Ausflüge in Sarande-Distrikt: Meeting with the guide, you will be transferred for 1.5 hrs through a serpentine mountain road to Gjirokastra for a visit to the "City of Stones". Gjirokastra which is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site is situated in the southern part of Albania, on the slope of the hills of Mali I Gjere, overlooking river Drinos. It became an urban centre by the 13th century. Gjirokastra is mentioned for the first time in a document of 1336, under the name ARGYROPOLIHNE (the township of Argyro), derived, according to the legend. (Princess Argyro, who hurled herself to her death from a tower to avoid falling into the hands of the invaders. Later the town became known as ARGYROKASTRO. Gjirokastra played an important role as the cradle of the patriotic movement of the Albanians for freedom and independence. Gjirokastra or so called “the town of one thousand steps” or “the stone town” is of particular interest for its native architecture. Today we will visit the old bazaar with wood and stone carving shops, old typical houses and quarters protected by UNESCO, the fortress of Argjiro and the Ethnographic Museum of Gjirokastra.
After the visit of Gjirokastra you will be transferred back to Saranda but this time you will stop on top of the Hill where Lekursi Castle is located for lunch. Perfect views from the restaurant overlooking Saranda town, Ionian Sea and Corfu island!
When the tasteful lunch is finished, you will be transferred south 40 minutes drive towards the biggest and most important archaeological site in Albania. The ancient city of Butrint, which is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was first inhabited by Illyrians. Butrint is a special archaeological site – a microcosm of Mediterranean history from the age of the archaic Greeks until the Venetians. The ancient city of Butrint is much preferable to be visited as an archaeological center, where antiquity and beauty intertwine. The archaeological excavations show that Butrint has been an important center of the Kaonian Illyrians, one of the big tribes of southern Illyria. According to discoveries made in the area, it has been proved that the site was inhabited as early as Paleolithic period. In the 6-th century BC Greeks from Corfu settled here, alongside with Illyrians and the new colony prospered as the result of the trade. By the fifth century BC, Buthroton was an Illyrian fortified city. In the fourth century BC Butrint had fallen to Epirus, and in 167 BC it was taken by Rome. Butrint was captured by the Normans in eleventh century and passed to Venice from 1690 to 1797, when Ali Pasha Tepelena captured it. With the fall of the Pashallek of Janina, in 1822, Butrint passed under Ottoman rule until 1913. Several excavations dating from the 1-st and 4-th centuries AD and today, we will visit, among them the Old Amphitheatre, the temple of Asclepiads or Aesculapius, the Baptistery, Nymphaeum and the ancient city walls.
Meeting/pick-up point: Hotel Brilant.
Duration: Eight hours.
Start/opening time: At 8am.