The Edward Lear Gallery (of contemporary art) was a revelation, not so much of the quality of modern Albanian art, which I’m in no position to judge, as of how exciting an art gallery can be. The key things are a) that you (I suppose anyway) don’t know any of the artists’ names, and b) that most of the paintings and sculptures there have no titles,...more
Money changing shops. These can be very, very, very useful. If, say, you happen to have hit an extra zero when changing money at a Tirana airport cash machine and you’re landed with the lek equivalent of 1500 Euros in cash, wondering how you’ll ever get it changed back, don’t worry! Simply go into any shop you notice with “KEMBIM VALUTE” above the...more
Life in the street in Berat is endlessly fascinating: piles of vegetables on the pavement, a man outside the post office apparently selling individual bananas (at 20 leks each), the dentist who’s set up shop in an old shipping container on the pavement, shoe-shine boys, enormous turkeys (!!) scavenging on the municipal rubbish tip…. You can spend...more
From the terraces of hotel Mangalem the view are outstandingPhoto 1: is a new terrace, with new rooms that they are currently building. Right now, they have only 5 rooms! In the background, Mangalem district.Photo 2 is a view on the former pasha’s harem (Vrionis house)Photo 3 is a view on Mangalem district. On the for right, the windows of the new...more
Kisha e Shën Mërisë (Saint Mary church) was built in 1797 where was already a previous church. The famous icon painter Onufri painted several frescoes in Kisha e Shën Mërisë as well as in other chuches of Kala. The church is now a museum with a wide collection of Onufri works.Photo 1 : the cloister of Kisha e Shën Mërisë. The entrance into the...more
A little further to the head of Constantin, Kisha e Shën Triada (Church of St Trinity) stands inside the fortress walls at a place where their general orientation turns from north-south to east-west. It was built in the fourteenth centuryPhoto 1 shows Kisha e Shën Triada from the acropolis. In the background, the valley with a modern part of...more
Kisha e Shën Kollit (Saint Kollit church) is on the side of Kisha Shën Mëri Vllaherna. It is built in a different style and uses stones mixed with bricks. It was built in the XVIth. The church was closed. It has frescoes painted by Onufri.Photo 1 : general view of Kisha e Shën KollitPhoto 2 : side view of Kisha e Shën KollitPhoto 3 : sign for Kisha...more
Kisha Shën Mëri Vllaherna (church of Saint Mary of Vllaherna), is situated near Saint Nicolas and Saint Costandin and Helena. It is preserved and in good condition.Photo 1 : general view of Kisha Shën Mëri VllahernaPhoto 2 : side apsePhoto 3 : sign for Kisha Shën Mëri Vllahernamore
Photo 1 shows the red mosque or at least the basement of the minaret as this is all what has been left.Photo 2 shows the remains of the castle itself (kala). It stands in such a strategic place that it now hosts antennas for TV, radio and telephone. It was first built in the Ivth century BC but the ruins that we see today date from 1440.Photo 3 is...more
Photo 1 shows the acropolis with on the left what remains of the white mosque. On the right, under the shade of a tree, there was a nice little terrace that was perfect to have a beer as the walk to this place has been uneasy with a lot of climbing and though in May, it was very hot.. The lady on the right attended the bar but insisted on showing...more
Just behind Kisha e Shën Todrit (its roof can be seen in the background), an amazing statue stands under a shelter, together with some broken chairs, a slash open mattress and a broken baby-foot game. They seem to be all rubbles, including the statue of an old man with a beard writing on a paper with a half broken hand. Who is him? Why is it here?...more
What I did not know in 2007 was that the most elegant building in Vrionis estate was actually the former pasha’s haremPhoto 1 was taken in 2007. I had noticed (previous tips) that the windows were coarsely closed w ith boards.Photo 2 was taken almost from the same place in 2009 and the pasha’s harem has now a brand new door and wooden shutters for...more
Rr. Veli Zaloshnja, Berati Lakes, Berat, 1233, Albania
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Solo
I had a look round for places to eat. There are plenty – birek shops (esp. near the bus station), pastry shops and restaurants, but none that looked special. (Possibly you can get fish near the river – I don’t know.) The one that seemed most popular with the locals was the “Cuci”, opposite the post office, where you can order, for example,...more
For the two of us, we had the dinner shown on the photo :Veal cotelettes with fries.Salad with cucumber, tomatoes, feta cheese, onions and olivesTarator (almost the same than the Greek tzatziki) : sliced cucumber in yoghurt, sprinkled with olive oil and paprika powder. On the right a special dish, which Albanian name I forgot to write. It is...more
Restaurant of Hotel Mangalem offers various breakfasts, as shown on the second photoFor 150 lek, Mengjesi turist (tourist breakfast) with toasted bread, butter, jam, cheese, coffeeFor 250 lek, Mengjesi diplomat (diplomat breakfast) with toasted bread, butter, cheese, bacon, 1 cooked egg, yoghurt, coffee.For 200 lek, Mengjesi vegjetarian (vegetarian...more
From Tirana you have the option of coming to berati either by bus or by furgon. We chose to go by furgon simply because we dislike sticking to strict timetables - so I don't even know when buses leave.We took a furgon which travelled to smaller towns before going to berati - it took us about 3 and a half hours to get there, on a somewhat not very...more
To reach the Kalasa from where the buses (or furgons) stop it's a longish walk uphill... Mind you, it's not impossible (I'd say abouy 30 minutes) - but with temperatures nearing 40 degrees celsius one might not quite fancy walking such a distance under the scorching sun.Taxi drivers know this and will take you there for 500 leks - which is about 4...more
There are some souvenirshops in Mangalem quarter. I saw some beautiful wood workings representing old quarters of Berat and the castle. There is a variety of things to look through. Negotiate about the prices.
In Kala, the passages that are often used are weed free but you can immediately guess that you are “out of the beaten path” when the alley is green!Photo 1 is a steep alley with stairs, moderately green.Photo 2 is obviously an alley that few use. It might as well be mowed and that would be a lawn!more
Both in 2007 and in 2009, we visited Albania in late May. Both times, we noticed that there were often busses loaded with a whole class, visiting museums, historical places or places of interest. That has to be “end of year” travels. We noticed that in Butrint, at Syri i Kalter, at Gjirokaster and here at Onufri museum. On this photo, this was a...more
Under Enver Hoxha regime, city cleaning was performed by Romas, mainly women. This is still the case in 2009. For security purpose, they have been given orange reflecting jackets. What I have noticed is that at least some of them wear it all day long, even when they are not working.more
The footpath from the city to the citadel is extremely steep and exhausting. The main road up the hill is also steep. Wear good foot ware especially when its raining and slippery. About halfway up Kalase A Tovanxhi there is a small shop. Opposite there is a even steeper short cut up to the citadel.more
The only drawback of Berati is in the main square where buses and furgons leave. There is quite a significant number of gipsy children (roma? majup?) begging for money (no problem) but also coming up to you and clinging tight to your arm and never letting go. Not dangerous but annoying - and better watch out for your money. A good escape is inside...more
8 Reviews and Opinions
The houses are built on following levels on the slope of the mountain, as can be seen on photo 1 and 2. Between the houses, alleys climb towards the upper levels.
At river level, most of these alleys are wide and paved, sometimes with stairs.
As much they climb, as much they are narrow. Some have rough stairs (photos 3 and 4) but others are almost natural rock with a few half stairs, just to help.
Good walking shoes are obviously the best choice to visit Berat!
We were in Berat on May the 30th. Once back home, I found the following information on the web site of the French Embassy in Tirana :A delegation led by Mr Xavier DE VILLEPIN, former President of the Commission of the Foreign Affairs of the Senate, and Jean- Dominique GIULIANI, President of the Foundation Robert SCHUMAN, also made up of Mrs....more
TThe mountain slopes overhanging Berat are living. If you enlarge this photo, you will see that the zig-zag across the picture is actually a narrow path carved in the steep slope of the mountain. If you look carefully, you will see that it is currently used : in the upper parts, several herds of cows can be seen, walking down into the valley.more
While we were parked at the entrance of the fortress, we were amazed to see two men carrying on a stretcher a heavy load of wastes taken out of the Kala district. That seemed to be very heavy and at one moment, they put their stretcher on the soil to have a rest (second photo). And a few minutes after, they took it again to carry it further away....more
The town is divided in three parts: Gorica, Mangalem, and Kalasa. Kalasa is the residential area within the Citadel/fortress. The houses here date from the seventeenth century, are two floors high and present a rich wood carving within. Mangalem is the predominantly Muslim area, it's at the foot of the Kalasa and there are several fine mosques to...more
Berati is an old town full of interesting white ottoman buildings. Berati is known to Albanians as 'The City of a Thousand Windows' and its citadel/fortress (Kalasa) it is a Museum City protected by the UNESCO.Originally the population of the fortress was Christian, so there were about 20 churches dating back the the 14th century and one mosque for...more
According to the legend of Berat, she was a beautiful girl, with whom two brothers fell in love. These brothers were Tomorri - the oldest - and Shpiragu. Because neither of them would give up on the girl, they decided to have a duel to decide to gets her. Tomorri had as a weapon a sword, Shpiragu had a spiked iron ball. Shpiragu hit the brother and...more