Gjirokastra Ethnographic Museum

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Things to do


Date of travel

September, 2019

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Gjirokaster Ethnographic Museum is located in a reconstructed traditional house. It is noted for being on the site of the house where Enver Hoxha, Albania’s communist leader was born. The original building was destroyed in the 1960s but was carefully rebuilt.

A young student selling souvenirs outside the museum pointed us in the right direction, up a flight of stairs. Here we found two delightful young girls selling tickets (entrance fee 200 Lek/£1.50). One of the girls took her Turkish coffee off the camping stove and gave us a 5-minute introduction before leaving us to look around on our own.

The first floor was the winter floor as, sandwiched between the ground and upper floors, it was easier to keep warm. Signage outside each of the rooms explained its function but the exhibits inside weren’t so well labelled. The handicraft room had a range of colourful wall hangings and tools used in the weaving process. There was also the bedroom, living room, which was the birth room of Hoxha and had a swinging cradle to denote it. The relaxing room for women (or wome as the sign said), had two children’s bedrooms off it and the bathroom/toilet.

On the top floor was the cool summer veranda, the women’s guest room with wooden carvings on the wall, the dining room with an ornate chimney breast, kitchen and children’s bedroom with costumes on the wall. For some unexplained reason, a tiny room had a large bust on the floor of Mother Theresa and was labelled, guest room for men.

We’d been told there were two original Hoxha items: a clock and what sounded like a diary but could have been a dowry: we didn’t see either.

Back down the stairs onto the ground floor, we found the food storage area in a large arched room, which would have been cool and then strangely a set of weapons.

Perhaps with a guide, the visit might have had more meaning, but the advantage is that we weren’t rushed and could take lots of photos.

Helen Jackson

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