a strange feeling
Vlore is not the best place to visit in Albania. In fact it is truly charmless - and the worst part is that we had known it all the way, and yet it was a promised that we had made to our grandfather, to go and take a photo of the port area where he had been stationed during th war (and where he caught malaria).
Still, this is the place where the mediterranean sea (murky) meets the ionian sea (blue-green) and beaches, though small, are spectacular. Malaria is now gone but the place, at first impression, did not seem neither friendly nor safe. For the first time in Albania we thought we were looked upon with suspicion - which can be maybe understandable; all the italians we came across in the city were unsavoury characters definitely not there for tourism. Our second impression (i.e. the day after) was even worse: we saw a fist fight in the streets - blood all over - and it did not include only men... a woman was being beaten up, too. We were not impressed. Despite the amazing beaches we wee not sad to leave.
City of Vlora
Vlora is Albania's second largest port, it is also a fishing port and holiday resort. In ancient times the city was known under the name of Aulon . Vlora is located in southwestern Albania, on the coast of the Adriatic, the second major sea port after Durres.
The oldest traces of civilization in the area of Vlora date back to the 6th century B.CIn the 4th century B.C., a stone wall is built which surrounds the town. In ancient times, Vlora was known for its wine, olives, and salt, and became the main port of Illyria after the fall of Apolonia and Oricum. Vlora is a city with tradition of hospitality ,full of history and natural beauty.Vlora is one of the most beautiful places of the whole Mediterranean.
Today Vlora has a population of est. 150.000.The city is growing rapidly and the tourist infrastructure is improving. With the superb climate and diverse beauty of the city more tourist are coming from around the world.
Vlora is proclaimed a hero...
Vlora is proclaimed a hero city. It is an old city, where important events in the struggles for freedom and independence have taken place. In ancient times the city was known under the name of Aulon. At the beginning it was only a port. Aulon was famous for its olive groves and vineyards.
After the fall of Apollonia and Orichum, it became the principal port of Illyria. In the fifth century Aulon was the centre of diocese. The emigrations of barbarians damaged it badly and brought the withdrawal of the city deeper in land.
During the Middle Ages the city was fused into one with the fortress of Kanina, which is situated a few kilometres to the south east.
In 1081 Vlora was seized by the Normans and the German Hohenstaufens, and in 1272 incorporated into the kingdom of Arberia. In the fourteenth century, Byzantine armies visited it again, the Serbs as well as the feudal lords of the Balshas from north Albania.
At the fourteenth century, as it has passed to the Balshas, it became an important trading and handicraft centre noted apart from wines and salt, for its swords, its ships and its silk.
The invading Turks took it in 1417, and Sultan Sulejman - The Magnificent - built a fortress by the sea in 1531, which is believed to have been designed by the Albanian architect - Sinan.
By the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Vlora had again become an important economic centre and port. it was taken by Ali Pasha Tepelena in 1812.
It was in Vlora that an Assembly was convened, which proclaimed Albania as an independent state, forming the first national government headed by Ismail Qemali on the 28th of November, 1912. At this time Vlora became the capital of the country. The government remained there until January, l914.
Vlora was occupied by the Italian troops in 1914 during the first World War, but they were driven from the main land in 1920, by a volunteer army. Reoccupied by Italians in 1939, and by the Germans in 1943. Vlora was liberated in October l5, l944.
Today Vlora has a population of 61,300. Vlora is Albania's second largest port, it is also a fishing port and holiday resort.
What to visit;
The Mosque of...
What to visit;
The Mosque of Muradie, was built in 1542: this is believed to have been designed by the architect Sinani, on the orders of Sultan Sulejman, when he was in Vlora preparing his naval expedition against Italy.
With the closing down of the mosques and churches in 1967, it has been used as the museum of architecture of the district.
In the town centre is the bronze monument of independence, unveiled in 1972. On a high irregular pillar of rock stands a figure of a standard bearer, while below are depicted distinguished figures of the movement of Albania's independence. It is a joint work of the sculptors, Kristaq Rama, Shaban Haderi and Muntaz Dhrami. In honour of the day of independence, the main square in Vlora is called - The Square of the Flag (Sheshi i Flamurit).
The Museum of Independence : reflects the stern struggle of the Albanian's for freedom and independence, the events that brought about the raising of the flag on the 28th November l912, when Albania was proclaimed an independent state.
Vlora has a cement factory and the production of plastics, there is a cannery, whose products are used for export. The region of Vlora is rich in agricultural products, especially in fruits, olives and grapes, and in dairy products.
Vlora is the seat of the Ismail Qemali University, founded in 1994, which replaced the school for Naval Officers. Students can study business administration, nursery, naval engineering and English language.
uji i ftohte
Uji i ftohte is the name of the seaside part of vlore, where many hotel are located. The name means cold water.
At the end of the hotel strip, before the tunnel, stop to take a look at how many cars stop for a few minutes (driver leaving the car with a big bag full of something in his/her hands) and then leave.
What mysterious business are they about? Nothing illegal... the rock by the side of the tunnel has a spring of fresh cold water. And locals stop to fill up their bottles.