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Gjirokastra: General Info Print E-mail
Gjirokastra, the "Stone City", situated in the southern part of Albania, on the the easter slope of mountain Mali i Gjere. It is a commercial center in South Albania, it produces foodstuffs, leather, and textiles. There are several 18th-century mosques and churches and an old citadel (rebuilt in the 19th cent.) in the town. Dating probably from the 4th cent., Gjirokastër passed to the Turks in the 15th cent. It was captured (1811) by Ali Pasha and was the center (late 1800s) of anti-Turkish resistance. In World War II it was occupied by Italy, Greece, and Germany in succession. Enver Hoxha, the Albanian Communist party leader, was born thereGjirokastra is museum city with charasterist houses made from stone.

What strikes the visitors most in Gjirokastra are its typical and characteristic houses which resemble little fortresses, clustered one above the other. Their exterior combines roughness with the beauty of windows, small rooms and light pillars supporting the roofs prtotruding from the walls.
Gjirokastra, albania, city view
The most attractive feature is the stone which has been masterfully elaborated by the builders. Hence Gjirokastra has been called the "city of one thousand steps" or "the stone city".

Gjirokastra´s population is around 40,000 and one of the biggest cities of southern Albania. The name Gjirokastra comes from Illyrian Argyres Tribe which inhabited these parts of Europe.

Gjirokastra is a home of traditional Albanian folk festival, usually on fall every four.The National Folklore Festival has its beginnings in year 1968, when it was organized for the first time in Gjirokastra. Since then, it is held once in four years, and it has become the symbol of the Albanian national folklore. This Festival is the amphitheater of the best offered by the Albanian tradition, music vibes and instruments, folk art and costumes. Happening to be a visitor during the days of the Festival, the ambiance and the sensations one gets, is like walking in and interacting with the ancient folklore, or having at a grip or glance what it would take to travel all over Albania and see with your own eyes.  

About  1100 Albanian singers and dancers from Albania, Kosova (three groups), Maqedonia (one group), Montenegro (one group), Italia (one group), Germania (one group), Switland (one group) and USA (one group) were together in the Castle from September 29 to October 5, 2004.

Source: The Albanian Institute of Tourism & Environmental Developments

Last Updated ( Friday, 15 April 2005 )
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