated by the Regional Directorate of Durrës Monuments. The museum is supported by the Albanian Institute of Archaeology and the Academy of Sciences and intend it to become a national museum according to archaeologists such as Adi Anastasi and Luan Përzhita, given the historical significance of its artifacts and their illustration rich cultural heritage.
A fund has been opened by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, Youth and Sports to provide the museum with a new research unit, its own scientific staff and laboratory and administrative body. Problems have been identified in the reconstruction process given that the museum is located near the sea faces erosion from the iodine content of salt and moisture and weathering.
Royal Villa of Durrës
Royal Villa of Durrës, also known as Zog’s Villa of Durrës (Albanian: Vila mbretërore e Durrësit) was the summer villa of King Zog in Durrës, Albania.
It was used as the summer palace by the Albanian Royal family during the reign of the Monarchy and still remains a symbol of the Monarchy in the City.
It was restored to Leka Crown Prince of Albania in 2007. The restoration process was accepted and approved by the Albanian lands commission, following all the legal procedures without contest. The Palace was a gift given by the Durrës business community as a sign of prosperity to King Zog. Although in 2012, Artan Lame declared in the Media that the Palace was built by the Italian government.
The villa is set on the Durrës hill, 98 m above the sea level. The sea can be seen from three sides of the villa. It is extended in the form of an eagle and was built in 1926. Kristo Sotiri, an architect who had graduated from the University of Padova and the University of Venice, Italy, designed the villa. By the time that Sotiri was designing the building, he had vast experience that included that of being the architect of the Court of Queen Elisabeth of Wied of Romania. The building was finished in 1937, a few months before King Zog married Queen Géraldine Apponyi de Nagyappony.
The villa was used after World War II as a government reception building. During Communist Albania, many communist leaders from Nikita Khrushchev to the Cambodian prince Samde Norodom Sihanuk have been guests in the building. Former US President Jimmy Carter also has been one of its guests in the ’90s. The interior of the villa was vandalized during the 1997 unrest in Albania. Prince Leka has outlined a reconstruction plan to be implemented in the near future.
Great Mosque of Durrës
The Grand Mosque of Durrës (Albanian: Xhamia e Madhe) or New Mosque (Xhamia e Re) is a historic Albanian Mosque in the port-town of Durrës, Albania.
It was built in 1931 under the Kingdomship of King Ahmet Zogu I on the site of an older mosque from Ottoman times. By the day of its opening, it was the largest mosque in Albania. The mosque was closed in 1967 under the dictatorship of Enver Hoxha and its minaret was torn down. Most other historic mosques of the Ottoman era were destroyed. From now on, the Main mosque was used as a so-called Youth Centre. It was damaged again in 1979 by an earthquake.
With the help of the International Islamic Relief Organization of the Muslim World League, the mosque was reopened again in 1993.
The Mosque is also called Grand Mosque in order to distinguish it from the Little Mosque – the Ottoman-era Fatih Mosque.