Albania - Discovering Gjirokastra, the city of culture and monuments

Itinerary subject
Cultural itinerary
Itinerary type
Walking itinerary
All, students, high school pupils, local and foreign visitors
Municipality of Gjirokastra
Starting point
Municipality of Gjirokastra, Sheshi Cerciz Topulli, Gjirokastra
Ending point
Municipality of Gjirokastra, Sheshi Cerciz Topulli, Gjirokastra
1000 m
One day
Archaeology, Architecture, History. Art, Cultural Heritage, Geography, Newspapers, Photography, Magazines, Culinary, Ethnography. Folk costumes, Iso Polyphony
Booking info
Info Point


Gjirokastra represents exceedingly rare examples of architecture and urban planning typical to the Ottoman period. Due to its unique character of historical importance, it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.  At first, only Gjirokastra was added in 2005, but soon after -in 2008- Berat was added too as a site extension. Both sites bear visible shreds of evidence and feature specific to the former civilizations that previously conquered them throughout the centuries. Gjirokastra’s nickname refers to the material most typically used in the area, “the city of stone.” The city traces going back to the Neolithic period. Around the 4th century BC, permanent fortifications emerged. From that moment forth, the two continued to develop, adding up important features of Illaryan, Roman, Byzantine, European medieval, and Ottoman architecture (to name but a few).  Over the centuries, various cultures peacefully coexisted in this region, enriching the immaterial qualities it possesses.

Both settlements (Gjirokastra and Berat) sum up about 24 centuries of history, and from 1834 -when they lost their defensive character- until today, no great changes occurred on those two sites. However, in 1851 there was an earthquake that damaged most of the buildings and, consequently, after that event, the upper floors of the damaged constructions were rebuilt in timber. 

Gjirokastra, in southern Albania, is an old city rich in culture, and history. It is mostly known as the city of cobbled-streets, castle or for its bazaar, but the city has many museums too, worth-visiting. You could have a wonderful tour around the city and enjoy the most wonderful museum of the city such as: the house-museum, where the well-known Albanian writer, Ismail Kadare was born and raised, the Ethnographic Museum, the Museum of Gjirokastra, Cold War Tunnel

Take a tour in our city and you are going to discover more about the history of this beautiful city, which is listed in UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005.  Experience the traditions of Gjirokastra on a day and you will get to know the heritage and history of the city such as: handicrafts, traditional home-cooked meals, the unique architecture of this city and the challenge of preserving and restoring authenticity. The visitors will touch closely and see aspects of the daily life of the locals, they will get to know their cuisine as well as visit the cultural attractions and monuments.

You will enjoy dishes prepared at home in a typical house, the unique architecture, walk through the cobbled streets, visit to the Old Market and the Palorto neighborhood.