Sarande

Albania

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info@destinationalbania.eu

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BUTRINT NATIONAL PARK

Butrint is an archaeological national park in Albania and a UNESCO World Heritage site, renowned for its ancient ruins dating back as far as the 7th century BC. In fact, classic mythology says that exiles moved to Butrint to escape following the fall of Troy. Originally part of an area called Epirus, Butrint has been occupied by the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines and the Venetians. As a result, Butrint offers a wealth of incredible archaeological ruins, including a well preserved Greek theatre and a few temples, Roman public bath houses and villas, a Byzantine baptistery of late 6th century and a 9th century basilica. One of Butrint’s earliest sites is its sanctuary, which dates back to the fourth century and sits on its hill or “acropolis”. The sanctuary was named after the Greek god of medicine, Asclepius, and was a centre of healing. Butrint was abandoned during the Ottoman era when marshes started to emerge around it, however, many of its historical treasures remain intact and attract tourist from around the globe.

SARANDA

Saranda (also Sarandë indefinite) ancient Onchesmos, is an attractive seaside town. Saranda is built back from the pleasant small beach, fringed with palm trees. The town has been used by foreign visitors for many years. Day trips can be made by boat from Corfu.

Saranda has had several names in its long history. In ancient Greek it was called Anchesmos , in Roman times, Onchesmus, then Agia Saranda, “Forty Saints”: Saranda derives from Greek language meaning  Forty(from Greek), a mystical number in both Islam and Christianity (40 days or years in the desert, and so on). So the Saints are either Sufis, or (less likely) the Forty Armenian Martyrs of the fourth century. Later the Italian city name Santi Quaranta became more commonly used.

Saranda was an important base in World War I for the Italian navy. The port was called Porto Edda in June 1939 under the Italian annexation, to honor Mussolini’s daughter Edda. The town of Saranda is only a few kilometers away from Corfu across the straits. The town has often been linked with the island during history and nowadays Saranda is an important touristic attraction welcoming tourists from all over the world.

CASTLE OF LEKURSI

Another attractive, historical site is the castle of Lekursi on the top of a dominant hill over Saranda, only 2 km far from the town. The castle of Lekursi was built up during the XVI century, by Sultan Suleiman who tried to conquer Corfu. The Castle is located on a strategic hill point overlooking the town of Sarande, southeast of the town centre.

From the walls of the castle the tourist can catch by eye an area of 60 km. While you are in Saranda, the magical place of “Blue Eye” spring is also worth visiting. At this beautiful spot, shaded by centuries old oak trees you can enjoy the most beautiful sunsets.

BLUE EYE

“Blue Eye” is the biggest out of 18 springs which surface from the earth some 25 km away from Saranda, in the south of Albania.

Its colour is deep blue in the centre where the water flows out, and light blue at the sides where the green vegetation creates an impression of eyelashes. People say that the spring was named by an engineer in a hydro-power station, who was reminded of the blue eyes of his beloved.

The Blue Eye is all about legends.

“Legend has it that the waters sprung to the earth from a dragon that was burned by a clever peasant who had earlier fed it a donkey loaded with touchwood and cinder. Its eyes became the eye of the present spring.

Surprisingly the spring dried up and turned into a blind eye of white colour in 2002. Many people said that divine powers were involved and this was a sort of a punishment against those who wanted to bargain with the Blue Eye, whose water was to be taken to Italy.

MESOPOTAM MONASTERY

Located in Mesopotam, this monastery is on a small hill between two branches of the Bistrica River. There are several large white blocks at the base of the church which are pre-christian. It also Includes relief sculptures of mythical animals. There is a large, unique and complex church. Destroyed and rebuilt many times, stages of building are visible. The wall of the complex includes ruins which are older than the church itself, and also several towers.