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Cultural Tours Albania


Vlore (pop. 70,000) lies on the Bay of Vlore and is one of the most important seaports of Albania. The ancient name of the city was Aulona and in the Middle Ages its fortunes were closely bound to those of the castle of Kanine. Not far from Vlore have been found traces of other ancient settlements such as Triportus, Oricum and Amantia; a little further afield, Gramata, Lepenica and Porto Palermo are worth visiting. Vlore and Oricum are today popular beach resorts

Bay of Vlore

The Bay of Vlorë is the deepest, largest and most beautiful bay on the Albanian coast, 19 km in length, with many sandy and rocky beaches which are frequented by tourists between May and October

Castle of Kanine

The castle of Kanine stands on a hill 179 m high to the south of Vlore. Inhabited in antiquity since the 7th or 6th century BC and fortified since the 2nd half of the 4th century BC, it was also of great importance in late antiquity and in the Middle Ages. The defensive circuit is about 1,000 m long and encloses an area of about 3.5 ha


This settlement lies on the coast about 3 km west of Vlore. It was founded in the 6th century BC and was enlarged into a town towards the end of the 4th century or early in the 3rd. This was probably the ancient city of Aulona mentioned by the geographer Ptolemy


The town was founded at the end of the 7th/beginning of the 6th century BC, allegedly by colonists from the Greek island of Euboea. The settlement of about 5 ha in extent lies on a low limestone hill right at the southern end of the Bay of Vlore, about 30 km from the city of Vlore. It is close to a harbour which was mentioned by Julius Caesar as having great strategic importance

Illyrian city of Amantia

An Illyrian town near the modern village of Pllocë, about 40 km to the south-east of Vlore. Amantia was founded at the end of the 4th century BC. Archaeological excavations have revealed the defensive walls, the stadium, a temple, a basilica and many artefacts, which tell us much about the development of the settlement and its trading connections with the Mediterranean world

The defensive walls

The defensive walls were built to encircle the acropolis in the 4th century BC

Stadium of Amantia

The stadium of Amantia, which is remarkably well preserved, had a capacity of 3,000 spectators and was built in the 2nd half of the 3rd century BC


Gramata is a small bay on the west coast of the Karaburun peninsula, which since antiquity has offered shelter to shipping from storms and rough seas. On the rocks around the bay can be seen many inscriptions scratched by seafarers, including one by the Byzantine emperor Manuel II (1391–1425)


At a distance of about 2 hrs walk from the village of Lepenica there is a cave with paintings in brown pigment of 19 anthropomorphic and eight geometric figures, which have been ascribed to the 1st half of the 3rd millennium BC. The anthropomorphic figures are 15–18 cm high and the geometric drawings 12–32 cm across

Fortress of Porto Palermo

This coastal fortress lies about 60 km to the south of Vlore and was built at the beginning of the 19th century by Ali Pasha of Tepelene for his beautiful young wife