Albanias Archaeological Treasures
Duration: 5 1/4 hours
Tour Code: drr-004
A tour of the Roman amphitheater in Durres sets the tone for this enlightening excursion to Tirana, where a visit to the National Archaeological Museum and more historical sites highlight Albania’s fascinating past.
Depart from the pier and enjoy a brief drive through Durres, an ancient city founded by the Greeks and later occupied by the Romans, who built an amphitheater here during the reign of Hadrian in the 2nd century A.D. Wandering about the site, you will discover that it’s one of the largest amphitheaters in the Balkans and once held 20,000 spectators.
More insights into Albania’s past await you inland in the capital of Tirana, where you will visit the National Archaeological Museum. Nearly 2,000 rare objects excavated throughout Albania are displayed. The treasures include bone needles, Bronze Age ceramics, Iron Age daggers and carved female figurines believed to be the oldest human images found in Albania.
Later, you’ll see landmarks such as the Pyramid building and modern twin towers, while driving to Skanderbeg Square. At its heart stands a statue of Skanderbeg, an Albanian national hero who repulsed numerous Turkish invasions in the 15th century. Tirana’s oldest building, the Ethem Bey Mosque, flanks the square. Although closed for decades during the Communist era, the 18th-century mosque reopened in 1991 and, as you will see, the interior is exquisite. The frescoes and rare Islamic still life paintings are especially remarkable.
Later, you will enjoy a short refreshment break and time to shop for items such as ornamental filigree and silver jewelry before rejoining your coach and driving back to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 2-hours of easy to moderate walking and includes some steps to negotiate. Travel time to Tirana is 1-hour by coach in each direction. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those guests with mobility concerns are cautioned only to participate to the extent of their personal stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are suggested. The order of the sites viewed or visited may vary.