Top Historic Sights in Sarandë, Albania

Explore the historic highlights of Sarandë

Butrint Roman Forum

In 44 BC, Rome colonized Butrint. One of the city"s greatest periods of prosperity occurred under the Roman Empire. The Roman Forum was constructed in the Augustan period (27 BC-AD 14) and later aggrandized in the 2nd century AD. Numerous baths, fountains, and public buildings were constructed during this period. A prominent and wealthy woman, named Junia Rufina, adorned in marble a spring dedicated to nymphs bearing ...
Founded: 27 BCE - 14 AD | Location: Sarandë, Albania

Butrint

Butrint, located in the south of Albania approximately 20km from the modern city of Saranda, has a special atmosphere created by a combination of archaeology, monuments and nature in the Mediterranean. With its hinterland it constitutes an exceptional cultural landscape, which has developed organically over many centuries. Butrint has escaped aggressive development of the type that has reduced the heritage value of most h ...
Founded: 800 BCE | Location: Sarandë, Albania

Great Basilica

The so-called Great Basilica was the principal church in late antique Butrint and sections of a 6th century mosaic floor are still preserved. The church was erected on the site of a cistern belonging to the Roman city’s aqueduct and is over 30m long. It followed the characteristic plan and architectural devices prevalent throughout Epirus, employing a central nave flanked by aisles that were screened from the nave by cl ...
Founded: 6th century AD | Location: Sarandë, Albania

Lëkurësi Castle

Lëkurësi Castle is on a strategic hill point overlooking the town of Saranda, southeast of the town centre. From here one can control the whole town as well as the islands of Ksamil. The castle was built in 1537 by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent who had attacked Corfu and needed to control the harbor of Saranda and the road that connected it with Butrint. The region traditionally belonged to the southern part of the r ...
Founded: 1537 | Location: Sarandë, Albania

Venetian Triangle Fortress

The dogal Republic of Venice purchased the area of Butrint including Corfu from the Angevins in 1386; however, the Venetian merchants were principally interested in Corfu and Buthrotum once again declined. The Venetians began to invest in Butrint in the late 15th century, which seems a likely date for the Triangular Fortress construction. Musket ports opened at both ground level and along the parapet walk. Vaulted storero ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Sarandë, Albania

Ali Pasha Castle

Ali Pasha Castle is named after Ali Pasha of Tepelenë who resided there until 1820. The current fortress was rebuilt in 1819 from its surface with 3 towers. Built under Venetian dominion in the late 15th or early 16th century, it provided a stronghold for the Venetians on Corfu to exploit fishing, grazing, olives and timber in and around Butrint. The castle was the centrepiece of numerous conflicts with the burgeoni ...
Founded: 1819 | Location: Sarandë, Albania

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Externsteine Stones

The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.

In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.

The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.

The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.