Gjirokastër or Gjirokastra, is a city in southern Albania, whose inhabitants are called Gjirokastra. City included in the World Heritage List of UNESCO in 2005, as one of the few surviving examples of cities in the Balkans Ottoman trade.
Origin of name
The origin of the name of Gjirokastra has a fabulous explanation and two others with more historical nature. According to legend, during the final siege of the city by the Turks, Princess Argjiro sister city master jumped from the castle walls with her son from falling into the hands of the enemy alive.
From here came the name “castle Argyro”. (But it seems impossible after the city’s name is mentioned at the time of Byzantium, ie before the Ottoman conquest).
According to an explanation of the less poetic, the city is named for the Greek word silver, Argyrokastron, from the gray color of the walls, streets and roofs of stone, which twinkle like silver when wet from rain. One explanation is the name of a local tribe that lived near Gjirokastra: argjir. For the first time mentioned the name of Gjirokastra in the thirteenth century. The beginnings of the town of Gjirokastra by Apollon Bace Researcher thought to be the seventh century after the fall Hadrianopolit XIII, Castle of Gjirokastra is thought to be initiated by the Albanian prince Gjin Bue Shpata, who gave the city the name, Gjinokastër.
Historical and Touristic Places to be visited in Gjirokastër:
- The historical center with the Bazzar
- The Castle where you can visit also the Gun’s Museum
- Ethnografic Museum
- The characteristic houses of Zekateve, Skendulateve, Babametos, Kadarese, Hani i Zagorise, Dulajve, ect.
- “Antigonea” – in the Drinos Valley
- The roman site of Hadrianopolit shek.II ps.k. close to village Sofratike
- Natyral Park of Viroit, Sotires
Located in southern Albania, Gjirokastra stands on the steep slopes of the river valley Drinos in a position prevailing over a landscape rich in history, which outlines the boundaries of the high mountaintops. This is the “city of a thousand steps” that includes hundreds of home-
Today’s City of Gjirokastra includes the Old Town, the castle (first nucleus of residence) and Ottoman style neighborhoods, built on ridges, which come away from the castle to the bottom of the valley, where the buildings are modern and complex university. Extend traditional neighborhoods radiate around the castle with names: Cfakë, Dunavat, Manal, Palorto, Varos, Meçite, Hazmurat, Old Bazaar. The early history of the city is relatively unknown. Because of its proximity to the classical and Hellenistic centers: Delirium (Antigonea) and Roman city near the village Sofratikë Adrianopolis is often thought that the earliest settlement in Gjirokastra is the medieval castle. But on this thesis are doubts within the castle after revelations have brought to light pottery in 4 different stages before the Ottoman housing: V centuries –
For the first time in historical sources mention the city in 1336, when Byzantine chronicler writes Johan Kantakuzeni Argyrokastron. Under the Despotate of Epirus, the city and the surroundings were under the rule of the feudal family Zenebishi. As the Ottoman Empire expanded into Europe in the late XIV, Gjirokastra fell under the influence of sultans and its rulers became his vassals. One Zenebishët mention that led a group of men under the command of Sultan Bayezid I (1389-
Castle has always been primarily military function. While there were dwelling within the walls, they were designed to garrison and important dignitaries. Meanwhile, during the Middle Ages, the city was held outside its walls. Discoveries of early settlements in the city has not, though, in an episcopal residence that was under the old memorial, missing today Enver Hoxha, was found a beautifully carved capital of the thirteenth century. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the city, as the main center of the Sanjak of Albania (Sandzak main administrative units called Turkey in the early period of the Ottoman Empire) and the city flourished as a result, his quarters were enlarged in 1583 with 434 home, marking almost duplication within a century. This occurred primarily because of a general movement of population from rural to urban. The growth continued when regional administrative center moved to Delvin , in the time of Sultan Suleiman the brightest (1520-
“… Open City is situated on 8 hills and valleys all around the fortress with multi home with stone roof and surrounded by gardens and vineyards.Each of these well-
Gjirokastra was an administrative center as the seat of Qadi (judge) and very flat glass that survived until today date back to this period. The city’s population seems to have remained the same in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
On 1811, the city fell into the hands of Ali Pasha. He was concerned that the new fortification works were carried in the hold, and build a 12 km long aqueduct, which take water to the mountain of Sopot. Water stone was inscribed by famous British painter Edward Lear, who traveled enough in this province. Water was demolished in 1932, but the neighborhood “Dunavat” has remained one of his bow, which is known as the “Bridge of Ali Pasha”.After Ali Pasha was killed by the forces of the Sublime Porte (so called court of the sultan in Istanbul), the city continued to function as the administrative center, trade center of cattle, wool, felt, dairy products, silk and embroidery. In 1880 the Assembly of Gjirokastra actively supported the cause of self-
Years of effort put communism a large-
The castle is built on a rock, and around it there were many trees, which prevent erosion and landslides. East of the castle walls have cracks deeper and requiring immediate intervention. Without this intervention Albanian heritage property is in danger of losing. Gjirokastra city was declared a museum in 1963 and in 2005 was declared a World by UNESCO .