Ancient Iliria

Kind of Tour:                     Cultural/Archeological Kode of Tour:                    ETTCA01 Length of Tour:                 6  nights /7 days   Itinerary: Tirana  – Durrës – Berat – Bylis – Gjirokastra – Saranda – Vlora – Apollonia – Kruja Description of the Tour: There are a lot of ruins from […]

Kind of Tour:                     Cultural/Archeological

Kode of Tour:                    ETTCA01

Length of Tour:                 6  nights /7 days

 

Itinerary: Tirana  – Durrës – Berat – Bylis – Gjirokastra – Saranda – Vlora – Apollonia – Kruja

Description of the Tour:

There are a lot of ruins from the ancient Iliria and a lot of well preserved archeological site. Our proposal comes with the most well-known sites, but of course we can riorganise and create a tailor-made tour, as per your request.

Program:

Day 1: Airport – Tirana

Meet at Mother Tereza Airport and depart for Tirana. Before the accommodation we will visit the Archaeological Museum in Tirana. It was the first museum created after the World War II. Tirana Archaeological Museum has displayed about 2000 objects and it has a fund support of 17000, which is increased annually by the systematic archaeological finds. The museum gives full information on the earliest ancient dwellings in Albania, especially on the periods when the process of Illyrian tribes’ formation takes place. It also provides summarized information on Late Antiquity and early Middle Age when the transition from Illyrians to Arbers takes place. After this visit we proceed with the accommodation, and prepare for dinner in a traditional restaurant. Overnight in Tirana.

Day 2 : Tirana – Kruje – Durres – Berat

After breakfast, we will depart to Kruja.  On the way we stop at the ruins of the archeological site that is perceived to be “Albanopoli”, which located on a hill side near the village of Zgerdhesh (Kruje), the capital of the Illyrian tribe “Alban” which flourished from the end of the 3rd century A.D.

Its name is mentioned for the first time by Ptolemy in the 2nd century A.D. It is from the “Alban” Illyrian tribe that the country started to be called “Albania” and the people “Albanians”. After this we proceed to Kruja, where we visit the Scanderbeg Museum, Ethnographic Museum and the Old Bazaar. Transfer to Durresi were we will have the lunch. Afterwards enjoy a delicious lunch in Durres and then visit the Site of Epidamnus. The city of Durres dates to the 7th century B.C., according to traditional reports from ancient sources in the year 627. The modern city is built on top of the ruins of ancient Epidamnos or Dyrrachium, the latter transformed into Dyrrachum in the Roman period. Depart for Berat where spend the overnight.

Day 3: Antipatrea(Berat) – Bylis – Gjirokaster

After breakfast , we start exploring the ancient city of Berat. It is called the Town of a Thousand Windows. More than 2400 years old town, it is one of the most visited and characteristic cities in Albania. Since 2008 old city of Berat is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

We will visit in Berati, the Ancient city of Dimal, the two quarter of Mangalem and Goritca that are both sides of Osumi river and linked betwin them with the Goritca bridge. Afterwards you can visit the Ethnographic Museum, a two storied residence, with a lobby on one side. This residence is equipped with non-moveable furniture that serve for the preservation of the household objects, wooden case, wall-closets, chimneys, wells, etc. We continue with the citadel of Berati in the top of the hill, which is still inhabited. From the citadel is an overlook very impressive. Here we we will visit the Onufri National Museum, which hold a collection of 173 belonging to the found of Albanian Monasteries and Churches.

We will have the lunch in a traditional restaurant.

After lunch we depart towards Gjirokastra, a UNESCO site and museum town with beautiful and very distinct architecture. On the way, we stop at the ancient city of Bylis to visit the ancient remains. It was the centre of Illyrian tribe and one of the most important and largest Illyrian cities, which developed during 4th century B.C. During the 3rd century B.C. were built the theatre (8000 seats), the stadium, the gymnasium etc. By the 1st century A.D. Bylis became a Roman colony. During the fifth and sixth centuries, it became an important diocesan centre, which is proved by the discoveries of 6 basilicas whose floors are laid with mosaics of early Christian motifs.

We continue to Gjirokastra, and before arriving there we visit the ancient site of Antigonea; a city founded in the 3rd century B.C.  by King Piro of Epirus. Arrival in Gjirokastra in the late afternoon.Accommodation and dinner in a traditional restaurant.

Day 4: Gjirokastra –Saranda

After breakfast we depart to Saranda. On the way we have a stop in the archeological site of Sofratika, a Theatre located in Drino valley in Gjirokastra region by a village bearing the same name, this is Roman Adrianopolis of the second century AD. The theatre was excavated in 1984 and has a capacity of 4,000 seats in 27 steps.

After this site we continue to the coastal town of Saranda. On the way we stop to visit the beautiful Blue Eye spring, a natural spring shaped like an eye of beautiful blue and turquoise green colours among old maple trees. Then we visit the archaeological site of Foinike. We stop for lunch at the Lekuresi Fortress in Saranda, with beautiful views of Saranda Bay and the Island of Corfu situated only 7 km away.  After lunch we proceed to visit the ancient city of Butrint.
A pleasant narrow road overlooking the sea and marshes leads to Butrint through a landscape of olive and orange tree plantations. Butrint is situated 15km south of Saranda. The ancient city of Butrint, which is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was first inhabited by Illyrians. The archaeological excavations show that Butrint has been an important centre of the Kaonian Illyrians, one of the big tribes of southern Illyria. According to discoveries made in the area, it has been proved that the site was inhabited as early as Palaeolithic period. Butrint was invaded by the Normans in eleventh century and passed to Venice from 1690 to 1797, when Ali Pasha Tepelena invaded it. With the fall of the Pashallek of Janina, in 1822, Butrint passed under Ottoman rule until 1913. Several excavations dating from the 1st and 4th centuries AD can now be visited, among them the Old Amphitheatre, the Temple of Asklepios or Aesculapius, the Baptistery, Nymphaeum and the ancient city walls. Do not miss the Baptistery, with a floor of colourful mosaics. Overnight in Saranda.

Day 5: Saranda – Vlora

After breakfast we depart towards Vlora driving through Albanian Riviera. Stop at the town of Himara in order to have lunch at the “Llogara Tourist Village”; 1000 m above sea level. Nearby it is a field where Julius Caesar’s troops camped for a battle during the war against Pompeii. After lunch we continue to Vlora. We stop at the town of Orikum thought to have been founded by Greek colonists from Euboea Island. Orikum was used as a base by roman armies in their wars again Illyria and Macedonia.
Here we can see some remains of walls and roads visible under water in the lagoon as well as part of mini-theatre of around 400 seats in the nearby hill of Palokastra. Most of the remains are from the 1st century B.C. and later. Afterwards we visit the original house where the independence document was signed in 1912 turned into “Independence Museum”. The house was the first seed of an Independent Albanian Government. Overnight in Vlora

Day 6: Vlora – Apollonia- Ardenica – Durres

After breakfast we depart to the ancient city of Apollonia. Apollonia was named after the god Apollo. It was founded in 588 B.C., by Greeks of Corfu as well, and it prospered because of its role as a link between Brundisium (now Brindisi) in Italy and southern Albania.

Many smaller Greek settlements were established around Albania during this time, but Epidamnus, Butrint, and Apollonia were the most important. We will visit the city and an Orthodox monastery turned into archaeological museum. Afterwards we will proceed to the Monastery of Ardenica. Ardenica Abbey (church) was in the Middle age argued by a stone in entrance dating back to the 1417, but the first building belongs at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Today inside the church you can admire pictures of 1743-1745 years, by Albanian artists. We will have lunch in Ardenica.

Afterwards we depart to Durrës another important ancient town founded in 657 B.C. by Corinthians. Sightseeing tour of the Amphitheatre situated in the middle of the modern town. Overnight in Durrës.

Day 7:  Durrës – Tirana Airport

After breakfast we visit the Archaeological museum rich in artifacts found in and around the city. Drive to the Airport. The end of our service.