Shkodër (2 sets), Tirana, Apollonia, Berat (2 sets)
Map & Tirana
Tirana is the capital and most populous city of the Republic of Albania. Tirana was founded as a city in 1614, but the region that today corresponds to the city territory has been continuously inhabited since the Bronze Age. As most of Albania, the area was populated by several Illyrian tribes, but had no importance within Illyria. Indeed, it was annexed by Rome and became an integral part of the Roman Empire following the Illyrian Wars. The heritage of that period is still evident and represented by the Mosaics of Tirana. Further later in the 5th and 6th century, a Paleo Christian basilica was built around this site.
Shkodër or Shkodra is the capital of the surrounding county of Shkodër, one of 12 constituent counties of the republic. The city is one of the most ancient cities in the Balkans and the fourth most populous city in the country and exerts strong influences in culture, religion, arts and entertainment of northern Albania.
The ruins of the ancient Illyiran city of Apollonia sit on a remote hilltop location some 12km west of the city of Fier. While definitely one of Albania's most important ancient sites, the ruins have fairly minimal descriptions... Set on rolling hills among olive groves, with impressive views all around, Apollonia (named after the god Apollo) was founded by Greeks from Corinth and Corfu in 588 BC and quickly grew into an important city-state, which minted its own currency and benefited from a robust slave trade. Under the Romans (from 229 BC), the city became a great cultural centre with a famous school of philosophy.
This 2,413 years-old city, the pride of Albanian architecture which is under the protection of UNESCO, is located 120 km from Tirana. The city forms a wonderful combination of eastern and western cultures, costumes, traditions and outlook. Berat is a treasure-trove of Albanian history, culture and a testament to the country's radition of religious harmony.