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Durres Travel Guide: 56 reviews and 166 photos

Durres, formerly Durrazzo, is one of the oldest towns in Albania. The legend says
that it was founded by Epidamnos, the Illyrian King of the area, who called it by his
own name and named the port area after his grandson - Dyrrah. In 1627 - 1626
B.C. Greeks from Corfu and Cornith invaded the area and called the town
Dyrrachion. In the 4th century B.C. Dyrrachion had become an independent city -
state, producing metalwork, pottery, fabrics, leather and ships and its coins were
circulating throughout the ancient world. The Illyrians after establishing their own
state, tried to place Durres under their own dependence. In this struggle, victory
favoured the state of the Taulantes.

The Illyrian King Monunes, minted coins
in Durres, with his own name in them
and made Durres, the centre of his own
state. In 229 B.C. Durres was taken by
Rome and under roman rule, the town
was called Dyrrachium, which became
the starting point of the Via Egnatia,
linking roam with the East. The famous
Roman orator, Cicero called Durres an
admirable city ..., while the poet Catullus called it the tavern of the Adriatic.

After the partition of the Roman Empire, Durres remained part of the Eastern
Empire, Byzantium. During the 10th & 14th centuries, the town was captured by
Bulgarians, Normans, Crusaders, Venetians, Angevins and Serbs. In 1501 it was
invaded by the Turks. In 1914 - 1920 Durres became the capital of Albania. In
1915 it became the seat of Prince Velhelm Xuvid. In 1916 was temporarily
occupied by Serbian forces.

On the 7th of April l939, Durres was occupied by Italians. and then the Germans,
during World War Two.

Today Durres is one of the biggest towns and sea ports in Albania. It has a
population of 82,000 inhabitants. Durres has a chemical enterprise, agricultural
machinery works, cigarette factory, radio and television works etc.

What to visit;

The Fortress of the City : the remains of the walls belong to the 6th century; the
addition from 13-14th century. Ana Comnena, the daughter of the Byzantine
Emperor, Alexis Comnenius, describing the fortress, writes that its walls were so
thick that 4 horsemen could ride abreast on top of them. Wars and earthquakes
destroyed the fortress.

The Amphitheatre : It is one of the biggest and most exquisite monuments that have
survived from the ancient city. It was built in the 2nd century A.D. In the early
Middle Ages, it was abandoned. In the 10th century, a chapel and cemetery were
built upon its areas and galleries.

From the records of the amphitheatre
must have been very big, with a capacity
of 15,000 spectators. Its diameter must
have been more than 120 metres. The
amphitheatre was unearthed by chance
in 1966, by a citizen digging in his
garden. Because of the constant
earthquakes that shook the city, only a
third of ancient Dyrrachium has been
excavated.

The Belle of Durres : It is the most polychromatic mosaic found in the country. The
mosaic was discovered beneath a dwelling, in a residential quarter of the town. It is
elliptical in shape and measures 17 x 10 feet. The mosaic depicts on a block ground
g woman's head surrounded by flowers.

Roman Thermal Baths : were discovered on 1962, during the construction of the
Palace of Culture. The baths have a hypocaust or heating system and a pool, 23
feet long by 17 feet wide.

The Archaeological Museum : situated near the sea, is rich in objects excavated in
durres. It gives a view on the ancient Dyrrachium. There are many objects
excavated in Durres and this museum being small can not reveal all of them. There
are urrently plans to construct and extension to the existing museum.

On the west side of the town, on top of a hill, rises a magnificent villa. It used to be
the villa of King Zog. Today it is used to receive foreign delegations. The villa, with
its striking pink paintwork, overlooks the port of Durr
Durrësi u themelua në vitin 625 Para Erës Sonë nën emrin Epidamnus, dhe sipas asaj që thotë greku Thucydides
ishte një koloni e përbashkët e Korintit dhe Kërkyrës (Korfuzit) në Iliri. Me kalimin e kohës qyteti arriti një shtrirje
dhe popullsi të madhe. U bë një qendër e rëndësishme tregtare. Si pasoje e ngrënieve të brendshme dhe të luftrave
me ilirët e zonës qyteti nisi të dobësohej. Për më tepër populli përzuri fisnikët nga qyteti të cilët nga ana e tyre u
bashkuan me ilirët (taulantët) dhe vazhduan të godisnin herë pas here qytetin nga toka dhe deti. Atëherë epidamnasit
kërkuan ndihmën e Kërkyrës e cila iu mohua. Kështu u kthyen nga Korinti i cili u kërkoi si shpërblim të ua dorëzonin
atij qytetin. Kur Kërkyra pa forcat korintiane të shkonin drejt Epidamnusit nxituan të dërgonin atje anijet e tyre dhe
të kërkonin dorëzimin e qytetit i cili iu mohua. Atëherë ata morën në anën e tyre fisnikët dhe ilirët dhe rrethuan
qytetin. Deklaruan se ata që do të donin të linin qytetin mund ta bënin lirshëm këtë gjë, përndryshe do të trajtoheshin
si armiq. Kërkyrasit kishin përdorur 40 anije për rrethimin e ujrave të qytetit dhe 40 të tjera i kishin gati për luftë.
Kjo flotë do të përballonte flotën e korintasve prej 75 anijesh që po vinin. Kërkyrasit i vunë anijet në rreshta lufte
dhe sulmuan korintasit duke u fundosur atyre 15 anije. Kështu korintasit humbën dhe në të njëjtën ditë Epidamnusi u
dorëzua. Kushtet e dorëzimit ishin që të huajt do të ***eshin si skllevër ndërsa korintasit do të mbaheshin si të pengje
lufte.
Fërkimet e Korintit dhe Kërkyrës mbi Epidamnusin ndikuan në shpalljen e luftës Peloponeziane rreth vitit 435 p.e.s...

  • Intro Written Sep 11, 2002
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