The city of Berat, history and tradition

The city of Berat is one of the most important of UNESCO world heritage site in Albania. It is a beautiful city with an amazing architecture and the history of it is very interesting.

The history of the city.

Berati is one of the first city that belongs to the early civilizations. The period before the civilizations is over 2000 years BC. The discoveries in the wall of the castle of two hammers made by stones and metal waste from bronze and copper shows that it belongs to bronze period.

Later findings of ceramic shows the development of the settlements in this area and in the fourth BC the place was transformed into a castle the right of Osum river. This scored the origin of the city of Berat. The castle with Illyrian basements was saved through centuries but it was modified in the centuries 6, 13 and 15.

In 216 BC the city was identified as Antipatrea by Polip, an old historian. At that period the romans called the city Albanorum oppidum – fortress of Albanian.

–  In Berat there are two main neighborhoods that are divided by Osum River. They are called Mangalem and Gorica and they are connected by Gorica Bridge. The wooden bridge itself was replaced by a stone one in the later  18th century by Ahmet Kurt Pasha and rebuilt during 1920s (29.3 m long and 5.3m wide, 10 m above the river).

The roads are like the old style and also the houses. There are known for their  harmony in the roads infrastructure made as master piece of architecture. The two neighborhoods together with the old castle are even today the city`s characteristic attractions. The composition of houses is characterized by a unique style of intense numbers of windows, from which it takes the name “City of thousand windows”. Also the tourist`s attention is drawn to the alleys that even though are ‘hidden’, they have an amazing beauty that sometimes seems to hide the buildings inside the neighborhood. Visitors say that alleys like these are not easy forgotten.

Gorica and Mangalem are two opposite neighborhoods, but likewise no other part in town, during winter Gorica never sees the sun. There are also other quarters of the city on the right side of Osum river or along the hill. This composition of houses gives the city the appearance of an amphitheater.

Another thing to do in Berat is to explore the Castle that is one of the biggest inhabited castles with some Byzantine churches within. Also, there is the Onufri Museum inside the castle where you can see the beautifully carved iconostasis. The castle used to have 40 churches and 7 still remain today. The most important churches are St Mary of Vllaherna, St Triada and outside on a rock is St Mehill. The master painter Onufri belongs to the 15th century but he is known to have paint orthodox churches through all Albania and also in Greece and then it follows the work in churches by the son Nicola.

Walking along Republic Boulevard: As a contrast to the Mangalem neighborhood there is the newly built the Republic Boulevard that stand below the old town, parallel to the Osum River. On both sides of the boulevard there are local bars and restaurants so it is a very nice area to have a stop after the visit to the castle.

Warm hospitality by locals: Berat is known for the warmest people that welcome visitors at the door with delicious jams or delights. Everyone, especially inside the castle people, are always very eager to share the history and tradition of their city.

Above all, the food and the cooking in the guest houses or restaurants of Berat is delicious. In Albania the city of Berat is very well-known for the culinary and all the cooking aspects. The most famous are the olives that are prepared in a special way. Another traditional part of this city is jam making. The people who make jam are famous as they have secret recipes from the elderlies.

So, Berat is a city that has a perfect combination of natural beauty, cultural wealth, historical importance and very warm hospitality of locals. We can say that in there, ancient history meets contemporary charm. Thus, a visit to Berat is a must to do in Albania because it will leave you long-lasting memories as a enchanting Albanian pearl.

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