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Europe > Balkans > Albania > Southeastern Albania > Elbasan

Elbasan

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Elbasan is the city at the very center of Albania. Its central location, North to South and East to West, is the reason it is sometimes referred to as "Kërthiza e Shqipërisë" (The Bellybutton of Albania).

Understand[edit]

Elbasan Castle

Elbasan is a key city for travelers to Korca, Pogradec and North Macedonia. All the travelers from Tirana or other parts of Albania must pass through Elbasan to arrive in North Macedonia through the Qafe-Thana border.

Get in[edit]

About 45 minute ride from Tirana with the bus through the semi-finished new motorway that is still being built as in 2018. The new motorway was opened in 2012 and now you can go from Tirana to Elbasan much faster. Beside the new motorway you can see the beautiful landscapes. Elbasan is 54.7 km away from Tirana International Aeroport.

Get around[edit]

Walking, bus or taxi. Taxis are located close to the furgons (vans) at the center of the city.

See[edit]

Naziresha Mosque
  • The Elbasan Castle is right at the center of town. Only two ancient walls remain but the area inside is full of old houses, cobblestone streets, and an excellent restaurant. One castle wall is centered around the impressive sahati (clock tower).
  • Castle of Elbasan The two-thousand-year-old Castle of Elbasan, a Roman construction built as early as the 3rd century B.C.,Foreign travelers in the ‘800s noted that cities like Elbasan no longer existed in Europe. Skampis, as this fortress-town was once called, was founded in 1466 by two strikingly different leaders: the Roman emperor Justinian and Sultan Mehmet the Second.
  • Elbasan Ethnographic Museum - Located in the center of the city, not far from the Castle of Elbasan, this museum is housed in a traditional two-story 18th century house that tells of the culture, folklore and lifestyle in this medieval city.
  • “Kostandin Kristoforidhi” house (started as a museum in 1978) - The house where the scholar Konstandin Kristoforidhi was born. Kristoforidhi is well-known in Albania for having set the basis of unification of the two Albanian dialects into a national language. The house doesn't work yet as a museum and isn't visitable on the inside although discussions are being made to turn it into a museum.
  • Elbasan Area - a modern architecture. There are over 400 parking spaces, 2 restaurants, 1 conference room and a restaurant for V.I.P. The stadium has a capacity of 15,000 seats. You must have an ID card to enter the stadium

Do[edit]

  • Take a stroll down the wide brick boulevard leading from the center of town past one of the castle walls and the clock tower. Most evenings right after dusk the boulevard is full of many Elbasan residents out for a nightly walk.
  • Visit the numerous Belsh Lakes near Belsh and take part in the annual Summer Day celebration in mid-March near the Dumreja Forest.
  • Visit the Plane Tree and the ruins of the Basilica of Bezistan
  • Take a dip on the curative thermal waters of Llixha and visit the caves and waterfalls of Gramsh
  • Stop at one of the picturesque villages of Gjinar[1][2] and Stebleve

Buy[edit]

  • Traditional costumes, postcards of the city.

Eat[edit]

  • Bugaçe, a traditional Elbasan breakfast roll found nowhere else in Albania. Smothered in butter and with a dash of salt, this roll is delicious but not the those watching their cholesterol.
  • Bollokume, another Elbasan specialty rarely found elsewhere in Albania. It is essentially a large sugar cookie. While sold in stores all over the city, the best are always the freshly baked warm cookies.
  • Try the traditional Tavë Elbasani and other yummy specialties.
  • Trilece at the restaurant across from the clock tower is especially good.

The tallest building in Elbasan, one block from the center and easily identifiable, has a rotating restaurant/bar on the top floor. If for nothing else, go for the view.

Drink[edit]

Cokollatë e zezë (black chocolate). It's like hot chocolate, but almost as thick as pudding and eaten with a spoon.

Bozë- Sweet and without alcohol. Healthy, delicious, rich in ferrets that help digestion and inhibit the development of intestinal micro-organisms.

Sleep[edit]

Hotel Vila Imperial - 450 m from the center. Hotel Vila Imperial features a bar, terrace and free WiFi.

Hotel Guri - 500 m from center. Featuring room service, this property also provides guests with a terrace. The air-conditioned rooms provide a garden view and come with a desk and free WiFi.

Antique House Elbasan - 650 m from the center. Antique House Elbasan has a balcony, free WiFi, a garden, as well as a terrace.

You can sleep at a Couchsurfer's house for free. Albanians are very generous and really good hosts.

Connect[edit]

Wireless Internet is widely available in cafés and restaurants throughout the city, although it's a good idea to ask if one is available before you sit down. Free public WiFi is also available around the city through Albtelecom.

Several private phone calling shops with long-distance calling are available.

Mobile telephony providers provide 3G and 4G internet telephony.

Go next[edit]

  • Sopot - definite form Sopoti (Albanian: Sopoti), is a small region in north-east Albania. It is also a village (Prrenjas municipality) and mountain with the same name.
  • Pogradec
  • Struga, North Macedonia
  • Berat
  • Durrës
  • Tiranë


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