Castle in Berat
Berat Castle is more like a village within the walls of a castle. It has many names including the ‘Citadel of Berat’, ‘Castle Quarter’, and ‘Kalaja’ or ‘On the castle Hill’ It is one of the three areas of Berat and overlooks the town of Berat and lies high above the Osum River.
The castle area was first fortified by the Illyrian Parthini tribe in the 4th century BC. They also fortified the hill opposite in present day Gorica in order to be able to control the whole valley. The fortress fell to the Romans in 200BC, who razed the fortress and killed the male population. They rebuilt the fortress a few centuries later to protect the Balkans from the barbarians invasions. The castle was enlarged over time, under Byzantine conquerors, in the 5th, 6th, and 13th centuries.
The 13 century building is mostly what you see today. Encircled by stone walls, with a total of twenty-four watchtowers, the interior of the castle is a residential area and is still inhabited today. In the 15th century there were thirty-five churches within the walls of the castle, although only 10 survive. The population of Berat was mainly Christian, but two mosques were built for the Turkish garrison. Little is now left of the Red Mosque, apart from its brick minaret.
It is worth walking around the walls of the castle in order to appreciate its size and the views over the city and the valley.
The castle is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Other names of Berat Castle
The Berat Castle has the following names: Antipatreia (Ancient Greece), Pulcheriopolis (Roman and early Byzantine period).
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Visiting Berat Castle
9am – 6pm.