# 257: Visiting the capital of the Despotate of Epirus

2,697 vues Nico 22 October2020 0
# 257: Visiting the capital of the Despotate of Epirus

Idea # 257 – Visiting the Albanian town of Gjirokastrer

Gjirokastër or Gjirokastra is a city of the South of Albania and the administrative centre of the prefecture of the same name. The site is occupied from Ier century B.C. The city began to develop around the castle at about XIIIth century. At the time of the Byzantine Empire, it was known under the name of Argyrópolis (” city of silver) or Argyrókastron (” castle of silver”). In the XIVth century, the city was a part of the despotat of Épire, before passing under Ottoman dominion in 1417. It was conquered in 1811 by Ali Pasha, Albanian governor, who developed the defences of the city and made build an aqueduct 10 kilometres long to supply the citadel with water. At the end of the XIXth century, the city became a centre of resistance in the Turkish dominion. Lived by a mainly Albanian population but with a Greek important minority, Gjirokaster was widely claimed in the first half of the XXth century by the Greeks. In 1914, the city is proclaimed by the government Greek as capital of the autonomous State of Épire of the North, but its administrative position disappears from the First World war. During the Second World war, the city passed under Italian control in 1939, then Greek in December, 1940 and German, but became again definitively Albanian in 1944. The historic city of Gjirokastrer is a rare example of well protected  Ottoman city, built by farmers owners of big domains, around the citadel. The architecture is characterized by the construction of a type of houses with turrets, the Turkish “kule”, which stage sloping in the old districts of Mali i Gjerë; these houses which remind small grouped fortresses, contain generally a high ground floor, a first floor used in the cold season and the second floor serving for the warm season. The inside is decorated with rich ornamental details and with painted floral motives, in particular in spaces reserved for the reception of the guests. The roof is covered with lauzes. The city is registered on the list of the world patrimony of UNESCO.

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Where is it?

Gjyrokaster, Albania

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