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MARTIN

GJIROKASTER, ALBANIAIt's a beautiful town any time of the year, but I love it in the spring when there is still snow on the mountain tops. The panorama viewed here was from the front steps of Vita and Haxhi Kotoni's Bed and Breakfast. Every time I took in this view, any time of the day or night, it was simply breathtaking.

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From every angle in the old town, the castle dominates the view. It dates back to pre-Christian times. And, in the blistering heat of summer, it is too far to walk. But, in the cooler temperatures of Spring, irises are in bloom and the cafe at the top is a great place for a coffee (if you can handle a Turkish brew).
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MARTIN

The old town is a protected UNESCO World Heritage site. Gjirokaster, built more than 200 years ago, is a rare example of Ottoman architecture. All streets are cobblestone, which is absolutely beautiful! But, they are difficult when dry and completely treacherous when wet. Walls of these stone fortress homes are a yard thick. Even the roof tiles are made from stone. It's no wonder that Gjirokaster is called "the stone city".

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I spent a lot of time strolling up and down the side streets of Gjirokaster. Any stroll should include the historic homes converted into museums. And, if you are really up for a walk, hike out of town to explore the bunkers.
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Copyright 2014 by Phillip Martin. All rights reserved.
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