A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the old town of Gjirokaster is famous for being a well-preserve Ottoman town. With its fortress overlooking the entire city, the old houses lean against the slopes of the hills with their beautiful old wooden facades. The birthplace of communist leader Enver Hoxha and notable writer Ismail Kadare, there’s plenty to see in this exceptional town.

Things to See and Do in Gjirokastër

Gjirokaster Castle
Skenduli House
Zekate House
Gjirokastra Bazaar
Ethnographic Museum
The Cold War Tunnel
Gjirokaster Mosque

During your stay in Gjirokastra, you can visit the Ethnographic Museum, located in the house where the former communist dictator Enver Hoxha was born. This house (today a museum) is located in the Palorto quarter. You can also visit the house of Zekati family in Palorto, in a dominating position, which has undergone restoration. It is one of the most magnificent and characteristic buildings of Gjirokastra. Built in 1811-1812, it is a magnificent three-floor building and has two twin towers. A special feature of the house is the wooden carved ceilings and the characteristic guest room. From the wooden balcony in the third floor, you can enjoy an impressive view of Gjirokastra.

Other important traditional buildings to visit are Angonati House , Babaramo newly restored house , Skendulaj house , Eqrem Cabej House under restoration , Kikino House and many others but also the statue of the main square dedicated to the patriot Cerciz Topulli and other important religious monuments of Bektashi sect and Orthodox religion .
One of the famous spotsto visit at Sokaku i te Marreve that means Mad People Street is also the reconstructed house of the famous Albanian writer Ismail Kadare

The town of Gjirokastra is also known for its culinary art; we can mention special dishes like pasha qofte, shapkat, oshaf with dried figs (a dessert with sheep`s milk, sugar and dried figs), etc.
In Gjirokastra you can visit interesting sites, part of the cultural heritage as well as natural wonders.


Dating back to 1336 when it carried a Greek name and was part of the Byzantine Empire, Gjirokaster later came under Ottoman rule and remained so for around five centuries. During this time a large conversion to Islam occurred and the city also became a major center for Bektashi Sufism. By 1913 Gjirokaster was part of the newly independent state of Albania but its Greek minority is still strong, including in nearby Sarande, which is an important center for Albania’s Greek community.

When visiting Gjirokaster you’ll soon notice that there are helpful brown signs all over directing you to the most important sights. The first stop is the fortress that can be reached by a staircase that’s a little less arduous than the steep road. Overlooking the whole town, after entering the fortress’ gate, a large stone hall with an array of military artillery greets visitors. If the hall has peaked your interest you can enter the museum (for an additional fee) and see more memorabilia from the Communist resistance against the German occupation. Outside, you can also inspect a captured United States Air Force plane, which is quite the standout among its surroundings that date back to the 12th century.