Gjirokastra - Unique Ottoman Jewel

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Gjirokastra is situated in an historic landscape unchanged in centuries and framed by snow-capped mountains, about one hour drive from Sarande. The old city is famous for its hundreds of Ottoman-style tower houses with distinctive stone roofs, wooden balconies and whitewashed stone walls. Dominated by a vast castle, the second largest in the Balkans, Gjirokastra is a magical city with a rich past. From feudal stronghold to Ottoman jewel , the city was an intellectual center and has inspired many poets, authors and artists. Our guided tour will take us around the network of cobbled streets that climb steeply out of the bazaar taking us back in time. A visit to the Medieval Castle will expose us to stories of medieval rulers and communist atrocities alike. The commanding situation of the castle (guarding one of the main North-South routes of the Balkans) indicates that it must have been since prehistoric times the site of a fort or fortress. Crusaders passed by, looting, raping and pillaging, in the 11th century. One gruesome legend recounts that when the Ottomans invaded in the 14th century Princess Argyro jumped from the highest tower of the castle with her very young son, to escape capture by the Turks. Lunch will be served in a spectacular garden location in the center of the old town with great views of the castle. Our next stop will be at the Ethnographic Museum., which was the former home of the Communist Dictator Enver Hoxha. The old Ottoman houses do not have balconies, but they are richly endowed with well-proportioned windows. Many have elegant verandas. We will see how the old families used to live in the town as we visit the Zekate and Angonati tower houses. We will take with us back to the port many impressions of this unique historical city.

Notes: A minimum participation is required to operate all Yachting Land Adventures and some have limited capacity. All adventures and prices in the SeaDream Yachting Land Adventures program are subject to change. Not all of the land adventures shown will be offered on all voyages and departure times are subject to change. Final pricing and departures times will be published onboard.

Port: Sarande (Butrint)

Duration: 7 hours

Price: 139

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