On the Ottoman Route

Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo

6 days

Tour reference: EAMK6-UK

Description:

Born in the 14th century, on the remains of the Byzantine Empire and the Seljuq State, the Ottoman Empire extended two and a half centuries later from the Mediterranean to the northern shores of the Black Sea and the Arabian Peninsula at the gates of Morocco. He disappeared in 1922. At its height, the Ottoman Empire was prosperous, underwent many reforms and showed great ethnic, religious and cultural diversity. This trip leads the traveller to discover part of the heritage left in the region by the various Ottoman dynasties.

Day 1

Airport – Tirana

Welcome by anEnglish-speaking guide at the “Mother Theresa” airport in Tirana. Departure by bus to Tirana, the capital of Albania. Luggage deposit at the hotel. Direction the cable car for the ascent of Mt Dajti. Lunch at an altitude of about 1000 meters in a panoramic restaurant, offering an extraordinary view of Tirana, its surroundings and, on a clear day, the Adriatic Sea.

Return by cable car to Tirana. Visit of the National History Museum. This museum offers visitors the opportunity to explore the history of Albania by discovering eight pavilions: Antiquity, Middle Ages, Renaissance, Independence, Iconography, Antifascist Liberation War, Communist Terror and Mother Teresa.

Visit to the National Gallery of the Arts. In its collections, a rare collection of socialist realistic art but also unknown works of contemporary art. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions from all over the world and a bookshop.

Visit of the city center and its famous “Block” via the Tabakëve bridge, built in the 18th century in the heart of Tirana.

Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel.

”Day
Day 3

Ohrid – St Naum - Voskopoja – Korca

Small bus trip to St Naum. Visit of the monastery which was founded in the 10th century by the holy monk Naum de Preslav who left his mark in many literary and cultural fields. This monument of unique architecture, built in a magnificent setting, is admirably decorated.

Then, a moment of relaxation in the cobbled streets of the typical Albanian village of Voskopoje with its grey stone houses. Also known as the Moscopole, in the 18th century it was a cultural and commercial center for the Aromanians, this ethnic group native to the Balkans that adopted the Ottoman way of life. Visit of the church of St Nicolas, built in 1721 and entirely covered with wall paintings.

To Korca, one of Albania’s most important cultural and economic lungs. The city hosted the first Albanian school in 1887 and houses the Museum of Education. When Korca was under French administration (1916), nearly 200 bilingual schools (Albanian – French) were opened in this “little Paris”. Visit the old town center where the oldest mosque in the country is located, an Orthodox cathedral, streets lined with charming houses and a traditional market.

Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel.

Day 4

Korca - Gjirokaster

A long drive to Gjirokaster awaits you. Marked by numerous breaks, it will allow you to discover rural Albania and a new facet of its mountains and valleys.

The birthplace of Ismail Kadaré, an Albanian writer often nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature, Gjirokaster is on UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites. Its winding and paved streets, its typical bunched houses and particular roofs have earned it the nickname of “Stone City”.  It is the exceptional testimony of a society and a way of life that has almost disappeared.

Visit of its immense medieval citadel and museum, which house remains of the Second World War, various exhibitions and the museum of photography. Since 1986, the citadel has hosted a festival of traditional polyphonic music in its gardens. These songs are precious for the country because they are unique in the world and are classified by UNESCO.

Head for the old bazaar in the city center, where you can immerse yourself in Albanian culture and discover a wide variety of local products.

Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel.

Day 5

Gjirokaster - Berat – Kruja

Berat, better known as the “City of 1000 Windows”, is unique in its kind.

Visit of the fortress and the National Museum of the Icons of Onufri, a 16th century Albanian painter famous for having used pink – then rare – in his works. The museum is housed inside the Sainte Mary’s Church, built in the 10th century.

Visit of the Gorica district, then of the Mangalem district with its typical houses, which can be reached by crossing the Osum river.

The journey continues to Kruja, an ancient medieval city. Visit of the Ethnographic Museum which is located in the citadel in a house that belonged to one of the richest families of the 18th century. Set against a backdrop of elaborate ceilings and sumptuous murals, it presents objects and scenes of life that help us understand how an Albanian family lived in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel.

Day 6

Departure

Period : From November to March

 

INCLUDED
Hotels: See list of hotels below 5* Breakfasts
5* Dinners 1* Lunch (Day 1)
Transportation English-speaking guide
Cable car All visits mentioned in this program
All local taxes
NOT INCLUDED Air transport
All personal expenses of participants Tips and gratuities Air transport

Period: all year round.

Number of persons: maximum 19

– Day 1: Hotel Capital 3* https://capitaltiranahotel.com/

– Day 2: Hotel Granit 4* http://www.hotelgranit.com.mk/

– Day 3: Hotel Regency 3*

– Day 4: Hotel Kodra 3*

– Day 5: Hotel Panorama 4* http://hotelpanoramakruje.com/

Students can be accommodated in single, double or triple rooms in a single bed.

Depending on the availability of hotels at the time of booking, the group may be accommodated in two hotels of the same category.

Depending on the season and/or the availability of the restaurants, dinners may be taken in the hotels.

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