Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Gjirokastra, hauntingly beautiful. Part 1, The Castle.

Gjirokastra is another picturesque Albanian city, which grew and spread out gradually from its imposing castle towering over the town. The castle is an enormous defensive fortification, brooding and watchful on top of its hill. It controls the Drinos Valley and the passes through the Lunxheria Mountains, a jagged mass topped with snow even in May.

The area inside the castle walls is vast. About half the internal area is currently closed for restoration. The main gallery that is open houses a display of cannon from various times.  

There are several large parade grounds, one of them enormous enough to house the staging for the International Festival of Folk Music.
In 1929, King Zog had the vaults turned into a prison for his enemies, with punishment cells. There is a brooding atmosphere about the place, which may be lightened when all the planned restorations are completed.

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