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Berati - an Albanian San Marino

Berati - an Albanian San Marino

Written by Ilirjan Gjika on Wednesday, 09 January 2013. Posted in English

Berat is a White Bethlehem - ..... Indro Montaneli (1939)

Berati - an Albanian San Marino


Berat is a White Bethlehem. Watched from far, it seems a cartoon city, as only Walt Disney can build one, placing with poetry its geometry. Houses, all white with green blinds are one above the other, in the race who arrives first at the top of a rock burned from the sun, which has been divided in two peaces from strong currents of  Osumi ..... Indro Montaneli ( 1939).


We wish you welcome in Berat, one of the most beautiful cities in Albania, where homes sleep on over each other and are illuminated by thousands of windows ...
The town consists of three historic old neighborhoods as Kala, Mangalem and Gorica. I had to monuments, the story and its characters, from among the itj have emerged a number of celebrities where we can mention historical families of Muzakaj and Vrioni. Berat today counts 65 000 inhabitants and is a new university center. The city is also known for numerous cultural exposure values. In the eighteenth century was known as a center of Turkish-Oriental literature, whose most prominent representative was Nezim Berati (Frakulla). In his cathedral church serving as based mitropolitan, preserved treasures such culture as the Codex.the Purple and the Golden ones, considered the world's heritage of Unesco and the famous Epitaph of Gllavinica.
Berat has a diversified landscape consisting of fields, rivers, hills, mountains and mountain ranges. Its northern lowlands of Myzeqeja penetrate up near the city, where Osumi valley narrows considerably. The relief is hilly-mountainous. The most important nature destination, is Tomori National Park with an area of ​​4000 ha.
The City has a very interesting and beautiful history. Archaeologists think that it was inhabited continuously since prehistoric periods. While the township as he rose from the Illyrian IC Dasaretëve and the period paraqytetare VII-VI centuries BC. Another hypothesis states that his first name I was Antipatrea. This name was taken from Macedonian General Antipatri in the year 321 BC.
Antipatrea he was known as an Koinoni of Dasarets, an Illyrian tribe known to occasionally was transformed into an arena of wars and clashes between ancient states. Ancient author who first mentioned Antipatrea was Polybius in 216 BC.
Several years later, precisely in the year 200, the Roman historian Titus Livy describes in his writings, sad that the city became apparent battle between the Romans and the Macedonians. Roman period will pass without any important event in Berat. During the Bulgarian occupation (860-1018) it will turn into one of these imperial power centers in Albania. The city was named Belgrad (white city). With this name it was mentioned for the first time in a letter of Pope Michael VIII. A century later it joined territories of Despotate of Arta. Berat later will go under a number of occupations and somewhere around the year 1350 the city will return to the center of the Albanian principality of Muzakaj. Was Prince Andrew II who took Berat from the hands of Serb commander Jovan Komnen Aseni, brother-in-law of the emperor Stefan Dusan. After a nearly 70-year domination Muzaka family will be forced to submit Berat under Ottoman power in 1417. The Ottoman Empire will be one of the longest for the town itself, giving it the shape of today Berat, the name and characteristics of the world of the Orient.
Even today, these features of Ottoman architecture are found in the city's historic neighborhoods as Kala, Mangalem or Gorica, as well as to religious buildings like mosques of Singles, the Lead Mosque, the dervish lodge Helveti, monumental tombs of Vrioni family, etc..
What to visit
The Castle
Berati Castle is one of the largest forts and saved of the country. Form its distinctive triangular shape that rises above the hill top town with quote 187 m. In the past, the safety of the castle has been great because its projectors built at this hill, where the knife falls on the Osumi southern side, while the eastern and western sides have large slope. Only on the north side of the hill sits sweet to Biftës neck, through which the meandering path that ensures communication.  The walls belong to different periods of construction starting from the IV century BC and completed during the reign of Ali Pasha (1813-1821).
To the first gate on its bow, there is a monogram with the red brick buildings of the Byzantine year 1204.
It Is another historic district of Berat, architecture of which has given name as' A city of the windows''. It is located below the edge of the riverbank of Osumi. It consists of a number of houses built with stones on the back of each other, which seem to 'stick' the castle of the hill.
It is the only district of Berat which lies on the right bank of the Osumi river. The houses climb softly along the hill facing Mangalem, and are larger than Mangalem houses''''. A small alley network permeate all of its neighborhood, in the center of which is the Orthodox church St. Teodori, built in the mid of nineteenth century and decorated with rare frescoes. Besides Gorica bridge was recently constructed a new bridge for motor vehicles. Under Gorica hill are the ruins of another small castle.
For the diversity of monuments and their values ​​in 1961, Berat was declared a museum city. In 2008 he was named as part of the World Heritage list of Unesco. Some of its main monuments  to be visited: Gorica Bridge which was mentioned in 1601 by Ottoman traveler Evliya Çelebi, who states that the bridge consists of nine arches of stone and covered with beams.
The Bridge of Velabishti,  was built by the founder of the Patriarchy of Berat, Ismail Velabishti in 1750.
King Mosque, is the oldest shrine of Islam in Berat. It was built in the XV century by Sultan Bayazid II.
The Singles Mosque, dates back to the building in 1827. Located at neighborhoods of  Mangalem.
Another famous shrine is also the dervish mosque of Helvetie, built in the eighteenth century. In its prayer hall, the visitor can enjoy percious painted frescoes and decorations.
Orthodox Christian cult monuments are known for historical and architectural values. Such churches as St. Mary's Cathedral, built in 1797. It consists of the central nave, altar, porch and a variety of other settings. In this sanctuary is raised the National Museum of Onufri, where are exposed the works of famous Albanian painters, church iconography as Onufri and Joan Çetiri. Other churches, St. Mari-Vllaherna, a thirteenth century church, and St. Trinity and St. Michael Byzantine church of the XIV century. St. Trinity, considered one of the most distinguished monuments of Byzantine architecture. As the church of St. Mëhili, located on the slope of the castle’s hill, knife on its southern side. This pagoda is cross-shaped type with dome and was built with mixed technique of stone and red bricks, bonded with mortar. It consists of the central nave, narthex, beautifully crafted drum domes and craftsmanship that rank it alongside St. Trinity, as Berati’s most beautiful churches.
Ruins of ancient city of Dimal located near the village of today Krotinë western slope Shpirag. The city was fortified by walls and had a mall a necropolis, some houses and an acropolis, which was discovered by archaeologists in the 1960s. Located on the right side of the road Fier-Berat in municipality of Cukalat. Dimali is recognized as one of the cities fortified southern Illyria.
Personal file
Area: 1665 km2
County population: 267 000 inhabitants
Geographical boundary: Fier, Mallakastra, Lushnja, Kuçova, Gramshi, Skrapari, Përmeti, Tepelena
Distances: 120 km from Tirana, 82 km from Vlora
Administrative division: Berat and Ura Vajgurore municipalities, 10 comunes as Cukalat, Kutalli, Lumas, Otllak, Poshnje, Roshnik, Sinjë, Tërpan, Velabisht and Otllak.
Climate: Mediterranean plains, hilly pre-mountainous and mountainous.
Rainfall: 928 mm average.
Temperatures: from 7 degrees Celsius in January to 28 in July


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About the Author

Ilirjan Gjika

Gazetar, historian, studiues. Nje nga bashkepunetoret e pare te Revistes Travel, mjaft aktiv ne shtypin e perditshem dhe botues i disa librave ne fushen e histori-arkeologjise. 

Comments (1)

  • Bona Xhafa

    Bona Xhafa

    10 January 2013 at 10:42 |
    ndihem krenare qe jam pjese e ketij qyteti dhe shpresoj qe edhe ky qytet te ndihet krenar per ne qe nuk e kemi braktisur ate........


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