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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Albania summer 2013 tour, Duration 7 nights:8 days | price- from 350 euro this tour starts form tirana or saranda and is guaranteed for min 10 participants. accommodation on 3 or 4 * hotels on bb: hb bases. transfers with ac minivan or coach

SUMMER 2013 IN ALBANIA south coast....

The rugged coasts of Albania have a way of hypnotizing the stranger, with their immense heights, intense rough, rocky mountains followed by the sudden fall, down to the gentle turquoise waters below. I found myself asking where has this place been hiding until now?
The South coast of Albania begins to shine and sparkle from the city of Vlorë all the way down to Ksamil. It appears that this diamond in the dust has finally begun to attract the friendly tourist. With its tourist numbers rising each year, now is the time to find out what the fuss is about.
Top places for the adventurous camper to visit are; Dhërmi, Gjipe and the more popular Jale.
Getting to the South of Albania may be easier than expected. There are many bus companies that travel to the less accessible Dhërmi or Jale. These are easier to get to from the capital city of Tirana. Traveling by bus is also the cheapest form of travel, costing approximately €13 from Tirana to Dhërmi.
On a larger scale, getting to Tirana, there are four means of traveling into the country; by bus, by airplane, by ferry or by car. By bus is again more obviously the cheapest form of travel yet the longest. If you’re up for an exciting journey and a view of the Balkans in its true glory, I do recommend this way of traveling. You can take a bus from Prishtina, Kosovo to Tirana. Belgrade, Serbia to Tirana or Skopje, Macedonia to Tirana. On the way you will see small ghetto villages as well as prospering towns and cities. You will meet hospitable people, people in the Balkans, you will find will cater to your every need and are very fond of the tourist; their hospitability is embedded in their tradition. Bus journey’s in the Balkans are usually bumpy, hot and long however since this is a once in a lifetime experience you must be open minded and bear in mind the hundreds of euros you are saving, also learning the culture’s mentality all on this beautiful journey.
I begin my journey across the South coast of Albania from the first beach I encounter traveling north to south. Dhërmi has to be the most laid back, chilled beach in Europe. With bright white pebble beaches and turquoise waters there is no question as to why the people that come here become regular visitors, staying faithful to their virgin beaches of Dhërmi.
The village of Drymades also known as Dhërmi (due to the short distance between them almost unnoticeable where one ends and the other begins), is the hot spot for all the free spirited, traveling campers, due to it’s great facilities for camping and peaceful ambient. Before you reach Dhërmi, it is highly recommended that you exchange your money in the nearest city such as; Tirane, Durres even Vlorë. This is purely for the fact that these areas are more populated and the ratings appear more beneficial for the tourist rather than the ‘last minute’ exchange at your hotel for example, where I found that the rates are not so practical and seem to change according to the mood of the natives.
For a cheap drink amongst the beaches coolest hipsters a must-see is the recently renovated ‘Dar Bar’. The bars favourite and quite lethal drink, ‘Dormeo’ cocktail, costing 400 Lekë, equivalent to £2.30 will loosen you up in no time. Throughout your visit to Albania you will find that wherever you go the drinks will be cheaper than back home, however that seems to be the case with many places away from home… The staff at Dar Bar will be more than happy to cater to your every need, welcoming you to ‘their’ beach as though you were family. I can’t emphasise enough that if you really want to save money, bring your own drinks bought at the local market, or even be creative and make yourself a drink you will feel better for it, and no one will judge you.
Although Drymades lacks choice when it comes to bars and restaurants, the reason I visit this location is definitely not to laze around bars. As even the people at ‘Dar Bar’ would suggest, ‘build a fire, get a guitar and relax on the beach’, they will also add that you should not use the umbrellas for fire wood, an amusing gesture I have witnessed many times.
Once you’re settled by a fire you will find that crowds of people will join. I must say the cheapest, most entertaining nights will be spent by a fire drinking, singing and dancing like the free spirit you truly are.
There are a few accommodation options in Dhërmi that satisfy every type of traveller; the more luxurious hotel, the camping site, or the cheaper larger group apartment accommodation.
The luxurious hotel would have to be the ‘Drymades Inn’; located ON the beach of Drymades. This hotel has it all, swimming pools, conference rooms, large restaurant, perfect views and quality service. Prices in the peak time of summer are usually €100 per night, per room. You can book online in advance at their WEBSITE; http://www.drymadesinn.al/?p=124
The whole virgin beach experience would not be complete if I were to spend my time in Albania cooped up in ‘so-so’ hotels, playing cards!!! When I could experience the location to its fullest.
Choose ‘The Sea Turtle Camp’, 3 minutes (if you walk slowly) away from the beach, this funky camping site offers the camper all the essential utilities that a camper could need, including a constant feed of music, organised events bringing DJ’s from around the world right to your tent. However if you are in the mood for something quieter, there are plenty of camping sites around ‘The Sea Turtle’, which are open for exploring, although these are strictly first come first serve facilities. The price to stay at the Sea Turtle, per person, per day is; €7.17, which includes accommodation and two meals (breakfast and dinner). For more information on the camp facilities and the organised events at the camp visit their ‘facebook’ page; http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Sea-Turtle/97874648109?fref=ts
Gjipe… this is a miracle on the Earth, this beach truly makes your dreams of being stranded on an Island, with nothing but you, sun and sea, a reality. If that is your dream… Gjipe was once in function, there are small details left behind showing that the beach had purpose, like an abandoned run down building in the corner of the beach. This place was once loved and has now become an impossible to reach, deserted gem. All the better for the explorer. I recommend the easier way of reaching Gjipe, also safest, which is by boat from Jale, instead of the horrific also painful in flip-flops, method of climbing down which takes 30 minutes, worse climbing back up. This is the perfect location for a camper to truly test their camping endurance, where you can set up camp and stay for as long as your mind can handle. This is a highly recommended challenge, highly rewarding in the end. Beware there are no shops, hotels, restaurants or bars, not even houses on or near this beach. Proper preparation is recommended; we don’t want to really be stranded now do we?
Make sure you have a number of someone local with access to a boat willing to pick you up when you want to escape, or that your car/vehicle is not too far. It’s never clever to be completely alone and not to inform others of your location, this applies to anywhere you go.
This magnificent location for campers has been a camper’s top location in Albania for much longer than the other two places that’s for sure. Jale has one of the oldest camp sites in Albania, where thousands of campers gather throughout the summer. The atmosphere at these sites is irreplaceable, as though all the great people traveling through Europe decided to meet in Jale, you will find them all here. However due to the hustle and bustle and the busy camp sites you must keep your more valuable belongings safe at all times, very rarely does it occur that things are stolen but it’s always good to not lose anything.
There are frequent festivals organised in Jale where the whole village participates. For example there was a Reggae festival organised by South Vibes, bringing musicians from Italy, Jamaica, Germany and the UK, as well as visitors from all over the world, all camping at Jale, soaking up the sun, laying around the beach, perfect.
A recommended camping site would have to be; ‘Jale Camping’, founded in 1999, therefore you can expect great facilities and experienced campers here. The camp also organises activities like more intimate concerts, movie nights and recreational sports, making the more busy bodies as happy as they can be. The camp charges €10 per day per person; this includes tent, breakfast, dinner and activities. For booking find out more on their website: http://www.campinglivadh.com
This is South Albania, the cheapest form of holiday for the young spirited, adventurous being.
Take by; http://www.lsbu-multimedia-journalists.co.uk/ajdini/2013/03/19/albania/

Monday, June 24, 2013

HISTORY OF ANTIGONEA in Albania, The City of Pyrrhos' Dream to visit in summet 2013

Pyrrhos, the King of the Molossans, founded Antigonea in the year 295 BC. The Molossans were one of the three tribes of Epiros (in today’s southern Albania and northern Greece), which grew to a strong state in this period. Antigonea developed as an important economic, social, cultural and political center, and at the end of the 3rd century and in the beginning of the 2nd century BC took shape as a polis (city-state) and one of most important settlements of antiquity.

 Visit webside http://antigonea-en.kk5.org/#/about/4558738006

Pyrrhos called the city Antigonea after his first wife, the daughter of the Macedonian nobles Berenice and Philip. Later Berenice married Ptolemy, the King of Egypt and successor of Alexander the Great, in the court of whom Pyrrhos got acquainted with Antigone. Besides his wife, Pyrrhos honored also his mother-in-law Berenice by naming after her a city in Epiros.

When Pyrrhos was 17 years old, according to the ancient historian Plutarch, an uprising overthrew him as king. He was placed under the custody of King Demeter of Macedonia and later was sent to the court of Ptolemy. “Since Pyrrhos was artful to absorb powerful people and to hate cowards, while being kind and gentle in life”, as Plutarch wrote, he was selected among other young princes to marry Antigone. This marriage further appraised the figure and good name of Pyrrhos. Due also to the aid of his prudent wife, Pyrrhos managed to collect money and an army, and start off towards Epiros to reclaim the throne.
Antigonea, the second city of the ancient Epiran province of Kaonia after Phoinike (Finiqi), both in size and importance, controlled the famous Via Egnatia connecting Dyrrachium (Durres), Apollonia and Oricum with the highlands of Ioannina and Southern Epiros. Due to its important geographic position at a dominant point on the hill of Jerma, in the middle of the Drinos Valley, Antigonea has been recognized as representing the climax of an unprecedented development.

The Drinos Valley, both because of its fertility and its strategic importance, was an early population center, witnessed by about 20 ancient cities and fortifications, monumental barrows and tombs, ancient temples and theaters. Without doubt, Antigonea has been the main center of the valley between Selo of Upper Dropull near the Greek border in the south to Hadrianopolis and Melan and up to Lekël at the northern end of the valley.

The ancient city of Antigonea is situated in a spectacular location on the top of a ridge in the form of a dolphin, overlooking the entire Drinos Valley, surmounted by two peaks connected with each other by a narrow pass. The urban surface of the city within and outside the fortified walls is estimated to have been about 60 hectare. 

Solid walls surrounded the city about 4,000 meters in length, protecting the city from all sides, especially in the southern and western parts where the danger was greater because of the nature of the terrain. The fortifying walls and those of most of the houses discovered until now are made of large and medium size blocks of limestone extracted from quarries on Lunxhëria Mountain. Nowhere else can the establishment of fortified cities on the mountaintops, so typical for the ancient cities of present-day Albania, be studied in a more exemplary wayAntigonea is distinguished from other ancient cities through its quadrangular and regular urban plan, similar to many Hellenistic cities of Greece. For the first time in the ancient cities of Europe, urban and architectural elements have been revealed that provide an idea of city planning, indicating that Antigonea had indeed been created upon decree, and not developed over time. 

Some small rural settlements identified outside the surrounding walls, and agricultural tools discovered in the excavations such as millstones and pithoi, show that the city had a well-developed agricultural territory, something that the region is still famous for till this day.In the year 198 BC, Roman legions vanquished the army of Philip V, the King of Macedonia near Antigonea. 
As geographer Strabo reports, in 167 BC Antigonea and 70 other cities of Epiros were ruined by the legions of Aemilius Paullus who took revenge for the damages inflicted on Italy by the Pyrrhic War. The further development of the city is witnessed only by remnants of a church, on the floor of which there is a mosaic of Saint Christopher and a Greek emblem, testifying to the city’s existence in the palaeo-Christian period. This church was the last building constructed in ancient Antigonea. It was destroyed during Slav assaults in the 6th century AD. 

Antigonea, the city that was built by an order of Pyrrhos in honor of his wife Antigonea as a sign of love, was burned in one night on the order of the Roman general Aemilius Paullus out of revenge and as sign of hatred, having flourished not even two centuries.

What to See and Do?
In the commune of Antigonea you can get in touch with all historic periods of mankind from prehistory to modern times. While the caves of Spile and Ladovishtë indicate that the area has been populated from the earliest times, the greatness of antiquity is represented by Antigonea. 

Three basilicas in the neighboring villages testify to the outset of Christianity, and the monastery of Erem in Spile, with Saint Nicola Church, is evidence of the era of Byzantium. The Ottoman period has left its traces through the architecture of 17th - 18th century houses in Tranoshishtë, and the trends of the communist period can be seen in the agricultural cooperative villages named after partisans Arshi Lengo and Asim Zeneli.

1. Remnants of the Fortified Wall (beginning of the 3rd cent. BC) can be seen stretching up the hill on the top of a steep slope. Its view is particularly good from the Acropolis. 

2. Ancient Nymphaeum of the Acropolis (beginning of the 3rd cent. BC). A nymphaeum was a spring and the sacred dwelling place of its female spirit (nymph). It was rimmed and used to provide water.

3. Church of Shen Mëhill (Saint Michael) (6th - 9th cent. AD). Measuring 8 m x 7.3 m and composed of two sections, it was discovered in 1973 at the highest point on the hill of the Acropolis. Construction materials have been taken from the Acropolis’ defensive walls.

4. Defensive Fortification of the Acropolis (beginning of the 3rd cent. BC). The fortification is formed by three defensive belts of walls narrowing up to the peak of the hill. The exterior wall belt has been formed by defensive walls and seven reinforced towers.

5. Dwelling (Leather Workshop) (second half of 3rd cent. BC). Discovered during archaeological excavations in 1968, it is a dwelling with an irregular floor plan consisting of a corridor and five sections of various functions. Discoveries made here include ceramics, such as pithoi, kitchen dishes, bricks, bronze dishes and iron work tools which are thought to have been used for treating leather.

6. Fragments of the Surrounding Fortified Walls (beginning of 3rd cent. BC). Remnants of the northern gate with two towers. 

7. Dwelling (Carriage Driver’s House) (second half of the 3rd cent. BC). Discoveries made here include a wagon wheel, coins, etc.

8. Dwelling (second half of the 3rd cent. BC). Residential house with an L-shaped floor plan, consisting of an atrium and five alcoves. The discoveries made here in 1968 have been meaningful and in large numbers: bronze dishes, work tools, bronze and silver coins, clay stamps, a mini-statuette of Poseidon (god of the ocean), voting identification cards and 14 bronze tablets with the name of the city on them. It is at this house that the mysterious bronze figurine of a harpy was found which has become the symbol of Antigonea. In Greek mythology, a harpy ("snatcher") was one of the winged spirits best known for constantly stealing all food from the prophet Phineas. They were usually seen as personifications of the sapping nature of wind.

9. Dwelling with peristyle and floor covered with a mosaic (beginning of 3rd cent. BC). In Greek and Roman architecture, a peristyle is an open colonnade surrounding a court or garden inside a building. Discoveries: ceramics, bronze objects and coins. 

10. Ancient old fountain head. (Date unknown)

11. Monumental tomb (3rd - 2nd cent. BC). Ancient grave of the Macedonian type consisting of two settings that are connected to each other. The walls had been plastered, the ceiling is a vault structure created with an arch. Discovered during the excavations in 2005. Discoveries made include ceramics and bronze objects.

12. Main Gate, or Great Gate, of the Ancient City with two fortified towers (3rd - 2nd cent. BC). Discoveries: Traces of the installation of two moving wings of the Great Gate. 

13. Stoa with beautiful multi-cornered wall (beginning of the 3rd cent. BC). Located approximately 250 m away from the main defensive wall of the city to the South. Discoveries include ceramics and coins. There used to be a nymphaeum in the vicinity.

14. Palaeo-Christian Basilica (a triconch church) with a unique, multi-colored mosaic (5th – 6th cent. AD). The layout of the building is a triconch (having three apses on the sides of the central square area of the church), measuring 13.8 m in length and 4.6 m in width. The basilica is composed of two parts: the main hall and the altar section, which the three apses. It was discovered during the excavations of 1974.

15. The Southern Fortification System (3rd – 2nd cent. BC) is a linear structure of 800 meters, with five defensive towers and the small Southern Gate. It was the most significant defensive section of the city’s fortification system and dates back to the beginning of the 3rd century BC. The style used in its construction is “isodomic” (regular, almost quadratic stone blocks in horizontal lines). The five towers were comprised of two metallic constructions reinforced through crossbeams. They were built in the shape of rectangles more than 6 m high and wide, in a distance of 60 m from each other.  

16. The Agora (market place) and Main Stoa (roofed promenade) (2nd - 3rd cent. BC) has a rectangular plan of 59.6 m by 8.6 m and had been decorated with columns in Doric style. A unique drainage channel crosses it. In1987 bronze figurines of Poseidon and a Mollos Dog, and bronze fragments of a monumental statue of an unknown horseman (Horse helmet, Horse Mane and Horseman’s Hand with a ring on its finger) have been found here.

17. Dwelling and public building (3rd - 2nd cent. BC). A dwelling of peristyle form was discovered next to the medieval church during the excavations of 1986, measuring 18 m by 8.5 m. Based on its location in the center of the town, its architecture and the lack of objects for daily use, this building is assumed to be a public building or a villa.   

18. Christian church from the Byzantine Period, built between the 7th - 9th cent. AD with stones and columns from ancient houses. The medieval church of the IX-XI centuries has a single nave measuring 11 m by 3.5 m. Thirteen tombs were discovered in the cemetery next to the church, with partial inventories.  

19. Large block of peristyle houses in various models. This part of the town, with its houses and channels, displays almost in full the urban development of the city. The objects in this block (all of them from the first half of the 3rd cent. AD) are an Artisan’s House, a Weaver’s House, the Measuring Stone and an above-ground drainage system. Ceramic dishes for daily use, ceramic roof tiles, artisan work tools, counterweights for loom threads, bronze coins, bronze decorative items and agricultural work tools have been found here.

The buildings of this block vary based on their type and function:
Dwellings with a rectangle peristyle, surrounded by spaces for living and economic activity.   
Dwellings with a courtyard and a gate placed on either one or both sides of the courtyard. 
A dwelling with a narrow hall in the middle and spaces positioned on either side. 
Dwellings which have their courtyard located at one corner of the house. 

The labeling of these houses is based on their function - defined through the tools and other objects found there: 

The craftsman’s house, measuring 35 m x 15 m, with a surface of 335 m2, dates back to the second half of the 3rd century BC. Discoveries here include bronze dishes, iron tools such a an axe, cleaver, scythe, rusted bronze and iron, numerous coins, the bronze handle of a dish in the shape of a sphinx figurine, ceramics, etc. Because of the rusted metals and other discoveries this house was judged to be the house of a craftsman.  

20. A natural cave is situated in the rocky eastern hill which in antiquity served as a natural defense, partly reinforced by a polygonal wall. According to ancient writers, the cave was used as a shelter by residents during attacks from invaders and today is considered a historical site.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Albania Tourism, Rera e hedhur Shengjin,Lezh 06/2013

Rëra e Hedhur është një plazh në qarkun e Lezhës në Shqipëri, rreth 5 km në veri-perëndim të Shëngjinit. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?s...
E kush tha që vetëm bregdeti jonian ofron pamje magjepsëse. Ky plazh quhet Rëra e Hedhur dhe i përket pjesës veri-perëndimore të Shqipërisë, ndodhet ne Shëngjin, Lezhë. Është një perlë e Adriatikut, por shumë pak e njohur. Për vendasit është kthyer tashmë në pikën më të preferuar për të kaluar pushimet, mes kodrave, pishave e detit. Rëra e hedhur ndodhet pas ish-repartit ushtarak në portin e Shëngjinit, rreth 1 km larg.

Pavarësisht se askush nuk ka investuar në këtë zonë, pasi një pjesë e saj është private, e pjesa tjetër e pushtetit vendor, pushuesit që e njohin këtë vend nuk kanë nguruar ta pushtojnë duke përjetuar një relaks të vërtetë mes këtij oazi të Adriatikut. Ky plazh ka një vijë të gjatë bregdetare për shfrytëzim nga grykëderdhja e Bunës deri pranë Shëngjinit. Rëra është deri në 300 metra dhe prania e baticës dhe zbaticës bën që ajo të jetë përherë e pasur me jod. Rruga që të con drejt plazhit Rëra e hedhur është rikonstruktuar, mungojnë vetëm investimet nga operatorët turistikë apo vendorët, që plazhi të frekuentohet në masë. Rëra e virgjër dhe uji i kristaltë e bëjnë një vend mahnitës për të kaluar pushimet verore

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Albania Tourism FAIR- MILANO 2013

Road to Theth,Shkodra to Boga over the pass then down into Theth

Aug 21, 2012

With a hairpin bend every hundred yards, the road winds up and up, in places doubling back on itself a dozen times. There are so many corners that we never got out of low second gear. Sometimes we caught glimpses of a white scar made by the road along the mountainside thousand feet above. An hour later we would find ourselves looking down from that same scar on the fantastic twists of the thin yellow ribbon that had lead us there.

Road to Theth,Shkodra to Boga over the pass then down into Theth

Aug 21, 2012

With a hairpin bend every hundred yards, the road winds up and up, in places doubling back on itself a dozen times. There are so many corners that we never got out of low second gear. Sometimes we caught glimpses of a white scar made by the road along the mountainside thousand feet above. An hour later we would find ourselves looking down from that same scar on the fantastic twists of the thin yellow ribbon that had lead us there.

Berati turistik, mes te Rregulltes se Crregullt... maj/2013