BERAT “THE TOWN OF THOUSAND WINDOWS”

Anyone who has been given the opportunity to visit Berat has been amazed. Not only from its rare architecture, but also from the generosity and hospitality of Berat.Berat as a city is built between mountains and hills and you seem to be in an ancient amphitheater; Tomorr Mountain, Shpirag Mountain, Gorrica Mountain and the Castle.In the middle of the city passes the Osum River that divides Berat into two parts and is connected by the Gorrica Bridge, which has seven arches and was built in 1870.

The castle

Berat Castle also referred to as the Citadel of Berat and castle quarter, is a fortress overlooking the town of Berat, Albania. It dates mainly from the 13th century and contains many Byzantine churches in the area and Ottoman mosques. It is built on a rocky hill on the left bank of the river Osum and is accessible only from the south. After being burned down by the Romans in 200 B.C., the walls were strengthened in the 5th century under Roman Emperor Theodosius II to protect from Barbarian incursions into the Balkans. The castle was under the rule of John Komnenos Asen in the mid-14th century The main entrance, on the north side, is defended by a fortified courtyard and there are three smaller entrances. The surface that it encompasses made it possible to house a considerable portion of the city’s inhabitants. The buildings inside the fortress were built during the 13th century and because of their characteristic architecture are preserved as cultural monuments. The population of the fortress was Christian, and it had about 20 churches (most built during the 13th century) and only one mosque, for the use of the Turkish garrison (of which there survives only a few ruins and the base of the minaret). The churches of the fortress were damaged through years and only some have remained.

The National Iconographic Museum “Onufri”

The National Iconographic Museum “Onufri” is an Albanian national museum dedicated to Byzantine art and iconography in Berat, Albania. The museum is located inside the Church of the Dormition of St Mary in the castle quarter Berat. The museum was named to honor Onufri, an Albanian painting Headmaster of the 16th century.The museum features on display 173 objects chosen among 1500 objects belonging to the found of Albanian Churches and Monasteries as well as to Berat.

Mangalemi

In Mangalemi, below the castle, you can see the famous view of the facades of the houses, with windows that seem to stand above each other. In general, a traditional house has two floors, where the second is prominent and has many cambered windows and wood carvings. With its houses built along the steep hill, the view of Mangalemi is the reason that another name for Berat is the city of the Floating Windows.

Gorica

Finally is Gorica, the less touristy area of Berat, almost hidden, without tourists, but with a unique beauty. To get there you have to cross the bridge in front of the Skapol Mosque. The latter crosses the Osum River and accompanies the visitor to the Church of San Tommaso and the historic Restaurant

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