Classical Tour of Albania
Built high above the city, this is still inhabited today
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.
The larger houses have a small garden and are surrounded by a high wall with a single gateway. Others open straight onto the street.
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.
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.
This leads to another gateway into the castle.
The main street is lined with stalls selling beautiful hand embroidered table clothes, blouses and other small tourist items.
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.
In Ottoman times, the garrison was based here in barracks built along the inside of the walls.
There are good views from here down to the walls rund the castle and the River Osum.
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.
The lookout tower at the far end of the castle has good views of Berat.
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.
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