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

Sven Brouwer (10 months ago)
Beautiful views on the city. You can walk by yourself or do an audio guide. Throughout the site are info boards with interesting facts. Don’t miss the timeline at the right side when you enter. 400 Lek for entrance, if needed you can park (limited places)
Salem Alsamour (10 months ago)
It’s a nice well preserved castle, the tour takes easily an hour if you go slowly. You have a very good 360 view of the city around but also the big mountains, the river, and the valley which is very nice ! It’s a bit crowded, we were surprised, there was a small 10-15 min queue even to get in. PREPARE YOUR CASH: it’s 400 Lek per person for the entrance ! That’s a shame, as we travelled around the country and this is the first paid attraction we do!
Donald Kale (11 months ago)
I grew up in the neighbourhood next to the castle and with friends we were all the time exploring it. It gives you many beautiful and amazing views of the city and the valley.
Bogdan Dzyu (11 months ago)
Gjirokastra Castle stands as a remarkable testament to history, exuding a uniqueness that sets it apart from other destinations I've experienced. Its outstanding preservation offers a rare insight into past epochs, with every structure carefully presented. Visiting this castle transcends the usual touristic experience, seamlessly transporting you back in time, and allowing you to walk in the footsteps of the ancient civilizations that once thrived here. Truly, a visit to Gjirokastra Castle is not merely a sightseeing tour, it's an immersive journey through time.
Alexandru Bordei (11 months ago)
We had a wonderful experience visiting the castle! The location is truly beautiful and impressive. The ticket price of 4 euros per person is affordable, making the visit all the more enjoyable. However, before we go, I want to warn you about the facilities available. Due to the fact that the location is dotted with cisterns, it is essential that you have a bottle of water with you that you can refill during your visit, especially as the location is vast and you will need water along the way. Also note that before entering the Old Town, there is a paid underground parking lot to leave your car. Make sure you have valid coins or payment methods to avoid inconvenience. Another important point to mention is that the location has no safety fences, which means you need to keep a close eye on children to avoid accidents. All in all, the castle is definitely worth visiting due to its beauty and reasonable ticket price. Be prepared with water for the visit and make sure to look after the little ones. However, I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time exploring this impressive location!
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