Museum-City of Gjirokastra (2005)
Albania

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The historic town of Gjirokastra, in the Drinos river valley in southern Albania, is a rare example of a well-preserved Ottoman town, built by farmers of large estate. The 13th-century citadel provides the focal point of the town with its typical tower houses (Turkish kule). Characteristic of the Balkan region, Gjirokastra contains a series of outstanding examples of kule, a type of building which crystallized in the 17th century. 

But Gjirokastra also features some more elaborate examples from the early 19th century. The kule has a tall basement, a first floor for use in the cold season, and a second floor for the warm season. 

Interiors feature rich decorative details and painted floral patterns, particularly in the zones reserved for the reception of visitors. The town also retains a bazaar, an 18th-century mosque and two churches of the same period. 

  • Albania 1923. Gjirokaster. The stamp is shown largely oversized for a better view. 

Albania 1923. Gjirokaster.

Albania 1951. Enver Hoxha and the birthplace of the Albanian Communist Party.

The postwar communist regime of Albania developed the city as an industrial and commercial centre. 

It was elevated to the status of a "museum-city" largely due to the fact that it was the birthplace of the dictator Enver Hoxha (1908-1985), who was born there on 16th October 1908. 

His house was converted into a museum which became a focal point of Hoxha's cult of personality. 

  • Albania 1951. Enver Hoxha and the birthplace of the Albanian Communist Party. 

Gjirokastėr suffered severe economic problems following the end of communist rule in 1991. It was particularly badly affected by the 1997 collapse of a massive pyramid scheme, which destabilised the entire Albanian economy. The city became the focus of a rebellion against the government of Sali Berisha, and violent and violent anti-government protests took place which eventually forced Berisha's resignation. On December 16, 1997, Hoxha's house was blown up by unknown (but presumably anti-communist) attackers.

Sources and links: 

Other World Heritage Sites in Albania (on this website). Eventually refer to the UNESCO-listing, Albania section, for further information on the individual properties. 

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Revised 18 aug 2007  
Copyright © 1999 Heindorffhus 
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