Gjirokaster Fortress

Gjirokaster, Albania

Gjirokastër Castle dominates the town and overlooks the strategically important route along the river valley. It is open to visitors and contains a military museum featuring captured artillery and memorabilia of the Communist resistance against German occupation, as well as a captured United States Air Force plane to commemorate the Communist regime's struggle against the 'imperialist' western powers.

The citadel has existed in various forms since before the 12th century. The first of the defenses were put in place by the Despots of Epirus, an off-shoot of the Byzantine government, who established the basic towered structure of the castle. Extensive renovations and a westward addition was added by Ali Pasha of Tepelene after 1812. The government of King Zog expanded the castle prison in 1932.

Today it possesses five towers and houses, the new Gjirokastër Museum, a clock tower, a church, a cistern, the stage of the National Folk Festival, and many other points of interest.

The castle's prison was used extensively by Zog's government and housed political prisoners during the Communist regime.



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Founded: 12th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Albania


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Breezy S (4 months ago)
Cool castle to visit in town with epic views of the city. Spent many hours here wandering around. A bit more information in some areas would have been helpful but overall a great half day adventure.
Helen Myhill (8 months ago)
Enjoyed the walk up to the castle and the entrance fee was 400ALL each, that however was only for the castle as there was another fee for the museum of Arms, which was 200ALL. We found this frustrating as we asked before paying what ticket we needed . They could just charge 600ALL as you cannot get into the museum without entering the castle. The castle was very good lots of renovation work being carried out, it will be amazing once finished. Some information boards with English which was good. The views were fantastic .
Mike Ellis (8 months ago)
A huge castle to explore, full of cold war cannons, tanks and an abandoned US fighter jet. Well worth the steep approach! Allow about an hour to take in the views and read about the history while visiting the worthwhile museum. Definitely the highlight of this brilliant little town!
Guillaume Ramey (9 months ago)
The city is offering a specific architecture with stones roofs which made the visit pleasant. The Castle is offering information on the local history and on the castle itself. The architecture of the castle is unusual with very large volumes which are impressive. I recommend the visit of the city and the castle.
Simon Pfau (9 months ago)
Best view over Gjirokastra and the surrounding mountains. Lots of boards explaining the history of the castle and it's parts. Well worth a visit, admission was 400 ALL - the only thing that puzzled me was that the student fee is only for albanian students. That doesn't make sense really.
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