"Berat, the thousand windows city" Top 5 Page for this destination Berat by JLBG

Berat Travel Guide: 145 reviews and 426 photos

I have visited Berat three times, in 1988, 2007 and 2009. Berat is an outstanding city that deserves a visit. It was declared a museum city in 1961 and thus, even the religious buildings were protected from drestruction. It was inscribed in 1996 on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list which means that it is nominated for the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Berat, a city of 47,000 inhabitants, stands in east central Albania, 160 km south to Tiranë.
Berat stands on the north-south high road from Durrësi to Tepelena, Gjirokastra and Ioanina (in Greece). The first sight is of a city that spreads on the slopes of two mountains that face one another, on both sides of river Osum, a tributary of river Seman, Mali Tomor (2416 m) is one of the highest mountains in Albania. Mount Shpirag is only a little lower.

The city spreads over two hills that face one another, on both sides of river Osum. On the left bank of river Osum, Gorica, which used to be the Christian district. Gorica is topped by a ruined castle. On the right bank, Mangalem, which used to be the Moslem district. Mangalem is topped by the citadel. Inside the citadel walls, The Kala district is still inhabited. It used to be a Christian district with several churches and the ruins of two mosque. The modern city has spread in the plain, upstream and downstream along the right bank of the Osam river. Historically, the oldest part of the city is the Kala district. When the space inside the walls of the fortress became two small, both Mangalem and Gorica began to develop. The modern city began to be built at the end of the XIXth-beginning of the XXth.

The town was founded in the second century B.C. under the name of Antipatrea by the Illyrian Dasaretes tribe. The Bulgarians took it in the ninth century and kept it for two centuries under the name of Beligrad (white City) which later gave Berat. It was successively ruled by the despot of Epirus, Michael Angelus Comnenus (13th), the Serbs (1345) and the Turks (1450). In 1809, the famous Ali of Tepelen, Pasha of Janina (born in Tepelen), surnamed Arslan, also known as the Lion of Janina, took control of the city.

  • Last visit to Berat: May 2007
  • Intro Updated Apr 7, 2010
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Reviews (48)

Comments (21)

  • hopang's Profile Photo
    Dec 19, 2009 at 5:38 AM

    Superb Berat travel page with stunning photographs. Berat certainly has lovely architectural buildings and interesting attractions especially sidealleys, old houses, mosques, churches, castles and fortresses. Thanks for the virtual tour. ~ho & pang

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Oct 3, 2009 at 10:24 AM

    Fine tips and photos on this fascinating destination! I think it's quite unusual for such a "museum city" that all the houses are still occupied and still being used. I must admit I had never heard of Bektashism or Halvetism before.

  • May 27, 2009 at 8:26 AM

    I stayed here in 2005 and it reminded me of a hotel in edinburgh I stayed in 2000, great value for maoney, the surrounding area is spectaculer

  • Herwig1961's Profile Photo
    Jan 8, 2009 at 8:44 AM

    Very interesting page with great fotos and explanations!Thank you!

  • Aug 23, 2008 at 9:28 PM

    While in grade school, I did a project on Berat, focussing mainly on Bab Dud Karbunara. At the time, all I had at my disposal was my local library. I wish you & VT would have been around back then.

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Apr 15, 2008 at 7:33 AM

    I can actually feel how much you love this area. It's a good time to explore before it is "discovered" by tourists. You are right! There is so many windows on their houses - at least they are not pink!

  • kokoryko's Profile Photo
    Jan 18, 2008 at 3:31 PM

    Je voyais 16777215 “tips” (haha) sur ta page et me disais que j’allais jouer au général de l’armée morte. . . Ces régions de frontières entre cultures sont fascinantes. Tes pages le donnent de plus en plus envie d’aller voir par là. Merci !

  • Mikebond's Profile Photo
    Dec 21, 2007 at 6:37 AM

    J'ai terminé les "Things to do" tips, plus tard je lirai les autres. Excellent travail comme toujours! Au fait, je n'ai plus besoin d'aide pour le travail dont je t'avais parlé, merci quand-même. A+

  • icunme's Profile Photo
    Nov 15, 2007 at 12:15 PM

    Really interesting tips/photos - great insights into this culture.

  • KiKitC's Profile Photo
    Nov 11, 2007 at 7:28 AM

    Thank you for the fantastic tips. And thank you for all the research and "persuation" you needed for all the info. Absolutely magnificant!


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