The city of Berat is one of the oldest and most important cities in Albania (otherwise known as the city of 1001 windows). In 1961, Berat was officially declared a museum city and today, it is an important tourist city and a UNESCO-protected place for its cultural and historical heritage.
Berat, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008, comprises a unique style of architecture with influences from several civilizations that have managed to coexist for centuries throughout the history. Like many cities in Albania, Berat comprises an old fortified city filled with churches and mosques painted with grandiose wealth of visible murals and frescos. Berat is one of the main cultural centres of the country.
Berat inherits 210 museum objects. Among these values, the most prominent are:
The Castle or Castle of Berat, as it is called by the people of Berat, is one of the largest historical monuments of the Balkans, a large fortress that dominates the Osum River. The castle is built according to a triangular plan. This castle, if seen from below, looks like part of the hill. The top of the hill is surrounded by an outer peripheral wall with 24 towers. There are about 14 churches inside this castle.
The Cathedral “The Dormition of Saint Mary” and Onufri National Iconographic Museum
The Cathedral “The Dormition of Saint Mary”, is the only church that has survived inside the former metropolitan complex, where the Onufri National Iconographic Museum is also located. Built in 1797, this cathedral stands at the highest point of Berat Castle. The iconostasis of the cathedral of “The Dormition of St Mary” was created in 1807. It is considered a finest piece of the Albanian woodcarving. The iconostasis decorations feature some Baroque-style features and principles, a dominant and distinctive trend of churches built in the Balkans during the 18th and 19th centuries. All these motifs are intertwined with other elements of Byzantine tradition.
The “Onufri” museum is located in the Kala neighborhood and contains some of the most beautiful examples of religious art in Albania. The museum was opened in 1986, named after the great painter of the century. XVI Onufri. The Museum holds 200 artwork objects, icons and liturgical items dated from the 14th century to the 20th, brought together from several churches and monasteries of the region. You will see icons painted by renown Albanian icon painters such as Onufri, Onufri’s son Nikolla, Onufër the Cypriot, David Selenica, Kostandin Shpataraku, the Çetiri tribe with Gjergji, Johani, Nikolla, Naumi, and his son Gjergji, as well as anonymous painters.
The Gorica Bridge is one of Berat’s cultural and architectural monuments and at the same time one of its symbols. The Goricë Bridge over the Osum River connects the city with the Goricë neighborhood. Around 1780, with the care of Ahmet Kurt Pasha, from the wooden bridge to the upper part, it was built entirely of stone. It has a length of 129.3 meters and a width of 5.3 meters, it is up to 10 meters high. It consists of 7 arches and connects the Gorica neighborhood with other parts of Berat and the Këlcyra road.