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Vlora (pop. 72,000) is located in southwestern Albania, on the coast of the Adriatic, the second major sea port after Durres. In ancient times, Vlora was known as Aulon. The oldest traces of civilization in the area of Vlora date back to the 6th century B.C. In the 4th century B.C., a stone wall is built which surrounds the town. In ancient times, Vlora was known for its wine, olives, and salt, and became the main port of Illyria after the fall of Apolonia and Oricum. During the Medieval age, the town's fate was linked with the Castle of Kanina. In the year 1081 it was captured by the Normans, in 1205 by Venice, later it was handed over to the German Hohenschtaufs, and in 1272 it was incorporated in the Kingdom of Arb‘ria. In the 14th century, Vlora was under the rule of the Balshaj Albanian feudal family. During this period the town was known for its metal craftsmen, sword makers, silk, and extraction of salt. The town fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1417, it was the first Adriatic port captured by them. In the following centuries it was the center of the sanjak. In 1531, Sultan Suleyman used the stones of Aulon to build a fortress near the town (near the stadium in present Vlora) in a pentagon shape, with walls adapted for artillery fire. Within the fortress were high stone buildings and houses. This structure and the Mosque of Muradia (Xhamia e Muradi‘s ) is believed to be designed by Sinan, an Ottoman architect of Albanian origin who also designed the splendid Blue Mosque in Istambul.
Vlora was the first capital of independent Albania. On November 28th, 1912, the National Assembly of Albania declared the independence of Albania in Vlora, to end a five century Ottoman rule, and formed a provisional government headed by Ismajl Qemali.
After the fall of the communist regime Vlora is quickly becoming the most important tourist centre in Albania. This is due to its great geographic position. Vlora is situated in an area where the Adriatic and Ionian Seas meet. So if you take a walk along the beach in minutes from a smooth silky sandy beach on the Adriatic you can find yourself at the foot of great rocky hills that end up dancing with the deep blue waves of the Ionian, a truly amaizing spectacle.
Like in the rest of Albania the situation in Vlora has also improved, although wondering alone through town late in the... more travel advice
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