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Berat Castle - Kalaja 


Berat (Alb. Berati) town located in the central Albania dates back at least 2,400 years. It is considered one of the eldest and most beautiful cities of Albania settled in the 6th century BC. The old Berat town was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in July 2008. It lies on the bank of the Osum River, near to the place where it is joined with the Molisht River. It has a wealth of beautiful buildings of high architectural and historical interest. The Osumi River has cut a 915-metre deep gorge through the limestone rock on the west side of the valley to form a precipitous natural fortress. The town was built on several river terraces around this fortress.

The Fortress of Berat, locally known as Kalaja, present a dominant feature of a town with more than 40,000 people. Most of it was built in the 13th century, although its origin dates back to the 4th century BC. The citadel area numbers many Byzantine churches, mainly from the 13th century, which contain valuable wall paintings and icons. The Medieval fortress was built in the 13th and 14th century on the top of the former fortress, extending 1,400 m in circumference, with 24 towers and four entrance gateways. Town was originally settled in the area of the fortress, from which it was spread down to the river into the current form.


In the town there are several mosques built under the Ottoman Era which started in 1417. Visitor can also see characteristic Berat houses, the Berat National Ethnographic Museum, and the The Onufri National Museum of Icons with beautiful icons of a famous Albanian iconographer of the 16th century. The Onufri National Museum of Icons was named after a well-known fresco painter and iconographer of the 16th century called Onufri who left behind a great collection of works. This museum consists of three rooms with a rich iconographic collection, textiles, metal objects and some religious service items, which proves highly developed craft of the region. 

Berat houses, characteristic for their unique and unchangeable architecture, form closed residential districts of Kala, Mangalem and Gorica, which are formed of typical town houses of the 18th and 19th century.


Trip to Berat is finished by the visit of a family wine cellar Cobo along with wine-tasting. The visitors will be shown extensive samples of winemaking process with detailed explanation of sharing family tradition during this process. Then the visitors are offered a glass of wine. This is a time of sharing their experience with members of the Cobo family. Friendly atmosphere is joined with wine-tasting, tasting of various kinds of Albanian home-made cheese and olives grown in the neighboring olive orchards.