Museum town - Berat

Berat Travel Blog

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Mangalem district

I head out of Tirana to go to the second museum town of Albania. The first part of the trip is surprisingly smooth. The road is in an unusual good condition for Albania - there are only a few potholes in the first couple of hours. And the bus is actually driving pretty fast. But then when we are just about to get t Berat I realize where all the potholes have gone - they were meeting up for the annual family reunion in the giant pothole family. This year the reunion is on the road just north of Berat.

 

The bus drives into Berat and immediately I am impressed with the city.

Houses in Mangalem district
The city is just located down at a river and the houses in the city are just really attractive to look at while the bus drives by. So even before I start exploring this area I like it.

 

I get out from the bus and try to find the place I got a flier from back in Tirana and I start walking down to the river and take the small bridge across to the other side of the river. I walk up the hill towards the place I want to stay. As I walk along I am getting caught by a British bloke who is actually the owner of this brand new place - so I have no problem finding the house. The door to the garden would be easy to recognize anyway given it is clearly labeled with number 295. Street names in Albania in general and Berat in particular is not really something people use. And I think the number on this house is the only house number on any house in the entire Berat area.

 

I get into the place and realize one of the people I had met in Tirana a couple of days before is still staying here - he is feeling a bit poorly though.

Helvete tekke
There are not that many tourists here in Berat but somehow it seems like there is constantly somebody staying at this hostel because they keep getting sick. I also met a pretty sick girl in Tirana who had just gotten back from Berat and somebody had just left the day before after being sick - maybe there is something in the air in this pretty little town.

 

I get ready to go out to do a bit of sightseeing around the town. I really want to go into the narrow streets with all the pretty houses. But then I realize - what I saw from the bus wasn’t really Berat at all. The old town of Berat is actually made up by three separate districts. Gorica where I am staying - it is considered the poor part of the city and the least attractive because the sun is not reaching this part of the city during the winter - hence the local believes this part of town is too cold in the winter. But contrary to the other parts of the city the houses here in Gorica actually got small gardens. On the other side of the river are Mangalem which are the part of the city I saw from the bus when I drove into the city. This is probably the most photogenic part of the town and it is also home to the biggest mosques in the city.

The entrance to the Kalasa district
The old mosques and churches have survived in Berat because it was declared the second museum town in Albania - Gjirokastra - the home town of Enver Hoxha - was the first museum town.

 

After I visited Mangalem I walk up a straight road which is very steep. At first I had actually thought Mangalem were the main attraction in Berat - but it is not. The main attraction in Berat is the Kalasa district which is at the end of this steep road. The road just goes on and on and there is no part of it which is less steep where you can relax a bit. I am reasonable fit and still think this road is pretty hard to walk up - I can only imagine what older people living up in the Kalasa district is feeling when they need to go down to the main part of town. Apparently some people just never leave the Kalasa district. When Berat were admitted to the UNESCO list the local medias interview an old woman and she was asked what she thought were the most important changed in the modern part of Berat during the last decade - and she replied she had not left the Kalasa district the last 30 years because the walk up and down the hill were just too much.

Gorica

 

I finally get to the top of the road and the top is the Kalasa district which surrounded by a wall. This district is the actually sort of a fortress build on the top of the hill. From up here you can see all over the surrounding area. The old town seems well defended and it is easy to see why somebody would choose this location for a fortress. The main feature of the district is definitely the walls of the city - but there s also a lot of the small old churches and nice old houses around this part of the city.

 

Most of the houses in this part of the city are several hundred years old and when they are repaired it is required to restore them in a way so they look like the rest of the city. When I walk around the city I see a couple of people carrying large beams up the hills to do some repairs on one of the old houses. They did use a truck to drive them up most of the way but they still had to carry them the last bit of the way.

 

It is getting a bit late and I get ready to walk down the steep road.

Looking out at distant mountains from the hill top of Kalasa
Walking down should be easy and it is going pretty smoothly - but the road is made of some bricks and it feels a bit slippery. And this is on a day with dry streets - I can only imagine what it will be like to walk down if it is raining. Thanks to the dry weather I make it down the hill all right.

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Mangalem district
Mangalem district
Narrow street in Gorica
Narrow street in Gorica
Houses in Mangalem district
Houses in Mangalem district
Helvete tekke
Helvete tekke
The entrance to the Kalasa district
The entrance to the Kalasa district
Gorica
Gorica
Looking out at distant mountains f…
Looking out at distant mountains …
Houses in the Gorica district
Houses in the Gorica district
Houses in the Gorica district
Houses in the Gorica district
The car bridge across the river
The car bridge across the river
Mangalem district
Mangalem district
Restaurant in Mangalem - top floor…
Restaurant in Mangalem - top floo…
Mosque in Mangalem
Mosque in Mangalem
The Harem - a part of the palace o…
The Harem - a part of the palace …
King mosque
King mosque
King mosque
King mosque
The area with the Helvete tekke
The area with the Helvete tekke
Helvete tekke
Helvete tekke
The king mosque
The king mosque
House in Mangalem
House in Mangalem
New church in town
New church in town
The lead mosque
The lead mosque
The lead mosque
The lead mosque
The lead mosque
The lead mosque
Street in Mangalem
Street in Mangalem
Old gate in Mangalem
Old gate in Mangalem
Street in Mangalem
Street in Mangalem
Street in Mangalem
Street in Mangalem
Street in Mangalem leading up hill…
Street in Mangalem leading up hil…
The entrance to the Kalasa district
The entrance to the Kalasa district
The entrance to the Kalasa district
The entrance to the Kalasa district
The entrance to the Kalasa district
The entrance to the Kalasa district
The entrance to the Kalasa district
The entrance to the Kalasa district
The view from the Kalasa district
The view from the Kalasa district
Houses in the Kalasa district
Houses in the Kalasa district
Houses in the Kalasa district
Houses in the Kalasa district
View from Kalasa
View from Kalasa
Ancient statue of Constantine the …
Ancient statue of Constantine the…
The walls of the Kalasa district
The walls of the Kalasa district
Saint Triada church - Kalasa
Saint Triada church - Kalasa
Saint Triada church - Kalasa
Saint Triada church - Kalasa
House in Kalasa
House in Kalasa
Saint Triada church - Kalasa
Saint Triada church - Kalasa
Looking down at Mangalem
Looking down at Mangalem
The walls of Kalasa
The walls of Kalasa
The citadel in Kalasa district
The citadel in Kalasa district
The citadel in Kalasa district
The citadel in Kalasa district
The citadel in Kalasa district
The citadel in Kalasa district
The citadel in Kalasa district
The citadel in Kalasa district
The citadel in Kalasa district
The citadel in Kalasa district
The remains of the red mosque - Ka…
The remains of the red mosque - K…
House in Kalasa
House in Kalasa
Looking down at the roofs of Manga…
Looking down at the roofs of Mang…
The new city of Berat
The new city of Berat
The mosque in Mangalem and the Tek…
The mosque in Mangalem and the Te…
New city
New city
The mountains in the area
The mountains in the area
Houses in Kalasa
Houses in Kalasa
The wall of Kalasa
The wall of Kalasa
Road just within the walls of Kala…
Road just within the walls of Kal…
The wall of Kalasa
The wall of Kalasa
Banesa E LLezar Haxhistases - end …
Banesa E LLezar Haxhistases - end…
Church in Kalasa
Church in Kalasa
Houses in Kalasa
Houses in Kalasa
Street in Kalasa just within the w…
Street in Kalasa just within the …
The wall and a guard tower
The wall and a guard tower
Chickens running around inside the…
Chickens running around inside th…
Kalasa district
Kalasa district
Saint Todri church
Saint Todri church
Statue in Kalasa
Statue in Kalasa
Street and canon in Kalasa
Street and canon in Kalasa
Street in Kalasa
Street in Kalasa
Church in Kalasa
Church in Kalasa
Street corner in Kalasa
Street corner in Kalasa
Street corner in Kalasa
Street corner in Kalasa
Narrow street in Kalasa
Narrow street in Kalasa
Saint Marias sleep church - in Ka…
Saint Maria's sleep church - in K…
Saint Colli church - in Kalasa
Saint Colli church - in Kalasa
Saint Colli church - in Kalasa
Saint Colli church - in Kalasa
Street life in Kalasa
Street life in Kalasa
Houses in Kalasa
Houses in Kalasa
Houses in Kalasa
Houses in Kalasa
Houses in Kalasa
Houses in Kalasa
Houses in Kalasa
Houses in Kalasa
Houses in Kalasa
Houses in Kalasa
Houses in Kalasa
Houses in Kalasa
Houses in Kalasa
Houses in Kalasa
Houses in Kalasa
Houses in Kalasa
Houses in Kalasa
Houses in Kalasa
Mountains seen from Kalasa
Mountains seen from Kalasa
New city - from Kalasa
New city - from Kalasa
Part of the fortyfications in Kala…
Part of the fortyfications in Kal…
House in the new part of Berat clo…
House in the new part of Berat cl…
Mangalem
Mangalem
Stair up the road in Mangalem
Stair up the road in Mangalem
Gorica
Gorica
Looking at Gorica from Mangalem
Looking at Gorica from Mangalem
A little reamin from the former ru…
A little reamin from the former r…
Small street in Gorica
Small street in Gorica
Church in Gorica
Church in Gorica
Berat Sights & Attractions review
Museum town of Berat
Albania got a couple of old museums town - they were named museum towns under the communist regime - and this was a great advantage because it meant t… read entire review
Berat Sights & Attractions review
Onufri Museum
There are many churches in the Kalasa district of Berat but in the biggest one is a nice main room with traditional gold and paintings of an orthodox … read entire review
Berat
photo by: tj1777