The remarkable city of Berat is located 122 km south of Tirana and it's considered to be the center of the southern Albania.
The nickname, ‘the city of the thousand windows’ was given to Berat, due to the ‘skyline’ formed by its white houses and their windows, that are "climbing" on the city's hills. When you visit the city for the first time, you instantly notice its seemingly "never ending windows". The special and unique architecture of this city has major influences from several civilizations that amazingly, have managed to coexist together for centuries. Like most Albanian cities, Berat has its own castle, churches, and multiple other attractions that worth a visit.
Photo © LeszekCzerwonka
Berat is divided in two parts- the old town and the new town. The old town is in fact an UNESCO heritage site since 2008. Here you can find many attractions that are typical and bring to mind a medieval town; you can also get lost in the castle, that is considered to be one of the oldest in Albania. After being almost burned down by the Romans in 200 BC, the castle was "revived" during the 5th century by the Byzantine empire, and rebuilt completely during the 13th century under the authority of the Despot of Epirus. There are four entrances to the castle, but the main one is the one located at its north part.
Photo © to RKuljovska
From there you can stroll to the different sides of the city and visit the church of St. Mary of Blachernae, that lies in a perfect harmony with the hill. Dating back to the 13th century, the church is decorated with paintings by Nikoll Onufri, the son of the famous Albanian painter Onufri. Just a few steps away, inside the walls of the castle, the church of the Holy Trinity can be found. Built in the 14th century, this church has a special form of a cross and some impressive Byzantine murals can be admired at its inside.
From the church of St. Michael (Shën Mehill) , to the little church of St. Theodore (which has wall paintings by Onufri himself), we're now moving to the most interesting cathedral, the one of St. Nicholas. This cathedral has been well restored and is now serving as a museum, dedicated to Onufri. In the center of the city, you will find the imposing mosque of Xhamia e Plumbit, built-in 1555.
Photo © RossHelen
During your stay in Albania, Berat will captivate you, and it's definitely a unique city that worths a visit.
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