The origin of the Albanians has been for some time a matter of dispute among historians. Contemporary historians conclude that the Albanians are not descendants of a single ancient population and apart from a possible connection with prehistoric Balkan populations, such as the Illyrians, Dacians or Thracians, there is an additional admixture of Slavic, Greek, Vlach, Roman, Celtic and Germanic element. Little is known about the ancient Balkan people, and they blended into one another in Thraco-Illyrian and Daco-Thracian contact zones even in antiquity.
The Albanians first appear in the historical record in Byzantine sources of the 11th century. At this point, they were already fully Christianized. Very little evidence of pre-Christian Albanian culture survives, although Albanian mythology and folklore are of Paleo-Balkanic origin and almost all of their elements are pagan, in particular showing Greek influence.
The Albanian language forms a separate branch of Indo-European, first attested in the 15th century, and is considered to have evolved from one of the Paleo-Balkans languages of antiquity.
Studies in genetic anthropology show that the Albanians share similar ancestry to many other Europeans, and especially other peoples of the Balkans. The Albanians are also one of Europe’s populations that has most common ancestors within their own ethnic group even though they share ancestors with other ethnic groups.
Meet at Tirana International Airport and depart for Durres. Overnight at Durres.
Leave for Lezhe and visit of the site, Skanderbeg's Memorial and the Citadel (German Albanian Excavations). Continue trip to Shkoder and visit of Rozafa Castle, Mes bridge (Ottoman bridge from 18th century) and the Historical Museum. After lunch, travel back to Durres for overnight stay.
After breakfast, walking tour around Durres and visit of the old city walls, the archaeologic museum, the forum and the amphitheatre. Leave for Kruje. Visit of the castle of Kruje, the museum of Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg, the ethnographic museum and the old bazaar. After lunch, travel back to Durres for overnight stay.
Leave for Apollonia. Walking tour through the site and visit of the stoa, the odeon, and the monastery (museum of Apollonia) at Apollonia. Coach to Fier for overnight stay.
Drive to Berat and visit of the citadel of Berat, Onufri's Museum, Saint Vlacherna, Saint Todri and Holy Trinity churches King's Mosque, han, tekke, Bachelor's Mosque and the ethnographic museum). Coach to Byllis. Visit of Byllis ancient city and the theater. Travel to Vlore for overnight stay.
Visit of the castle of Kanine. Continue trip to Sarande, with a quick visit stop at Muradie mosque and Independence Monument at the center of the city, Ali Pasha's fortress in Porto Palermo and a coffee break at Borsh, Himare. Walking tour on foot of Sarande (the walls and the ancient synagogue). Overnight at Sarande.
Travel to Butrint and visit of the site. Depart to Gjirokaster, with a quick stop at Syri i Kalter (Blue Eye Spring) and St. Nicholas Monastery Church in Mesopotam. Arrival in Gjirokaster and visit of the castle, Zekate house and the old bazaar. Overnight in Gjirokaster.
Leave for Korçe. Coach to Kamenice and visit of the tumulus and museum of Kamenice. Check-in at the hotel and overnight in Korçe.
Walk to Korçe's Archaeological Museum and Mediaeval Art Museum. Coach to Voskopoje, visit mediaeval churches. Coach back to hotel in Korçe. Overnight at Korçe.
Leave for Selce e Poshtme and visit of the site. Continue to Elbasan; walk around Elbasan and visit the ethnographic museum, Elbasan's old city walls, paleochristian basilica, King's mosque, hamam and Via Egnatia. Continue to Tirane for overnight stay.
Walking tour of Ottoman house in Rruga Murat Toptani, Parliament building, Tanner's bridge, tomb of Kaplan Pasha, Mosque of Ethem Bey and the Clock Tower. Visit at the archaeological museum. Depart for Tirana International Airport.
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