Berat was founded in the 13th century, probably on the site of the ancient Greek settlement of Antipatrea. Under Turkish rule from 1440, Berat was the center of the Albanian nationalist movement in the late 19th century in which Albanians waged a struggle to win autonomy from the Ottoman Empire. Berat is known as the site of meetings in October 1944 in which the Albanian Communist Party formed a provisional government headed by Enver Hoxha. Population (1990 estimate) 43,800.

During the second century B.C. the town was called Antipatrea. it was a strategic fortress of the Illyrian Dasaretes tribe. In the ninth century the town was captured by the Bulgarians, who held it until the eleventh century and renamed it, Beligrad (white City), from which the present name is derived. During the thirteenth century, it fell to Michael Angelus Comnenus, the despot of Epirus; in 1345 to the Serbs; and in 1450 to the Turks. After the Ottoman conquest it fell into decline, and at the end of the sixteenth century had only 710 houses. Berat began to revive in the seventeenth century, especially after an earthquake in 1851, becoming a craft centre, noted particularly for its artistic wood carving. In 1809, it was seized by Ali Pahsa Tepelena.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 27 October 2005 )