Classical Tour of Albania

Day 6 - Berat Castle


Built high above the city, this is still inhabited today


Berat castle towers above the Mangalem quarter of Berat and controlled all movement along the valley. Although the area has been fortified since the C4th BC, most of what you see today dates from the C13th and is still inhabited today. Inside the walls is a network of narrow cobbled streets lined with houses, dating from the C18th and C19th. 

Berat Castle, Albania

Berat Castle, Albania

The larger houses have a small garden and are surrounded by a high wall with a single gateway. Others open straight onto the street.

Berat Castle, Albania

Berat Castle, Albania

Berat Castle, Albania

Some houses have upper floor extending out over the street to increase the living areas. While most houses are now in a reasonable state of repair, others are in a poor state with external plasterwork flaking off to reveal the construction of the walls.

Berat Castle, Albania

The castle is reached by a steep climb from the city and is surrounded by massive C13th walls with watch towers. The stone work is interspersed with tiles. Inside massive flights of steps lead up to the tops of the walls.
 
Berat Castle, Albania  Berat Castle, Albania

Through the main gateway is a large cobbled courtyard with good views over the surrounding countryside with terraced slopes with olive trees.
 
Berat Castle, Albania

Berat Castle, Albania

Berat Castle, Albania

This leads to another gateway into the castle.

Berat Castle, Albania

The main street is lined with stalls selling beautiful hand embroidered table clothes, blouses and other small tourist items.

Berat Castle, Albania

At the top of the site and surrounded by another wall, is the citadel with a sturdy keep. This was the residence for nobility. In times of trouble the rest of the population with their animals, could move into this area  for safety.

Berat Castle, Albania

Berat Castle, Albania

Berat Castle, Albania

In Ottoman times, the garrison was based here in barracks built along the inside of the walls.

Berat Castle, Albania

Berat Castle, Albania

There are good views from here down to the walls rund the castle and the River Osum.

Berat Castle, Albania

The population of Berat was Christian, so two mosques were built for the garrison. Little is left of the Red Mosque, apart from its brick minaret.

Berat Castle, Albania

The lookout tower at the far end of the castle has good views of Berat.

Berat Castle, Albania

The new boulevard can be seen very clearly as well as the modern university. There was concern from UNESCO that its architecture clashed with the Ottoman architecture of the old town.

Berat Castle, Albania

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