Durres is one of the places affected by Albania’s poor outlook in general. It has an unsafe atmosphere. There is construction everywhere and high-rise buildings on the seashore.
Durres is not a very bright place, but if you want to see it, I recommend you to organize a trip without accommodation. It is a place to stop by on the way. Although it doesn’t look very good, Durres is the second largest city in the country and the main port of Albania. Starting from the Roman Forum, which is the first point of our trip, we can start to visit the places to visit in Durres in an organized way.
It is possible to find many buildings from the Roman period in Durres. Today, these buildings are scattered in various places. One of them is the remains of the Macellum Forum. It is a circular building with a few columns still standing. It has an air of being left alone, without adequate explanation.
Durres Amphitheater, one of the largest amphitheaters in the Balkans, was built in the 2nd century AD by the Romans, even by the Roman Emperor Trajan. Even though some of it has been discovered and unearthed, there are still some parts that remain under the ground. The amphitheater is also one of the largest Roman structures to be seen in Albania. Although there is an entrance fee, you can see most of the amphitheater by walking around it.
The Museum House Museum House
Located very close to the Fatih Mosque, Aleksandër Moisiu Museum is an ethnographic museum inside a traditional house. This house, built with a harmony of stone and wood, is where the Albanian actor Alexander Moissi spent his childhood. The upper floor has been turned into a museum. While some of the rooms are reserved for the famous actor, some of them are used as rooms where clothes, objects, dinnerware, kitchen utensils made of copper used in the region are exhibited.
Durres Fortress Walls
The surviving parts of the fortress and fortifications that you can see when you move from the amphitheater towards the sea are in very good condition. They were built to make the ancient Roman city of Dyrrachium a more protected and secure place. Especially the Venetian Tower, which looks like a bastion on the sea side, is worth seeing. There is now a cafe inside.
As we move down from the city walls towards the sea side, we come across the Albanian College Durres school building, which stands out with its architecture among the buildings that look idle. Unfortunately, we encounter very few buildings of this type with beautiful architecture during our stay in Durres. When you enter from the street where the school is located towards the city walls, you come across Fatih Mosque, one of the oldest mosques in the region. Durrës Fatih Mosque is a very small mosque and was built during the reign of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror. Its door is locked except for prayer times.
Durres Archaeological Museum
Since most of the city’s attractions are archaeologically based, there is a need for an archaeological museum in the city. It is possible to see artifacts from many civilizations in the museum, which mostly exhibits the artifacts unearthed as a result of excavations in the ancient city of Dyrrhachium. Museums in Albania are a bit flexible. We couldn’t enter the museum because of the museum employee who didn’t open the museum on time and it was unclear whether he would come or not.
Ahmet Zogut Villa – Vila e Ahmet Zogut
On the hill behind the Archaeological Museum you will see a large building. At the end of this hill overlooking Durres, there is a villa. You cannot go inside, it is closed. However, it is in a position where you can watch the panoramic view of Durres.
For Albania, Durres is the place to swim. There are nearly 10 km of beaches with fine sand and palm trees. This region, which is the Albanian leg of the Adriatic Sea, is full of people from many settlements, including the capital Tirana. You can swim in the sea in most of Durres beaches. It is also possible to see people swimming on the beaches as you walk around the city. You can also take a walk on the pedestrian paths connecting the beaches.
In the evenings, many playgrounds are opened around the beach, like amusement parks, similar to the mobile swings that came to the streets in the 90s, and people spend their time there in the evenings. Even if you go to the fancy restaurants around Durres beach, you will leave the table with good food at a reasonable price as the country is very cheap.
Where is Durres and how to get there?
Durres is the second largest city in Albania. It is 36km (50min) from Tirana. If you want to come from Iskodër, the distance is 110km (1h 45m).
There is another castle 44km (1h) from Durres, which is within the borders of Durres region and worth a visit. It is called Castle of Kruja and was not on our route. But with its size and features, it seems to be the only building worth seeing in Durres region.