Vlore is one of the oldest cities in Albania, being founded by the Ancient Greeks in C6th BC. It was an important port in Roman times and the first Adriatic port to fall to the Ottomans in 1417. Ali Pasha captured the city in 1810 and held it until he was killed in 1822. Delegates from all over Albania met here in 1912 to declare independence from the Ottoman Empire, ending 400 years of Turkish dominance and preventing their country being swallowed up by their Balkan neighbours.
Skanderbeg’s ancient emblem, the double headed black eagle was raised above Flag Square. This is an attractive open area with gardens and the large Independence Statue.
Vlore was the capital of Albania for a short time before being replaced by Tirana. Parliament met in the former quarantine hospital which was the only building available and is now the Independence Museum. Several of the rooms still have the original furniture. The official documents with the government seal and double headed eagle as well as the pen used to sign them are on display.
Vlore is the second largest port in Albania after Durres and has a large harbour area. European money is being used to develop a splendid promenade along the coast, lined with palm trees.
Very little is left of its early history as it suffered during he uncontrolled development during the 1990s. It is a large modern city with high rise buildings and broad streets. The C16th brick built Muradie Mosque in the centre of the city feels almost out of place.
Vlore is on the tourist itinerary for the Independence Museum, although this is probably of more significance to Albanians than most tourists.
We visited as part of an eight day tour of Albania. My detailed report and all the pictures are “here.”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/albania/index.html