Arben’s guidebook

Arben
Arben’s guidebook

Tasty Food

After checking reviews of these restaurant I found a very good advice for trying its food It is always a good sign when a restaurant is teeming with locals, and this one definitely was, on a weekend morning. Good food. Delicious food with an excellent service. Mix seafood grill and seafood pasta are a must try. Best in town by far
Taverna Te LILO
After checking reviews of these restaurant I found a very good advice for trying its food It is always a good sign when a restaurant is teeming with locals, and this one definitely was, on a weekend morning. Good food. Delicious food with an excellent service. Mix seafood grill and seafood pasta are a must try. Best in town by far

Sightseeing

What makes this monastery unique and interesting is the natural surrounding. Zvrnec Monastery is situated on a small island which is connected to the shore with a picturesque 'bridge', which is a very popular place for taking pictures among tourists. When it comes to the monastery itself, it is considere to be one of the most important ones among Orthodox Christians, due to its religious, but also historical and architectural value. If you're looking for an alternative, but a very interesting place to visit, then this is the right place for you!
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Zvërnec Islands
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What makes this monastery unique and interesting is the natural surrounding. Zvrnec Monastery is situated on a small island which is connected to the shore with a picturesque 'bridge', which is a very popular place for taking pictures among tourists. When it comes to the monastery itself, it is considere to be one of the most important ones among Orthodox Christians, due to its religious, but also historical and architectural value. If you're looking for an alternative, but a very interesting place to visit, then this is the right place for you!
As the centrepiece of Vlore’s Square of the Flag, the Independence Monument marks Albania’s declaration of independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912. It was designed by Mumtaz Dhrami, a prolific 20th-centrury sculptor who completed a host of works around Albania in communist times. His Independence Monument is from 1972 and exemplifies the socialist-realist style, so today it memorialises both Albania’s independence and the country’s difficult post-war years. The square is fringed by palm and pine trees, and there are benches where you can sit and watch the city go by.
Independence Monument
As the centrepiece of Vlore’s Square of the Flag, the Independence Monument marks Albania’s declaration of independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912. It was designed by Mumtaz Dhrami, a prolific 20th-centrury sculptor who completed a host of works around Albania in communist times. His Independence Monument is from 1972 and exemplifies the socialist-realist style, so today it memorialises both Albania’s independence and the country’s difficult post-war years. The square is fringed by palm and pine trees, and there are benches where you can sit and watch the city go by.
Vlore’s main mosque is a stunning Ottoman building and has been preserved for almost half a millennium, even managing to survive Albania’s post-war communist regime that oversaw the shuttering of many religious buildings. Muradie Mosque is an Albanian National Monument built by Mimar Sinan in 1537. Sinan was among the most vaunted Ottoman architects and remains a Turkish cultural icon to this day. He oversaw countless works throughout the empire and even had a hand in the design of the Taj Mahal in India. Try to get up close to get a look at the building’s ornamental stonework and admire the 18-metre-high minaret.
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Muradie Mosque
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Vlore’s main mosque is a stunning Ottoman building and has been preserved for almost half a millennium, even managing to survive Albania’s post-war communist regime that oversaw the shuttering of many religious buildings. Muradie Mosque is an Albanian National Monument built by Mimar Sinan in 1537. Sinan was among the most vaunted Ottoman architects and remains a Turkish cultural icon to this day. He oversaw countless works throughout the empire and even had a hand in the design of the Taj Mahal in India. Try to get up close to get a look at the building’s ornamental stonework and admire the 18-metre-high minaret.
Southeast of Vlore is a sprawling hilltop fortress that was constructed in the 4th century BC when this region was settled by Ancient Greek tribes. It stands on Shushica Mountain, 380 metres above sea level and covers almost 4,000 hectares, protecting the modern Kanine village. In the year 500 the Byzantine emperor Justinian I rebuilt the settlement and the castle remained in use for at least the next century, serving as a stronghold for the Principality of Valona in medieval times, back when Vlore was a vassal of the Serbian Empire.
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Kaninë Castle
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Southeast of Vlore is a sprawling hilltop fortress that was constructed in the 4th century BC when this region was settled by Ancient Greek tribes. It stands on Shushica Mountain, 380 metres above sea level and covers almost 4,000 hectares, protecting the modern Kanine village. In the year 500 the Byzantine emperor Justinian I rebuilt the settlement and the castle remained in use for at least the next century, serving as a stronghold for the Principality of Valona in medieval times, back when Vlore was a vassal of the Serbian Empire.
Not far south of Vlore begins the Ceraunian mountain range. You can venture off into Llogara’s wilderness, in a protected area where even European wildcats continue to thrive. If you have an intrepid nature then there’s nothing to stop you taking on the various peaks in the region, like Mount Cika which rises above 2000 metres and has views that stretch as far as Italy. If that sounds like too much trouble then you can content yourselves with a drive along the scenic Llogara Pass, 1000 metres above sea level. Here the strong and swirling winds have twisted the trees into unusual shapes.
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Llogara National Park
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Not far south of Vlore begins the Ceraunian mountain range. You can venture off into Llogara’s wilderness, in a protected area where even European wildcats continue to thrive. If you have an intrepid nature then there’s nothing to stop you taking on the various peaks in the region, like Mount Cika which rises above 2000 metres and has views that stretch as far as Italy. If that sounds like too much trouble then you can content yourselves with a drive along the scenic Llogara Pass, 1000 metres above sea level. Here the strong and swirling winds have twisted the trees into unusual shapes.
Many Vlore locals get in the car on summer weekends to spend the day at Orikum’s gleaming white beach. It’s only five kilometres to the south and has a pleasing sweep of white pebbles. The sea here is perfectly clean and on a sunny day the seabed reflects the light to give the water an almost crystalline quality. Orikum’s beach is perfectly safe for families as it has a large shallow area for even the littlest swimmers to splash around. The natural backdrop is fabulous too, as the 2000-metre-high Mount Athanasious towers behind the town. Spring or autumn is the time to attempt a climb, and the track to the summit is safe and well-maintained.
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Orikum
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Many Vlore locals get in the car on summer weekends to spend the day at Orikum’s gleaming white beach. It’s only five kilometres to the south and has a pleasing sweep of white pebbles. The sea here is perfectly clean and on a sunny day the seabed reflects the light to give the water an almost crystalline quality. Orikum’s beach is perfectly safe for families as it has a large shallow area for even the littlest swimmers to splash around. The natural backdrop is fabulous too, as the 2000-metre-high Mount Athanasious towers behind the town. Spring or autumn is the time to attempt a climb, and the track to the summit is safe and well-maintained.
A little further south from Orikum is Vuno, a village on a steep mountainside overlooking the sea. A great reason to stop here is to make the quest to get to Gjipe Beach, a remote cove that lies at the end of a deep limestone gorge. The walk down to sea will be like nothing you’ve experienced, as the high walls block out most of the sunlight and you have to clamber down some difficult rocks. In the end your toils will be rewarded by the breathtaking beauty of this near-perfect cove. Also in the area is Jali Beach, also rated as one of Albania’s best. It’s a slightly larger cove with fine pebbles, bookended by rocky outcrops and bathed by transparent blue waters.
Vuno Village
A little further south from Orikum is Vuno, a village on a steep mountainside overlooking the sea. A great reason to stop here is to make the quest to get to Gjipe Beach, a remote cove that lies at the end of a deep limestone gorge. The walk down to sea will be like nothing you’ve experienced, as the high walls block out most of the sunlight and you have to clamber down some difficult rocks. In the end your toils will be rewarded by the breathtaking beauty of this near-perfect cove. Also in the area is Jali Beach, also rated as one of Albania’s best. It’s a slightly larger cove with fine pebbles, bookended by rocky outcrops and bathed by transparent blue waters.
Two caves close to Vlore have proof of human activity going back 5000 years. Lepenice Cave, 800 metres above the eponymous village, was only discovered in the 1970s. Here there are 19 depictions of humans composed with brown mineral paint, displaying a high degree of sophistication. Another local cave system that was inhabited by humans can be discovered at Velca, the opening of which still features an ancient wall. At Velca you can also see cave paintings, and prehistoric ceramics have also been recovered from the site.
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Karaburun Peninsula
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Two caves close to Vlore have proof of human activity going back 5000 years. Lepenice Cave, 800 metres above the eponymous village, was only discovered in the 1970s. Here there are 19 depictions of humans composed with brown mineral paint, displaying a high degree of sophistication. Another local cave system that was inhabited by humans can be discovered at Velca, the opening of which still features an ancient wall. At Velca you can also see cave paintings, and prehistoric ceramics have also been recovered from the site.
This natural terrace is the highest point in Vlore. It stands at 30 metres above the sea and is named after Father Kuzum, a local spiritual leader from the Muslim Bektashi sect. Word is that Quzum Baba is also buried close by, but his grave is unmarked. At the top of the hill is a Bektashi temple or tekke from the 1600s, regarded as one of the finest examples in Albania. For the next two hundred years the Bektashis were highly influential throughout Albania, but their influence waned in the 19th century when they became increasingly persecuted within the Ottoman Empire.
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Kuzum Baba
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This natural terrace is the highest point in Vlore. It stands at 30 metres above the sea and is named after Father Kuzum, a local spiritual leader from the Muslim Bektashi sect. Word is that Quzum Baba is also buried close by, but his grave is unmarked. At the top of the hill is a Bektashi temple or tekke from the 1600s, regarded as one of the finest examples in Albania. For the next two hundred years the Bektashis were highly influential throughout Albania, but their influence waned in the 19th century when they became increasingly persecuted within the Ottoman Empire.
This former military installation made the news in 2015 when it was finally opened to the public after decades of secrecy. Given that Sazan, Albania’s largest island, was a soviet base and perhaps even a chemical weapons facility it’s a daytrip for those who think nothing of a little danger. You can catch a boat to Sazan from the port in Vlore and spend a whole day pottering around tunnels and bunkers that were built to survive a nuclear attack. An interesting side note – Sazan’s location, where the Ionian and Adriatic Seas meet, gives it a sub-tropical climate with different weather conditions to the Albanian mainland despite being so close.
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Sazan
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This former military installation made the news in 2015 when it was finally opened to the public after decades of secrecy. Given that Sazan, Albania’s largest island, was a soviet base and perhaps even a chemical weapons facility it’s a daytrip for those who think nothing of a little danger. You can catch a boat to Sazan from the port in Vlore and spend a whole day pottering around tunnels and bunkers that were built to survive a nuclear attack. An interesting side note – Sazan’s location, where the Ionian and Adriatic Seas meet, gives it a sub-tropical climate with different weather conditions to the Albanian mainland despite being so close.

Neighborhoods

Muradie Neighbourhood or Vlora old Town Must be Visited
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Vlorë
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Muradie Neighbourhood or Vlora old Town Must be Visited

City/town information

Apollonia was an ancient Greek colony city and former bishopric in Illyria , located on the right bank of the Aous river (modern-day Vjosa). Its ruins are situated in the Fier region, near the village of Pojani (Polina), in modern-day Albania. The ancient city of Apollonia is situated in southwestern Albania, about 13 miles from the city of Fier. The fascinating landscape of the archeological park, which has been preserved in an exceptionally intact condition, comprises a successful combination between the beauty of monuments and nature, attractive through its long history, in an atmosphere of relaxation and meditation. Its foundation took place immediately after the foundation of Epidamnus – Dyrrachium and quickly became one of the most eminent cities of the Adriatic basin, which was mentioned more frequently from the other 30 (thirty) cities bearing the same name during Antiquity. The city lay in the territory of the political communion of the Taulantii and was broadly known as Apollonia of Illyria. According to the tradition it was founded during the first half of the 6th century BC by Greek colonist from Corfu and Corinth, led by Gylax, which named the city after his name (Gylakeia). After its quick establishment the city changed its name to Apollonia, according to the powerful divinity Apollo. It stands on a hilly plateau from where expands the fertile plain of Musacchia with the Adriatic Sea and the hills of Mallakastra. The ruins of Apollonia are discovered in the beginning of the 19th century. The city flourished during the 4th century AD as an important economic and trade center. Over time it was expanded over the whole hilly slope including an area of ca. 81 ha, surrounded by a large wall of 3 km of length and 3 m of width. Although Apollonia was situated few kilometers away from the Adriatic Sea, its position on the right bank of the Aoos River (modern Vjosë) enabled its communication with the coastal part of the territory. In the two hilltops dominating the city stands the temenos area (the sacred area around the temple of Apollo) and the Arx (military citadel). Between the two hilltops were situated the public buildings of the ancient city, which continued to experience a period of grandeur and splendor under the successive roman rule (since 229 BC). The fame of the city attracted many personalities of the largest empire of the ancient world as the eminent roman philosopher and orator Cicero, which noted Apollonia in his Philippics as magna urbs et gravis (a great and important city). During this period the city became one of the most important gateways of the transbalkanic Via Egnatia, while in its famous Academy has studied and underwent military training Octavianus, accompanied by Agrippas, the eminent general and statesman of the Roman Empire. After a long period of continuous economic and cultural development, Apollonia fell into decline until its total abandonment during the medieval period. The culture and the general development of the city maintained a clear Greek character throughout its existence. However, the independent economic and politic activity as well as the close relationships with the Illyrian hinterland determined a distinctive physiognomy of the apollonian culture. This archaeologic park or site contain also a Museum of Archaeology that is situated at the old Monastery of Saint Mary .
Fier
Apollonia was an ancient Greek colony city and former bishopric in Illyria , located on the right bank of the Aous river (modern-day Vjosa). Its ruins are situated in the Fier region, near the village of Pojani (Polina), in modern-day Albania. The ancient city of Apollonia is situated in southwestern Albania, about 13 miles from the city of Fier. The fascinating landscape of the archeological park, which has been preserved in an exceptionally intact condition, comprises a successful combination between the beauty of monuments and nature, attractive through its long history, in an atmosphere of relaxation and meditation. Its foundation took place immediately after the foundation of Epidamnus – Dyrrachium and quickly became one of the most eminent cities of the Adriatic basin, which was mentioned more frequently from the other 30 (thirty) cities bearing the same name during Antiquity. The city lay in the territory of the political communion of the Taulantii and was broadly known as Apollonia of Illyria. According to the tradition it was founded during the first half of the 6th century BC by Greek colonist from Corfu and Corinth, led by Gylax, which named the city after his name (Gylakeia). After its quick establishment the city changed its name to Apollonia, according to the powerful divinity Apollo. It stands on a hilly plateau from where expands the fertile plain of Musacchia with the Adriatic Sea and the hills of Mallakastra. The ruins of Apollonia are discovered in the beginning of the 19th century. The city flourished during the 4th century AD as an important economic and trade center. Over time it was expanded over the whole hilly slope including an area of ca. 81 ha, surrounded by a large wall of 3 km of length and 3 m of width. Although Apollonia was situated few kilometers away from the Adriatic Sea, its position on the right bank of the Aoos River (modern Vjosë) enabled its communication with the coastal part of the territory. In the two hilltops dominating the city stands the temenos area (the sacred area around the temple of Apollo) and the Arx (military citadel). Between the two hilltops were situated the public buildings of the ancient city, which continued to experience a period of grandeur and splendor under the successive roman rule (since 229 BC). The fame of the city attracted many personalities of the largest empire of the ancient world as the eminent roman philosopher and orator Cicero, which noted Apollonia in his Philippics as magna urbs et gravis (a great and important city). During this period the city became one of the most important gateways of the transbalkanic Via Egnatia, while in its famous Academy has studied and underwent military training Octavianus, accompanied by Agrippas, the eminent general and statesman of the Roman Empire. After a long period of continuous economic and cultural development, Apollonia fell into decline until its total abandonment during the medieval period. The culture and the general development of the city maintained a clear Greek character throughout its existence. However, the independent economic and politic activity as well as the close relationships with the Illyrian hinterland determined a distinctive physiognomy of the apollonian culture. This archaeologic park or site contain also a Museum of Archaeology that is situated at the old Monastery of Saint Mary .