Gjirokaster: Visit to the city with silver rooftops

Gjirokaster: A city with stunning silver rooftops located 300 meters above sea level. Rich in natural beauty, it features the Rrezoma nature reserve and a wide mountain protecting the valley. The tour begins with breathtaking views from our vehicles as we approach this enchanting destination.

Included in the price:

Saranda Tours

Gjirokaster: What does this tour include?

As soon as we arrive, we will begin the visit to the old town of Gjirokaster. It is a true gem, the best-preserved Ottoman old town in the entire Balkans. The locals call it a bazaar, and the old town is indeed a true marketplace. Here, you can find merchants selling textiles, souvenirs, carpets, as well as many cafes and restaurants in the finest Albanian tradition.

We will start with a visit to Gjirokaster Castle, built in the 12th century. The castle is situated on a steep hill, and it is better to reach it by transportation. The weather in Gjirokaster predicts quite high temperatures during summer days. The castle has existed since 1200, but its current form is attributed to the 19th-century reconstruction ordered by Ali Pasha Tepelena. Within the castle, there is a museum of military relics and relics of the Albanian partisan resistance against the German Nazis. It is an interesting example of an arms museum built in 1971 for propagandistic purposes. We will discover how culture was used to show the Albanian people that the superpowers would never be able to occupy their country. The exhibition itinerary in this direction also includes a plane from the U.S. Air Force captured during the regime years. It will also be possible to see the prisons used during the communist regime to incarcerate opponents.

Continuing the guided tour of Gjirokaster Castle, we will see defensive towers, the Clock Tower, the Church, and the Cistern. The open spaces are also very beautiful. It is no coincidence that during the summer, the castle is home to the National Folklore Festival, held every year.

During the rest of the day, we will explore the city starting from the Qafa e Pazarit neighborhood. Here you will also discover the origins of many of Gjirokaster’s nicknames. A city of silver, a city of a thousand steps, and a city of stone, to name just a few. Different peoples who have followed one another have called the city in their own way. The official one remains connected to etymology, which refers to the meaning of a silver castle. Every time it rains here, the stone rooftops of the houses shine in the light, resembling silver. Large stone slabs used as tiles, which identify the profile of the city, just as Ismail Kadare described it in his novel “The Stone City”. During our visit to the ancient Qafa e Pazarit neighborhood, we will walk along the old cobblestone streets and visit local artisan shops. Don’t forget Skenduli House, an Ottoman villa from the 1700s, well-preserved in its structure and furnishings. Skenduli House is located in the Pazari i Vjeter neighborhood and is directly managed by the owner who organizes guided tours there. Among many Ottoman houses, we also find the house of writer Kadare and the house of Enver Hoxha, an Albanian politician in power from 1944 to 1985, which has now become the Ethnographic Museum of Gjirokaster (optional visit).