Thursday, November 9, 2017

Gjirokastra - Another UNESCO World Heritage Site

It gets dark before 5pm here at this time of year.  And because we don't feel like getting up early, our days are not that long.  We only eat breakfast and a main meal sometime between 3-5pm.  We are still exhausted every night.  The big draw in Gjirokastra is the Gjirokastra Castle.  This town produced two famous people, Enver Hoxha who I have mentioned before and Ismail Kadare who was a writer.  Hoxha was the communist dictator who ruled Albania for 41 years until his death in 1985.

Our guide, Migen, told us that during the time he was in power everyone totally believed in Hoxha and did everything he asked.  Now they look back and see that all the things they people worked so hard for were a total waste.  They built 75000 bunkers all over Albania at great expense and they only thing they have ever been used for is trysts for the locals.  The funny thing is you see signs on some that say "shitet" or for sale.  The Communist built roads - but only single lane and kept them in bad repair because it would slow down any invaders.  Since that time Albania has built some good roads - but only a few.  I don't think cars last very long here as the roads are extremely rough.  I felt like we were off-roading some times.

I've gone off-topic here.  So back to Gjirokastra and its castle.
 Albania has never produced these types of weapons - but has collected ones left behind by other countries during wars.

 This tank below was made by Fiat.  They claim it is the only one of its type left in existent.

 Notice the "window" in the sky between the mountains and the dark cloud cover.
 UNESCO protected houses below.  These houses are treated like other historical areas.  You can only repair using authentic colors and supplies to keep the historic look.

 This plane has been touted to all the Albanians as being an evil American spy plane.  It is not a spy plane but a bomber - and is probably not American at all.

 This structure was built by the Communists as a platform for military performances.

 Our hotel in Gjirokastra and the street leading up to the restaurant where we had dinner/lunch.

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