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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Guide into the city of Berat Low-Cost ( in the castle, in the quarters Gorica and Mangalem, in the museum Onufri and the ethnographic museum ) This guide is in Albanian, English and Italian and costs 12 € / person

Logo Castle park
TOUR IN THE CITY OF BERAT
VISIT the Web side for more information http://www.castle-park.com

Hotel Castle Park offers the guide into the city of Berat ( in the castle, in the quarters Gorica and Mangalem, in the museum Onufri and the ethnographic museum ) This guide is in Albanian, English and Italian and costs 12 € / person.

The City Of Berat

Berat is a unique city, occupying a unique place and boasting a long and remarkable history. In this beautiful location, where the waters of the Osum River have carved a nook, Berat perches majestically on the side of the mountain. The beginnings of human civilization here date back at least 2,400 years. The city that has sprung up here, at the confluence of the magnificent mountain and the ever-changing river, has inspired many to write of what they have seen:

“I am Onufri, coming from the multi, shiny city of Berat.”--Onufri, 16th century painter

“Berati is beautiful, to be everlasting beautiful.”--Johann Strauss, composer

“These values, this museum and the city of Berat does not belong just to you but to the whole humankind.” --Perez de Cuellar, Peruvian diplomat

“Beautiful Castle as heavenly gardens – genial and opened city of Berat.” --Evlia Çelebiu, writer and historian.

The Castle

The most ancient monument here is Berat Castle. It stands on a 187m high hill, which drops away toward the south where a dramatic precipice towers over the river. The walls of the castle echo the surrounding landscape, and its design is distinctive. Viewed from the north, you can see only the primary gates—no other ramparts are visible from this perspective.

Evlia Çelebiu wrote, at the end of the seventeenth century, "The castle of Berat is built on a rocky ravine, which stretches south from the star wind… has three doors, 100 steps by an 'other, and each is a great port itself. Two of them look towards the north, another east. The stones of the foundations of this castle are large as the body of an elephant. Stones of this size are only in Jerusalem.”

Enclosing an area of 9.6 hectares, the castle further fortifies its walls with 24 towers. These are of various shapes and sizes, and were built during different periods. The northern part of the castle contains a further fortified court area. This is one of the first known examples of this building technique, which was intended to help divert attacks.

Through a series of tunnels and cisterns, the castle is also able to supply fresh water for its inhabitants. The castle’s proximity to the river undoubtedly helped in this regard. The highest part of the castle is located at the acropolis, which is also surrounded by walls, and contains the remains of homes in the military garrison and the white mosque of the Ottoman period.

The castle has of course been modified over time to take advantage of changing technologies and advances in weaponry. Specifically, one can observe that some towers have been retrofitted with cannon capabilities and small slits to accommodate.

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Mangalemi And Gorica

Mangalem and Gorica are two neighborhoods which, along with the still-inhabited castle, make up the three distinct areas of the present day city of Berat.

The Mangalem district is a marvel of architecture and engineering—even by today’s standards. The neighborhood itself if nearly pyramidal in shape, and echoes the silhouette of the nearby hill, atop which sits Berat Castle. Berat is sometimes known as the “City of Windows,” and one can see why when looking at Mangalem, where all windows look down toward the river. Its delicate, narrow streets follow the contour of the hill and allow for sweeping vistas of the city and surrounding countryside.

Gorica

Gorica lies at the foot of the mountain and faces Mangalem. While it has its own distinct charm, the mountain prevents it from getting much direct sun during the winter. Other districts and neighborhoods surround central Berat and create an environment similar to a large amphitheatre.
The Bridge of Gorica

Gorica Bridge

Gorica Bridge was originally crafted of wood in 1780, but was later rebuilt of stone. The reconstruction took place from 1920—1930. The stone bridge boasts some impressive measurements: it is 129m long, 5.3m wide, and rises 10m above the average water level. With its 7 arches, it is beautiful and magnificent. This river crossing is not without intrigue, however: local legend says that the original wooden bridge contained a sort of prison, where a girl would be incarcerated and allowed to starve, thereby appeasing the spirits and ensuring the safety of the bridge. The distinctive white stones covering the outside of the bridge have given rise to its status as a distinct cultural and geographical landmark.

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The Legend

This area is rich in folklore, and accounts of the geographical formations of the region are no exception. According to the legend of the history of the area, Tomor Mountain was personified by a giant who fought his brother Shpirag (also the personification of a nearby mountain) for the love of a young woman. Although both were armed and fought valiantly, they both died in the end. The legend continues to explain that the sorrow-filled tears of the woman whose love they sought flowed deep and created the Osum River. The girl is said to have turned into the large stone, upon which the castle was built.

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The Codes Of Berat

Several “codes” or parchment manuscripts have been recovered in Berat, and reveal some details of the history and culture of the area. Residents of Berat are universally proud of these manuscripts and recognize their historical significance. The most important codes are Code Purple and Code Aureus.

Code Purple, known also by its Latin name, Codex Purpureus Beratinus, was written in an ink of distinctive color, from which its name is derived. It contains songs originating from the biblical Gospels of Matthew and Mark and is written in Greek. Discovered in 1868, the code was extensively examined by historian Pierre Battifol in 1884. He determined that it represents a rare expression of a Greek text and, at the time it was written in the 6th century, was among only a handful of manuscripts of this type.

The Aureo Code, or Codex Aureus, is a 9th century manuscript, also written in Greek. It clearly was influenced by the Gospels, as well, and has been well preserved on parchment. It currently resides in a library within the Castle of Berat, where manuscripts of this type have been stored and studied since at least 1346.

Historical evidence indicates that Berat and surrounding areas have a lengthy history of producing these types of manuscripts. From the 6th to the 19th century, scholars came to the area to write and study. This activity continues today as modern historians peer into the past through the many codes and original documents found here. Indeed, the fact that 76 of the 100 codes protected in the National Archive are from Berat, indicates the importance of the area in the production of such important historical documents.

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