The Seven Albanian Assets That Are Part Of The World Heritage
A small country like Albania but with rare assets and a rich cultural heritage, where seven of them are already placed by UNESCO in the world heritage lists. IntoAlbania brings them together by showing us its many natural, spiritual and cultural riches.
This rare microcosm of Mediterranean history was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1992 and tops every international list of attractions to see in Albania! The 2500-year-old ruins of Butrint, within a magnificent green park with an area of 30 km, are some of the most beautiful and well-maintained in Europe. The theater of the 3rd century BC, the Temple of Aesculapius (1st – 2nd century), the ancient god of health, and the mosaic with 69 church medallions are just three of Butrint’s masterpieces. Butrint Lake, the Vivari canal that connects the Butrint Valley with the Ionian Sea, the nearby Triangular Castle, and the dense forests that cover the entire landscape are some of the reasons why the ancient Buthrotum is mentioned in Virgil’s epic poem. , Eneidi
Known as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, this unique city is built on steep slopes, with stone houses that seem to be built on top of each other. Along with the most famous houses in the country, such as the childhood of Ismail Kadarsa or Enver Hoxha, but also of other prominent local families, in the cobbled streets of this city is the oldest bazaar and castle in the Balkans. The stone city is known no less for its mountainous panorama, which surrounds Gjirokastra as a whole. And if necessary, on the outskirts of Gjirokastra are the beautiful ancient cities of Antigone and Adrianople as well as some rare natural beauties such as Lake Viro and the Canyon of Lengarica among many others.
It is the special architecture of the city that has positioned Berat as one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Albania. Divided into two historic neighborhoods, Mangalemin and Gorica, by the Osum River, the town is joined by the Gorica stone bridge. This city, once called Antipatrea, is surrounded by Tomori and Shpiragu, two of the most mythical mountains in Albania. And so Berat occupies a special place in the map of nature lovers. Mountain climbing, cycling, rafting or kayaking are just some of the outdoor activities you can do around this city. The medieval castle of Berat together with the National Museum of Onufri also offer a rare trip. Not to be forgotten are the Medieval Center in Berat and the famous cuisine of this city!
Codex of Berat
It is worth mentioning here these manuscripts of special historical importance for the beginnings of biblical literature which are officially called “The Purple Codex of Berat.” The codex was inscribed on the list of the most important works of mankind, the so-called UNESCO World Memory, in 2005. The two Berat codices, published in 1887, are part of the group of “seven purple codices” of written in 13 different countries in Europe between the 6th and 8th centuries. Once upon a time, two codices, written in ancient Greek, were kept in the church of St. George in Berat, but today they are in the National Archives of Albania.
With a depth of 285 m, Lake Ohrid is the deepest in the Balkans and wet for the most part Macedonia (Ohrid, Struga), and Pogradec in Albania. “Lake of Light” was declared a natural resource by UNESCO in 1980 and, since July 2019, the Albanian part of the lake is part of the UNESCO list. It took a full 4 million years to create a lake of this size, and it all started when land began to collapse in the western part of the Dinaric Alps. Today, this beautiful lake of swans is an ecosystem containing more than 200 species, including the Koran, the delicious fish that swims only in these waters. There are many beautiful places, such as Pogradec, Fashti Lin or many other villages in this area which are surrounded by the soothing view of this lake where the latter can be enjoyed best.
Gashi River is one of the two Albanian nature reserves included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. With an area of 3000 ha, the Gashi valley is located in the basin of the Valbona National Park, northeast of the Alps, in the district of Tropoja, very far from the inhabited area. A large part of the surface of the Gashi River is covered with virgin beech forests and these ancient forests are the reason why Albania has joined 12 other countries in the UNESCO list. This natural wonder preserves one of the most untouched natures in Albania! Near the Gashi River are the glacial lakes of Doberdol and Sylbica, which give the whole area a fabulous view.
Second on the UNESCO World Heritage List is Rrajca, part of the European Green Belt of beech forests as well as one of the few places where the Balkan lynx is found. Near the area of Përrenjas or Librazhd, this area of 4700 ha, includes four amazing glacial lakes. Rrajca is part of the Shebenik-Jabllanica National Park, which is still relatively unknown because it was a restricted border area during half a century of communist dictatorship. It was exactly this closure, which today constitutes one of its biggest assets, as about 34 thousand ha of land full of forests, meadows and colorful flowers, are extremely untouched.
This way of singing, inherited for generations, is now known as the wealth of the whole world. The art of iso-polyphony was declared by UNESCO in 2005 as the oral and spiritual heritage of mankind and is included in the 50 most attractive attractions of the peoples of the world. Even the famous British poet Byron, suggested by the magic of iso-polyphony, has dedicated some verses to her. Time has rewarded this heritage of Albanians from century to century, and it remains one of the most protected and memorable in the country. This song is as quiet as it is shocking to be sung or, more precisely, to be held, by two, three or four voices, who come together to achieve true harmony. Iso-polyphony is held as a communicative practice that has reached our days since the time of Homer!