Durres

Durres, until recently better known by the Italian name of Durazzo, is the second largest and most ancient  city in Albania and is only a short distance from the capital Tirana. The cities are only thirty minutes apart and so many tourists from Tirana spend their leisure time and holidays in Durres.

It is a port city and dates back to at least 650 years before the Christian era. It was  important as a port town giving access to several places in the Roman empire and because of its nearness to the Italian port of Bari. It now has a population of about 120,000 people.

It is easy to get there from Mother airport in Tirana or by ship or ferry.

There is a very long beach just about two kilometres from the town centre and you travel along a shady tree-lined avenue to get there. In the town centre, there are all the usual shops and supermarkets.There are excellent a la carte restaurants and you will be shown your fish before it is cooked.There are several cafes standing on the pavements and coffee house are everywhere.  There are good bars and postcard shops. Right in the centre you can see a huge modern mosque. There are bicycle shops where you can hire your bicycle to tour around the area.

There are several places and venues which are well worth visiting.  The Maim Library is a treasury of information. There is a marvellous Cultural Centre and a very live and modern Theatre. You can visit a very professional Puppet Theatre and the seat of the Philharmonia orchestra. There are numerous museums, including the Museum of History where you can see so many excavated items.

The remains of an ancient Roman Amphitheatre is a place where you can spend several interesting hours and you can go inside and even down into the deep underground cellars which are still intact.

There are Thermal Baths and a specially built hot water supply to supply them with warm water from the early Roman empire. The Fortress is to a large extent underground but you can see the strong fortification walls.

There is the famous mosaic known as the Belle of Durres which was found beneath a house in a residential area and shows the face of a lady surrounded with sea-flowers representing new mothers.

The Archaelolgical Museum which is situated near the sea shows newly excavated objects such as pottery and statues from the old port from Roman times. On top of the Hill is the house of King Zog which is now being used as a centre to receive important delegations.

The beach is very long and you can visit one of the many funfairs or go , or walk on to the pier and go fishing or just sit and absorb the sun before visiting one of the many bars or nightclubs and returning to your chalet or your five star expensive hotel for the night.

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