Gjirokastra , the “stone city” is situated in the southern part of Albania, on the the eastern slope of mountain Mali I Gjere.
Due to its strategic position , this ancient dwelling place, which dates back to the first century AD, was transformed into a castle , which later became the nucleus of the further development of the city. By the year 1336 it was mentioned first by the name ARGYROKASTRA.
What strikes the visitors most in Gjirokastra are its typical and characteristic houses which resemble little fortresses, clustered one above the other. Their exterior combines roughness with the beauty of windows, small rooms and light pillars supporting the roofs protruding from the walls. The most attractive feature is the stone which has been masterfully elaborated by the builders. Hence Gjirokastra has been called the “city of one thousand steps” or “the stone city”. The main objects to be visited are the Fortress of Gjirokastra, which is the biggest in Albania. Built in the 4th century it represents one of those magnificent and well preserved constructions in Albania. Raises high on the top of a hill, it provides the possibility for visitors to cast a glance on the most interesting landscape of the city and the nearby area, and Drinos valley. The Festival of the Folklorique Arts from all parts of Albania use to be organized continually there. The National Museum of Weapons ( housed inside the fortress) where various arms from the Neolithic period until the Second World War are displayed there and the Museum of the Folk Culture.
Above the city there is Koculla tourist spot, while only few km in the north there is another tourist area which is Viroi. It is a carstic spring which creates a very attractive area with vegetation and water flowing into the Drinos River. You can find some restaurants there .
The district of Gjirokastra is also attractive in nature and historical places. Climbing on the slopes of Lunxheria mountain in front of Gjirokastra you will reach at the Pass of Cajupi 1310 meters above sea level, where the field with the same name is located. This is a beautiful climacteric area where the delicious honey well known in Albania is made. In this region near the village of Saraqinisht there are the ruins of ancient city of Antigonea. The city was part of Kaonia and dates back to the II century B.C. Antigonea was thought to be established from King Pirro of Epirus and took its name for the honour of his wife called Antigonea. The district of Gjirokastra offers also good opportunities for hunting. There is a hunting ground in the Commune of Pogon.
Having visited the city you may rest, or spend the night at some characteristic houses offering Bed & Breakfast accommodation.