2nd Century Roman Coliseum in Durres
An amazingly in-tact Roman coliseum exists in Durres, Albania - 30 KM west of Tirana, situated on Albania's Adriatic cost. The coliseum contains an expansive network of tunnels where gladiators and lions alike were confined prior to their battles. If walls could speak ... The 2nd century coliseum sat 30,000 people in its hayday and one can feel what it must have been like to have been an ill-fated gladiator two thousand years ago.
There is no admission fee into the coliseum and, in fact, the coliseum is not a formal attraction. One simply walks into the coliseum ruins and walks out. No postcards, no t-shirts, just a great experience!
Take a furrgon (shared minibus) from Tirana to visit Durres. They leave regularly (when full) and the cost is minimal (200 lek).
On the sea front is a monument to partizans of World War 2 in the heroic realism style favoured by so many East European dictators. There's nothing particularly special about it, but it looks pretty cool. It also features in the photo section of Lonely Planet's (slightly rubbish) guide to the Western Balkans, so it must be worth a look!
Durrësi, Fathi Djami
Fathi Djami (Mosque of the Conqueror) was built in 1502 as a hommage to sultan Mehmet II. It was built in a place where was a Byzantine church. In 1979, it was damaged by an earthquake while it was no longer in use. It has now been repaired and is in excellent condition.
Durrësi, the main harbor in Albania
Durrësi is one of the oldest cities of Albania. It was founded by Epidamnos, king of the Taulants, an Illyrian tribe. He gave the city his name. In 627 BC, Illyrian invaders from Corynth and Corfu took control of the region and rebuilt the city as Durrakhion. In 229 BC, the Romans took control and changed the name to Dyrrachium which gave later the name of Durrazzo in Italian, Durrës in Albanian and Drač in Croat.
For the Romans, Dyrrachium was highly strategic: it was the cross road between the marine route from Brindidi and the inland route that led to Thessaloniki and Byzance, the Via Egnatia. The city kept its strategic importance along the centuries. It explains why it is very difficult to dig for ancient buildings: the ancient city is underneath the modern town.
Durrësi is 33 km from the capital, Tirana. It is the first harbor and the second most important city in the country. It has now more than 200,000 inhabitants.
I had built a Durrësi page from my 1988 travel in Albania. Instead of mixing 1988 and 2007, I have preferred to build a new 2007 page. I have transferred my 1988 page to Rrethi i Durrësit.
This is an entirely new page!