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Durres

 

Durres is situated 38 kilometres west of Tirana. It is very easy to reach this place by train. Direct ferries run between Durres and Italian cities of Triesta and Ankona. There is also ferry line to Slovenian city of Koper. The well-known resort Durres Plazh is situated near Durres. It is famous for its warm sea water and beautiful sand beaches.

Founded by Greeks as early as in the year 627 B.C. this town was the largest port of the Adriatic Sea during many following centuries. Via Egnatia, the pilgrims’ way to the city of Constantinople, the capital of Byzantium, began here. Ruins of Roman, Byzantium and Venice fortresses survive to these days.


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Till the beginning of the 20th century Durres was a Turkish town called Durish. Almost all its inhabitants were converted to Islam. Orthodox churches and temples remained from the times of Byzantium were reconstructed into mosques.

Later, once blooming and beautiful Turkish town lost step by step its importance. In the 19th century its population hardly counted one thousand inhabitants. Travelers visited Durres at that time described it as follows: “The town and the walls around it are dilapidated; there is no more a Byzantium town; its harbor is gradually silted up”.

 


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Now it is a nice place for tourists coming to Albania. It is worth without fail to visit the Archaeological Museum which faces the embankment, town walls of year 481 complemented in the 15th century by round Venetian towers as well as the largest on Balkans Roman amphitheatre (the 2nd century A.D.) which could sit 15 thousand people. There is the old palace of the King Ahmet Zogu decorated with the monument of Skanderbeg near the western part of the amphitheatre. The main sights of Durres include the old town wall, Archaeological Museum, Arapay mosaic Museum, Venetian Tower as well as an exhibition of folklore culture.


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