Berati, the city of “one over one window,” is located south of Albania, 120km from Tirana’s capital city. Berati is one of the oldest cities in Albania, is more than 2400 years old. Everything in the city tells an old story. Refers to archeological discoveries, life in the city has started from VII century BC. Since 2008 Berati is part of UNESCO World Heritage. The architecture and nature of Berati are really breathtaking.
Things to do in Berat:
The castle is the gold crown of the city. Is located up to the hill, accessible by car or on foot. You can feel antiquity walking along the cobblestone road from the city center up to the castle. The area that it encompasses is 10 ha, all inhabited. The magnitude of this castle showed by the walls at the entrance, constructed of huge stones. The view of all the city from the castle is impressive. There are located attractive byzantine churches church, “Holy Trinity Church,” “Holy Saint George,” etc., and the most important “Onufri museum,” which is the National Iconographic Museum. Also, from Ottoman Empire are constructed a White mosque and a Red mosque. Many legends are based on the beauty of the castle; locals tell these to most tourists. Unique architecture, magnificent entrance, amazing landscape are why hundreds of tourists visit the castle in a day.
The National Iconographic Museum “Onufri” is dedicated to iconography and Byzantine art in Albania, especially in Berat. Ounfri was an Albanian painting Headmaster of the 16th century. This museum is exposed to icons and liturgical objects from Albanian artists created in the 14th – 20th centuries.
Mangalem and Gorica
You enter the city, a magical landscape displayed. A river divides the city into two parts. On the left of the river is located the castle and Mangalemi neighborhood, and on the other side lies Gorica neighborhood. Unique architecture forms the Ottoman period, with a white house and one over one window. These neighborhoods give the impression of a “Huge Amphitheater.” Internal roads are cobblestone. Houses are constructed of stone and wood. All white facades are in front of the river, so the windows and balconies’ view is really amazing. You can enjoy this magical staying in the old house that already is a guest house. Albanians are very hospitable; wooden gates are always open for tourists.
Osumi river flows through Berati city. Two parts of the city, Gorica and Mangalem neighborhoods connected by Gorica Bridge. The bridge is one of the oldest in Albania from the Ottoman Empire. With the seven arches, the Bridge is 129 meters long and 5.3 meters wide. When the bridge built in 1780 was from wood, but it was rebuilt with stone in 1920. Now the most beautiful ornament of the city welcomes visitors to shoot wonderful photos.
Make sure to visit the Ethnographic museum. This museum tells more about Albania and Berati traditions. On the first floor are exposed to medieval carpets and other side traditional and souvenirs markets. Also on this floor is located the pavilion of antiquity. On the second floor are the guest room, archive, and loom. Outside are some originals objects that tell more about Albanian culture.
In the evening you can feel the scent of the city, walking on the promenade, through a new city. A new promenade lies near Osumi river; the gurgling of river water is heard everywhere. Visitors enjoy street food, ice creams, roasted corns, popcorns, roasted chestnuts, walking, or relaxing on benches near the river. Also, all coffee bars or sweet shops are another possibility to exploit for relaxing.
An old town, Berati, has many old Byzantine churches. You think that the time has stopped when you enter a church. The stone walls tell more about history. The icons on the wall are stunning. The pulpit and iconostasis and the throne are admirable.
Churches are located in Castle, Mangalemi, and Gorica neighborhood. In the city center, you can visit Saint Demetrius Cathedral.
The Red mosque was probably built in the 15th century by Ottomans and is one of Albania’s oldest mosques, located in the castle. Also in the castle is located the White mosque. In the city center, you can visit the lead mosque.
Traditional food in Berat
You can’t miss the traditional and local food. In the city are many restaurants that offer traditional food and Mediterranean food, but you can enjoy the real traditional and local food in the villages nearby. Not far from Berati are many traditional restaurants they offer local food, all fruits and vegetables are from their farms. Berati’s village is famous for wine and vineyards. You can visit amazing grape plantations and then enjoy a delicious meal. You shouldn’t miss homemade bread (kulaç), homemade cheese (djath nape), roasted lamb or goat, Albanian pie, and season fruits and vegetables. Berat is “recommended” to drink grape (raki), a traditional alcoholic drink, and local wine.
Hiking in Tomorr mountain.
Tomorri mountain (2416 meters high) consider Albanian Olympus. Albanians believe that it is a Saint place. Every August, thousands of Albanian pilgrimage to the mountain. Believe it or not, hiking in Tomorri mountain is the most attractive experience. In summer, a hundred tourists and many alpinists climb Tomorri every day. Wonderful nature, very fresh air, amazing meadows attract to climb more and more. In the winter it snows very much, everything and everywhere is white, hiking and climbing is very dangerous, the only adventuresses is “allowed” in the mountain.
Rafting in Skrapar
Are you ready for some adrenaline? Osumi canyons are waiting, only 50 km from Berati. It’s the biggest canyon in Albania. It is difficult to believe that landscape is a reality. During the spring and the summer, high water from melting snow makes it possible to explore the canyon’s whole length from the river. The length for rafting, canoeing, or kayaking is approximately 15 km. An amazing waterfall makes the visit to canyons magical.
Welcome to Berat!
“An Albanian’s house is the dwelling of God and the guest.”