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Albanian cities an open-air museum of Ottoman history

Albanian cities, most of which still have Ottoman names, present unique examples of Islamic architecture.

Source : World Bulletin / 17 Feb 2014

Albanian cities, most of which still have Ottoman names, present unique examples of Islamic architecture. Not only historical buildings, but also the names of the cities, have remained unchanged since Ottoman conquest.

Albania, where the Ottoman Empire had ruled for centuries, successfully preserved the empire's cultural and historical heritage. Its cities, most of which still have Ottoman names, present unique examples of Islamic architecture. Not only historical buildings, but also the names of the cities, have remained unchanged since Ottoman conquest.

One particular Albanian city is that of Ishkodra, whose history traces back 2,500 years. Ottomans altered the city's antique name of Scutari to Ishkodra. Ottoman rule was accompanied by economic and cultural progress which made the city an industrial center up to this day. 

One of the biggest towns of central Albania is Elbasan, another city with an Ottoman name. Having been built in the 2nd century BCE, Elbasan used to be known as Scampa. Ottoman landmarks in Elbasan are the Kales Mosque and public bath next to it.

Known to be the most beautiful city of the country, Berat had once been known as Antipatrea in ancient times. The city is now under UNESCO protection.

The strategic coastal city Vlora's name was found in the Ottoman archives as Avlonya. In addition to its deep history, the city hosts a range of Ottoman masterpieces.

Dyrrah, or as the city was called in ancient times, Durres, has the largest port in Albania. The city was known as Drac in Ottoman times.

Another city which flourished after the Ottoman conquest is Cirokastra, which was previously called Ergirikastre. This is another UNESCO-protected city in the country due to it being known as "a fully-preserved Ottoman city."

 

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