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Destination Details

Durres, Albania

Durres, the second largest city of Albania (161,800 inhabitants, 2008 estimate), is the most ancient city and one of the most economically important as the biggest port city. The beaches of Durrës are local hotspots for many Albanians and are an important part of tourism in Albania.

The city was colonized by the colonists from Corinth and Korkyra in 627 B.C. It was named Epidamnus, which later became Dyrrachium. Between the 1st and 3rd centuries Durres was an important port and trading centre on the Via Egnatia trading route, between Rome and Byzantium (Istanbul). After a great number of earthquakes, much of ancient Durres sank into the sea or collapsed and was subsequently built over. The most important object is the amphitheatre with 15,000 seats, dating back to the 2nd century AD.

In the middle ages was Durres coveted by many different intruders from all over Europe. The fact that this city has been inhabited throughout its history, means that very little of the ancient city has been excavated, as it exists under the newer buildings. However the archeological museum is well stocked and presented. The famous Roman orator, Cicero called Durres an admirable city, while the poet Catullus called it the tavern of the Adriatic.

Today the city is well known for the beach resort of Durres with sandy beaches and warm sea waters. It is about 10.5 km long and is frequented by Albanian and foreign tourists from May until October.

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