Durrës Fortitied Old Town

Durrës, Albania

The fortified old city of Durrës was built by the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius I (r. 491–518), who came from Durrës. At the time, Anastasius made the city one of the most fortified cities on the Adriatic. The ancient walls were devastated in an earthquake in 1273, and had to be extensively repaired.

Currently the medieval walls stand at nearly 4.6 meters in height and the three entrances of some of the fortification towers are preserved in nearly one-third of the original length of the city walls. The castle was reinforced with several guard towers by the Republic of Venice and during the period of rule in Albania by the Ottoman Empire the wall was reinforced.

On 7 April 1939, Albanian patriots fought the Italian invasion of Albania. In Durrës, a force of only 360 Albanians, mostly gendarmes and townspeople, led by Abaz Kupi, the commander of the gendarmerie in Durrës, and Mujo Ulqinaku, a marine official, tried to halt the Italian advance. Armed only with small arms and three machine guns, they succeeded in keeping the Italians at bay for several hours until a large number of light tanks disembarked from the latter's naval vessels. After that, resistance diminished and within five hours the Italian forces had captured the entire city.

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Founded: 6th century AD
Category: Castles and fortifications in Albania

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