Tourist Info - Gjirokaster
The historic center of Gjirokastra, in south Albania, has been included in the World Heritage List as an outstanding example of a multicultural city of the former Ottoman Empire, which flourished socially and economically, reaching its peak at the end of the 18thtill the mid-19thc. The residential architecture of Gjirokastra is exceptional; its majestic stone houses combining the opulence of contemporary Ottoman architecture with a defensive character unique to the area give the buildings a tower-like aspect. This architecture reflects the economic prosperity at the time, but also the social structure of Gjirokastra, dominated by the class of wealthy landowners that commissioned these grand residences. The town also retains a bazaar, an 18th c. mosque and two churches of the same period, witness to the co-existence of Ottoman and orthodox Christian traditions. The overall integrity of the town is satisfactory, although this was adversely affected by illegal constructions in the late 1990s. In addition, lack of interest and financial resources have led to the abandonment and collapse of a great number of buildings.