Kind of Tour: Cultural/Religious Kode of Tour: ETTAR01 Length of Tour: 8 nights /9 days Itinerary: Tirana – Krujë(Sari Saltik) – – Laç(St.Anthony church) – Rubik(Shelbuem) – Shkodër – Fushe Krujë(Betania, Bubq) – Kavajë – Berat – Ardenica – Apollonia – Vlorë – Llogora -= Dhërmi – Mesopotam – Labov Cross – Gjirokastra – […]
Itinerary: Tirana – Krujë(Sari Saltik) – – Laç(St.Anthony church) – Rubik(Shelbuem) – Shkodër – Fushe Krujë(Betania, Bubq) – Kavajë – Berat – Ardenica – Apollonia – Vlorë – Llogora -= Dhërmi – Mesopotam – Labov Cross – Gjirokastra – Përmet – Voskopojë – Korçë – Tushemisht – Ohrid – Pogradec – Elbasan – Tirana
Description of the tour:
One of the most important values of Albania is the co-existence between communities. The fact that there are four official religions in Albania reveals that Albania is rich in cult objects and history.
Day 1: Tirana
Arrival at “Mother Teresa” Airport, meet & greet by our representative and transfer to hotel. Visit at the National Historic Museum in Tirana offering an in-depth introduction to Albanian history from prehistoric times to present day. Welcome dinner at a traditional Albanian restaurant with live music. Overnight in Tirana.
Day 2: Tirana – Kruja (Sari Saltik) – Church of St.Anthony (Lac) – Rubik – Shkodër
After breakfast we will visit the main religious building, we will visit the Mosque in the center, the Orthodox Cathedral and the Catholic one. Afterwards we will depart to Kruja. In Kruja we will visit the Castle of Kruja, the National Museum of Scanderbeg and the Ethnographic Museum and we will walk on the old bazaar of artisans of Kruja. Afterwards, we will depart to the “Teqe of Sari Saltik”, in the top of the mountain. We will have lunch here, enjoying the traditional food and the panoramic view.
After lunch we will depart to the church dedicated to St.Anthony of Padua, known by Albanians as “Kisha e Lacit” or “Kisha e Shna Ndout”. It is a place for pilgrims. The pilgrimage culminates on the 13th of June and thousands of Albanians from different cities become part of this pilgrimage hoping that by lighting a candle inside the church, praying inside the cave, walking three times around the church, or sleeping one night close to the church will transmit them a piece of holiness and alleviate their problems.
After visiting this church we will continue to the old Church of Shelbuem in Rubik. Afterwards, we will depart to Shkodra, will follow the procedures for accommodation and prepare for the dinner in a traditional restorant. Meanwhile we will have a walk in the old city, in the famous square known from locals as “Piazza”. Overnight in Shkodra.
Day 3: Shkoder – Fushe Krujë – Kavajë – Berat
After breakfast we will visit the Mosque of Lead, built from Mehmet Pashe Bushatlliu, the governor of Pashalleku of Bushatllinj during the ottoman emperor, in the nineteenth century. We continue our tour to Fushe Kruja, where we will have a stop at the “Betania” center in the Bubq village, where it was the last stop of Pope Francis during his visit in Albania. In this center there are about 70 ophan children sheltered, from different religions.
Later on, we will continue to Kavaja, the Mosque of Kavaja, or as it is known “Kubelije”, and it was built between 1835 – 1838. We will have lunch here in Kavaja. After lunch we will continue our trip to Berat, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is also known as “the city of thousand windows”. After the check-in into the hotel, we will have a walk in the neighborhood called “Mangalem” and visit the ethnographic museum. Overnight in Berat.
Day 4: Berat – Ardenice – Apolloni – Vlorë – Llogora
After breakfast we will visit the Castle and the Onufri museum, the St.Trinity curch. People are still living within the walls of the castle, just like their ancestors did. Onufri was an Albanian Icon master painter of the 16th century who painted many orthodox churches in Albania and Greece.
Afterwards we continue to Vlora. On the way to this city, we visit Ardenica and Apollonia. Ardenica is an Orthodox monastery built in the 13th century. It is thought that it was in this idyllic place that the marriage of the Albanian national hero Scanderbeg was celebrated in the 15th century. After Ardenica we proceed to Apollonia, situated on the famous Via Egnatia. Apollonia was founded at the beginning of the 7th century BC by the Greek colonists and in Roman times, it was a large and flourishing city (with 50.000 residents in the second century BC) near Aos river (today Vjosa). The monastery (which houses the museum) courtyard enclosed a Byzantine church dating back to the 14th century. We will have lunch in Apollonia. After lunch we continue to Vlora. We will visit here the Muradie Mosque, built on the 1540 and the House Museum of the Flag, where the flag was raised and was proclaimed the independence of the Albanian state, and who served as the first headquarters of the Albanian government. Visit the monument of independence and cemetery of Ismail Qemali, Prime Minister and founder of the Albanian state. Continue our trip to the Llogora National Park, we proceed for the hotel accommodation. Dinner with traditional food of the area. Overnight in Llogora.
Day 5: Llogora – Dhërmi – Mesopotam – Gjirokastra
After breakfast, we will have some time to enjoy the panoramic view of Llogora with the most dramatical mountain of the Mediterranean in one side and the sea on the other side. We continue to Dhërmi, a beautiful village of the Albanian Riviera. We will have a stop in the old village to visit the old churches and the monastery of this village. We will continue our trip to Mesopotam, along the Albanian Riviera, enjoying the views of the villages located in these landscapes. We will have lunch in a traditional restorant. After lunch our trip will continue to Mesopotam, to visit here the Monastery, built during the Byzantine Empire Konstandini 9.
Afterwards, we will continue to Ano Labova e Kryqit. On the way we will have a short stop on the Blue eye, formed by underground springs. Labova e Kryqit is one of the most interesting monuments in Albania, dedicated to St.Maria. This church is one of the oldest church in Albania, and it was used to hold a saint relict, that it is thought it belonged to the real wood of the Cross of Jesus. The church is a Byzantine typical building, that is mainly built on the 13th century during the Epirus Despotat, even a preliminary foundation goes on the time of the Justinan emperior on the year 527-565 a.c. After visiting this church we continue to Gjirokastra. Dinner in a tradionial restaurant accompanied by the music of Isopoliphony, another intangible Unesco World Heritage. Overnight in Gjirokastra.
Day 6: Gjirokastër – Përmet – Voskopojë
After breakfast we visit the castle of Gjirokastra, the largest castle of Albania, and the Weapons Museum inside this castle. We will also pay a visit to the Ethnographic Museum, which is located in the house where the Albanian ex-dictator (Enver Hoxha) was born. We continue our trip to Përmeti, where we will have the lunch with traditional food. After lunch we will visit the Churc of Leusa, a postbyzantyne church. Afterwards, we continue our trip to Voskopoja, one of the most important towns in the Balkans during the beginning of the 18th century. Accomodation in hotel, and dinner in a traditional restorant.
Day 7: Voskopoja – Korça – Ohrid – Tushemisht
After breakfast we visit the village with its most important church with frescoes from the Zeografi brothers. On this day we cross the border with Macedonia to the beautiful town of Ohrid. But before arriving in Ohrid, we will make a quick stop in Korça where we will see the first school of Albania, The Mosque of Mirahori (one of the oldest in the country) and the Orthodox Cathedral. After these visits we will go to Macedonia where we will visit St. Naum Monastery. In the monastery we follow the path of St. Naum, meeting the legends of all the miracles he made before and after he built his church on the top of the rock. A visit of the monastery and the springs of Black (Crni) Drin i Zi River. Here in St.Naumi we will have the lunch. After lunch we continue our trip to Ohrid where we will visit the following places: the Church “St. Sofia”, built between the 11th and 14th century, which was the seat of the Archbishop. “St. Clement”, a classic Orthodox Byzantine church, dominating the Old Town, demonstrates the link between Byzantine and Italian Renaissance art. At “Plaoshnik”, in the 9 the century, St. Clement of Ohrid founded the first University of Europe and educated 3.500 students, St. John at Kaneo, which is built on the shore of the Lake at the western end of the Old Town, and provides spectacular panoramic views of the Lake and surrounding mountains, Samuil fortress, etc. Other visits include– Saint Sophia Cathedral, Saint Painteleimon Church, The Holy Virgin of Peribleptos Church, Icon Galery,-and old Bazaar. After this full day tour, we proceed to the small, traditional village of Tushemisht (Albania) where we will spend the night.
Day 8: Tushemisht – Elbasan – Tirana
After breakfast we visit the park of Drilon and Villa Art that used to be the old fishing villa of the dictator. On the way we stop at the castle and the old church of Elbasan. The lunch will be in Petrela with traditional food.
After lunch, when we arrive in Tirana we will visit the Bektashi Order World Headquarters and speak to the Baba. The Bektashi are a liberal sect of Islam founded in Turkey who spread quite vastly in the southern Albania regions due to their tolerance and romanticism. During the coming into power of the so-called John Turks they were prosecuted and the leaders found refuge and the conditions to thrive among the already established community in Albania. This led to the World Headquarters to be moved to Albania where they remain today.
The afternoon is free to explore. Overnight in Tirana.
Day 9: Tirana – Airport
After breakfast, free time to explore Tirana, followed by the airport transfer and departure.