Tirane – Ebasan - Pogradec - Korce
Day 1. Tirane - Elbasan
Arrival in “Mother Teresa” Airport, meet and greet our representative. Soon after we will commence the journey to Petrela Castle (outskirt of Tirana) were we will also enjoy a welcome dinner. Petrela Castle is one of the tourist locations close to Tirana that attracts a great number of visitors. The Castle is perched on a rocky hill, above the village with the same name. It has a triangular shape with two observation towers. Although it was first built in ancient times, the present building dates back to the 15th century. Today there is a restaurant inside the castle. The castle offers spectacular views of the Erzen valley, the hills, olive groves, and surrounding mountains. Overnight in Elbasan
Upon on arrival to Elbasan we will visit the Elbasan’s castle which is situated in the middle of the city were we will also have a short coffee brea.
Before the Second World War, Elbasan was a city with a mixture of eastern and medieval buildings, narrow cobbled streets and a large bazaar. There was a clearly defined Christian settlement within the castle walls, a Vlach district on the outskirts of the city and several fine mosques and Islamic buildings. At the time the population was about 15,000 people.
Elbasan has four museums:
1. Ethnographic Museum (1982) held in a 18th century building.
2. “Kostandin Kristoforidhi” house (started as a museum in 1978),
3. War Museum
In the middle of the city is found the Saint Mary Orthodox Church. The church was built in 1830 on the foundations of an older church, which had partially burned in 1819. Paintings and frescoes of Onufri, restored by David Selenicasi and Kostadin Shelcani can still be seen. The church has been an important religious and cultural center for the Albanian language.
Other orthodox churches in the Elbasan District include the Mameli church (built in the 17th century), the Saint Nicholas church (Albanian: Shen Kolli) in Shelcan (built in 1554), the Saint Nicholas church inValesh (built in 1604), the Saints Cosmas and Damian church in Sterstan (built in the 18th century), the Saint Michael (Albanian: Shen Mehilli) church in Shalës (built in the 17th century), the Saint Mary church in Dragot (built in the 18th century), the Saint Nicholas church of Elbasan (17th century), and the Elbasan Saint Athanasius church of Elbasan (built in 1554).
Elbasan is also the home of the Summer Day (Albanian: Dita e Veres) festivities, a pagan feast celebrating the end of winter and arrival of summer. Ballokume, cookies made from butter and corn wheat is the traditional dish served in this day. Since 2004, it has become a national holiday celebrated on a Monday in mid-March.
Day 2. Elbasan -Pogradec .
Once breakfast is served we will commence the journey to Pogradec
Pogradec is a city in southeastern Albania, situated on the shores of Ohrid lake. It is the capital of the District of Pogradec, in theCounty of Korçë
On arrival we will visit Lake Ohrid (363 km 2) one of the deepest freshwater lakes in Europe (home to a variety of fish , and birds found nowhere else in the world).
Visit to the tourist area DRILON (a nice spot not far from Ohrid Lake which was a preferred place for ex-dictator Hoxha to spend his holidays) – it is nicely decorated with willow trees and streams flowing down to the lake
. A trip boat in Drilon is included.
*Lunch at a local restaurant
* Visit to Lin – another beautiful touristic village.
Day 3 Pogradec - Korce
Korça is situated at the foot of Morava mountain, 896 m above sea level, on the Southeastern Albania. Located in an agricultural region, it is a commercial and industrial center producing foodstuffs, rugs, and knitwear. Lignite deposits are mined nearby. Korce is the seat of a Greek Orthodox metropolitan. Known in 1280, it was destroyed in 1440 by the Turks but developed again after the 16th century. Ever since Albania gained independence in the Balkan Wars. Korce has a large 15th-century mosque and several modern government buildings. It is a good place for exploring this hilly region.
Korce is considered to be the cleanest town in Albania. It has old buildings in various states of repair surrounding the Cathedral which was built in 1992. Quaint cobblestown streets run between and behind the main streets. The people are friendly and generous. In the early evening they stroll about town in pairs, arm in arm.
Day 4. Tirane : return to Tirana airport for your return flight home.