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modern vlora

modern vlora

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Vlora (www.visitvlora.com) has a population of about 120,000. Vlora is Albania's second largest port, at the meeting point of the Ionian Sea and the Adriatic Sea. It is also a fishing port and holiday resort.  The city center is much like most Albanian towns in that there is nothing much to see, but concrete towerblocks - and a lot of palm trees. It is however the starting point of the coastal road to Saranda, along the 'Albanian Riviera'.

This road goes from brand new to shaky along mountain passes, hairpin bends down to deserted beaches, miles and miles through olive groves, from Greek styled village to village. It is feasible to hitch hike all the way to Saranda in one day, but it is worth more time than that.

Vlora is proclaimed a hero city. It is an old city, where important events in the struggles for freedom and independence have taken place. In ancient times the city was known under the name of Aulon. At the beginning it was only a port. Aulon was famous for its olive groves and vineyards.

After the fall of Apollonia and Orichum, it became the principal port of Illyria.

In the fifth century Aulon was the centre of diocese. The emigrations of barbarians damaged it badly and brought the withdrawal of the city deeper in land.

During the Middle Ages the city was fused into one with the fortress of Kanina, which is situated a few kilometres to the south east.

In 1081 Vlora was seized by the Normans and the German Hohenstaufens, and in 1272 incorporated into the kingdom of Arberia. In the fourteenth century, Byzantine armies visited it again, the Serbs as well as the feudal lords of the Balshas from north Albania.

In the fourteenth century, as it has passed to the Balshas, it became an important trading and handicraft centre noted apart from wines and salt, for its swords, its ships and its silk.

The invading Turks took it in 1417, and Sultan Sulejman - The Magnificent - built a fortress by the sea in 1531, which is believed to have been designed by the Albanian architect - Sinan.

Worth a visit are in this context the village of Kaniné and ruins of the castle of Kaniné. It is said that as long as the village of Kaniné is saved, Vlora will be rebuilt. But the opposite will not happen.

By the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Vlora had again become an important economic centre and port. it was taken by Ali Pasha Tepelena in 1812.

It was in Vlora that an Assembly was convened, which proclaimed Albania as an independent state, forming the first national government headed by Ismail Qemali on the 28th of November, 1912. At this time Vlora became the capital of the country. The government remained there until January, 1914.

Vlora was occupied by the Italian troops in 1914 during the first World War, but they were driven from the main land in 1920, by a volunteer army. Reoccupied by Italians in 1939, and by the Germans in 1943. Vlora was liberated in October l5, l944.

 

Part or or all of this text stems from the original article at: www.visitvlora.com

Contributors

April 27, 2006 change by joosts (2 points)

May 19, 2006 change by hgn

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