History of Berat in Illiryan time

Berat is one of the ancient city of Illyria (now Albania). Its life begin in the 6th-5th century B.C. Later, in the 3rd century B.C., that is also the time of the further extension of the civic life in Illyria. The city was founded in 313-310 p.e.s. as the fortress-city of Dasaretia, called Antipatrea by the king.

After the Roman occupation in the century. II p.e.s. Berat was called Albanorum Oppidium which is translated the Arber Fortress. Only in the middle of the 5th century the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius II , carry out reconstruction and fortification work on the fortress, which was continued by his sister Empress Pulheria. The young lady in year 453 baptized the city with the new name Pulheriopolis. that means Beautiful City. Berat with this name (Pulheriopolis) will be called until the 9th century.

Role of Berat during Ottoman’s

In the period 1335 – 1417 (XII-XIV centuries) Berat after numerous conquests will be taken in posses by the Albanian principality of the Muzakajs, led by Teodor Koron Muzaka. TK Muzaka was participant and ally of Gjergj Kastriot-Skanderbeg at the Grand Assembly of the Covenant in Lezha. (March 02, 1444). Under the possession of the Muzakaya’s, the city began to lie outside the walls of the castle.At this time Berat reaches the largest territorial extent, develops and becomes an important economic, commercial, administrative and cultural center.

During Ottoman rule, one of the longest, Berat receives today’s name and features of the Oriental world. The last flowering of the fortification of the Berat Fortress belongs to the period of the Albanian pashaliks. In the century. XVIII (1774 – 1787). Unlike other castles, the Berat Fortress has been equipped with 24 towers today named after the Turkish name Tabje. The three neighborhood of Berat are Mangalemi and Gorica and Castle ( Kala)

Neighborhood of Berat

Mangalemi, the construction of houses in this neighborhood began during the XV-XVI centuries. The neighborhood is in the shape of an elegant pyramid that mimics the silhouette of the hill on which the castle stands. This composition, is characterized by intense transparency due to the large number of windows, from which Berat is also named as “the city of a thousand and one windows”.

Gorica is the neighborhood opposite Mangalem that never watches the sun during winter. The both neighborhood devided by the Osum River are conected with each other with a bridge called Gorica Bridge. The third one Kala is on castle hill.

On 08 July 2008, the City of Berat became part of the World Heritage Preservation and Conservation Organization (UNESCO). The castle is very notet for its churces that belongs the Byzantine period, We can mention the Byzantine Church of Saint Michael, Church of Saint Mary Blachernae, the Church of he Holy Trinity, the post-Byzantine monumental Cathedral of T Mary and many other churches located in the castle.

The Cathedral of T Mary houses a museum of works by the famous iconographers of the 16th century: Onufri, and his son, Nikolla. There are over 100 icons on display and they also include works of other artists such as Joan Çetiri, Onufër Qiprioti, and many anonymous painters. You also can visit the Monastery of Saint Spyridon in Gorica.

The Ottomans occupation left its islamic faith mark to the city Berat such as the Red Mosque inside the castle, the  Lead Mosque (1555),  the Celibataires Mosque (1872) in Mangalem quartier but also King Mosque (16th century), and the Halveti Tekke or Tariqa in the medieval center . Exept the antic history Berat is very well known for its traditional dishes. It is worth tasting specialties such as pula me përshesh and çorba e Tomorrit  and other specialities in the local restaurants.