Berat Castle

Berat, Albania

Berat Castle dates mainly from the 13th century and contains many Byzantine churches in the area and Ottoman mosques. It is built on a rocky hill on the left bank of the river Osum and is accessible only from the south.

After being burned down by the Romans in 200 B.C., the walls were strengthened in the 5th century under Roman Emperor Theodosius II to protect from Barbarian incursions into the Balkans. They were subsequently rebuilt during the 6th century under the Emperor Justinian I and again in the 13th century under the Despot of Epirus, Michael I Komnenos Doukas, cousin of the Byzantine Emperor. This last phase can be seen as a Monogram formed by red bricks set in a wall of the castle. The castle was under the rule of John Komnenos Asen in the mid-14th century The main entrance, on the north side, is defended by a fortified courtyard and there are three smaller entrances.

The fortress of Berat in its present state, even though considerably damaged, remains a magnificent sight. The surface that it encompasses made it possible to house a considerable portion of the cities inhabitants. The buildings inside the fortress were built during the 13th century and because of their characteristic architecture are preserved as cultural monuments. The population of the fortress was Christian, and it had about 20 churches (most built during the 13th century) and only one mosque, for the use of the Turkish garrison (of which there survives only a few ruins and the base of the minaret). The churches of the fortress were damaged through years and only some have remained.



Your name


Founded: 13th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Albania

More Information


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Caroline Pinto (2 months ago)
A must visit. Located on a hill that affords a small hike, this is a must visit stop. The views and history behind this place is poignant. No wonder Berat is a UNESCO protected city
Jon Fitch (2 months ago)
Free Castle to visit in Berat. Amazing views over the city. A little bit of a hike to get to the top. But there is a small parking lot at the top.
Reicela Mackevica (4 months ago)
Very nice and large castle. It takes more or less 2h to visit all the spots. The entrance was free and the restaurants inside are not overpriced. Inside there are some horses for tourist walk but please avoid.. To arrive there you have to walk 20 minutes from Berat on a steep road under the sun so just remember to bring a bottle of water.
Salem Alsamour (4 months ago)
It’s a free tour, which is already amazing! I highly recommend to go around 5-7pm, when the sun goes down and you can enjoy a nice sunset! Plus the hike up there, it’s pretty steep so if you do it under the heat, it’s tough! You can also go with the free local guided tour, they go up with you, walk you around the castle and show you a lot of spots: the mosque, the churches, the viewpoint and explain the whole story of the city from above. Highly recommend, it was very enjoyable
Ivy G (5 months ago)
Great experience no tickets needed it’s free. Well preserved castle so much history. Great views of the city from the castle. You can drive all the way to the top plenty of parking just be careful the streets are narrow.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Santa Maria in Trastevere

The Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere is one of the oldest churches of Rome. The basic floor plan and wall structure of the church date back to the 340s, and much of the structure to 1140-43. The first sanctuary was built in 221 and 227 by Pope Callixtus I and later completed by Pope Julius I. 

The inscription on the episcopal throne states that this is the first church in Rome dedicated to Mary, mother of Jesus, although some claim that privilege belongs to the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. A Christian house-church was founded here about 220 by Pope Saint Callixtus I (217-222) on the site of the Taberna meritoria, a refuge for retired soldiers. The area was made available for Christian use by Emperor Alexander Severus when he settled a dispute between the Christians and tavern-keepers.

The church underwent two restorations in the fifth and eighth centuries and in 1140-43 it was re-erected on its old foundations under Pope Innocent II.