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CHURCHES AND MONASTERIES OF DHERMI Dhërmi is a quaint coastal village. a basilica with a Byzantine-style wooden and tiled dome with a single nave. with a Byzantine-style dome dating back to the 14 th century. Park carefully on the roadsides in Dhermi. The Archbishop Ioannis of Himara and Delvina commissioned frescos to decorate the . and begin the steep 15minute climb from the National Road to Saint Mary Church and P anais Monastery Panais Monastery. An old church. serves as the communion area. home to 31 churches and monasteries and is a favorite summer retreat for many of Tirana’s international community.

but was not finished until nearly 500 years later in 1860. head south – the second village you pass will be the village of Gjipe. though a small donation for its upkeep is encouraged. Castle of Himara Himara. 25 minutes on the Vlora-Saranda National Road and dirt roads) From Dhermi. Upon arrival. Admission is free to both churches. a beautiful and clean beach hidden inside the narrow neck of Gjipe Canyon. Exhibiting typical features of the mid-14th century churches on the Albanian coast. The monastery was originally built in the 14th century. Another interesting characteristic of the church is the high. positioned prominently on the hill above the city which it once . MONASTERY OF SAINT THEODORE (Approx. the Church of Ipapandia has a large. Gjipe. semi-circular shaped atrium. with construction funded by contributions from other neighboring monasteries. which is divided by the narthex. rocky paths. is home to the Monastery of Saint Theodore Theodore. Part of the descent will be on foot on narrow.5 km south from Dhermi – approx. one may visit the 5th century B. the screen or wall dividing the sanctuary from the nave in traditional Orthodox and Catholic churches. The Church of Ipapandia is situated very close to the beach and can be reached via a 5minute drive on secondary roads.C. extreme caution should be exercised when descending or ascending these paths to the beach. 35 minutes on the Vlora-Saranda National Road) Continuing south along the National Road to the ancient city of Himara. The narthex features two entrances and a stone iconostas.church in 1781. take advantage of the natural beauty for a roadside picnic or photography on this untouched stretch of Albanian coastline. although a small donation for their upkeep is encouraged. elegant bell tower erected on the western facade. HIMARA ’S CA STLE AND CHURCHES HIMARA’S CASTLE (13 km south from Gjipe – approx. Admission is free to the monastery. Follow signs from the main road to Gjipe beach. a former Albanian military outpost.

Continue on foot to the castle. upon first entering the city as it is closer to the castle.. LUNCH IN THE ANCIENT CITY OF HIMARA Inhabited for thousands of years. Himara’s earliest known occupants were of the Illyrian Chaonians tribe. After enjoying this peaceful spot amongst the citrus and olive trees. Perhaps the most beautiful church within the walls is the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus Bacchus. Himara was known by the name of Chimera and in the 9th-10th centuries chronicles mention it as an Episcopal center under the Ohrid Archdiocese. Driving south from Gjipe. part of them being built on top of earlier walls. Original construction is thought to have occurred towards the end of the 10 th century. the castle was occupied until the 16th century A. Also known as the Church of All Saints. Today Himara is the largest town between Vlora and Saranda.C. where most of the town’s hotels and restaurants are located. paying attention to the slippery rocks underfoot. The city’s main earner is tourism. and visitors should have little . and contains a number of houses and churches of the post-Byzantine period. In the 5th century B. Himara castle and its churches charge no admission. a beautiful coastal town by the Ioanian sea. this former seat of the archbishopric of Himara showcases church walls preserving its multiple phases of construction. continue on to lower Himara and its beaches.protected. A longtime stronghold of the local population.D. it is advised to park the vehicle in upper Himara. overlooking Himara and the Ionian Sea.

the inhabitants built supportive walls and therefore avoided the church becoming destroyed entirely. served family-style with homemade local wines. Fried potatoes and a variety of salads make for great accompaniments. Admission to the church is free and visitors are encouraged to walk carefully on the paths leading to the ruins. A 30-minute walk is necessary to reach the church.difficulty in locating a simple. The church is a basilica with three naves. It features a cupola poised over a high cylindrical roof at the center of the hall and a two-story narthex on its west wing. situated on a hill overlooking the village of Piqeras. . on the left side of the National Road. snapper (koce). These collapsed at the beginning of the 20th century. The Church of Saint Mary of Kremosova dates back to 1672. Some time later. when the church also had some lateral walls damaged. 60 minutes on the Vlora-Saranda National Road) From Himara. served either fried (skuqur) or grilled (zgare). As a seaside town. From the narthex there was a direct passage to the residence halls of the monastery. CHURCH OF SAINT MARY OF VA KREMOSO KREMOSOV (24 km south from Himara – approx. and is preserved in the center of monastic ruins. yet well-maintained restaurant or café to dine in. visitors are encouraged to try the local catch of the day: sea bass (levrek). or red mullet (barbun). continue south along the National Road towards the Monastery of Kremosova.

according to a 1672 inscription inside the church. with frescoes painted in 1672. . watch the sun set at the highly recommended Church and Monastery of Saint Mary at Kakome Kakome. 45 minutes) Before ending your tour in the seaside resort town of Saranda. The nave is cross-shaped and the church has a dome-shaped roof. Follow the signs by turning right towards the sea. The nave is preceded by an arched narthex. comprised of residential buildings situated in the two corners of the courtyard. This is a fortified monastery. if possible. This monastery is situated about 2 km northwest of the Church and Monastery of Saint Mary of Kakome. traveling an additional 20 minutes (7 km) to the monastery. Admission is free to both churches though a small donation is encouraged for their upkeep. and the church dedicated to Saint Mary in the center. The roof of the church is covered with stone slabs and the church itself dates to the post Byzantine period. Located in the Bay of Kakome. A visit also to the nearby Church and Monastery of Saint Mary at Krorëz-Nivica is also recommended. head south from Piqeras until you see signs for Kakome beach. at the front of which is a bell tower.MONASTERIES OF SAINT MARY (Turn off from National Road is 22 km south of Piqeras – approx. The frescoes of the church were produced by a painter named Mihal. The floor plan of the Church of Saint Mary at Krorëz-Nivica resembles a cross with a cupola and is similar to other Byzantine churches found in the area.

such as roasted lamb. Influenced by Greek. five miles away. and stews. Fresh seafood is abundant. Travelers will find little difficulty locating a place to stay. Italian and Turkish cuisines. pastry pies (byrek). AVIS. although rooms may be harder to come by during the summer high season in July and August.com Celesi Tourist Guides. With its lively Mediterranean atmosphere.bashkiavlore. Local wines and homemade brandy (raki) will help finish off any course as visitors to Saranda take advantage of the scenic setting to watch the sun set over nearby Corfu.org. to ancient ruins and peaceful beaches. For more Information: www. www.himara. e-mail: opinion@celesi.al. www.saranda-guide.com. 15 minutes) Continue on from the monasteries of Saint Mary for dinner and overnight in Saranda. Albania’s southern-most city and a primary entry-point for visitors arriving from the Greek island of Corfu.tirana-airport. as well as recipes from the surrounding areas’ pastoral traditions.com Car Rental Companies: Sixt. Saranda’s culinary traditions are wellknown amongst Albanians. from high-end hotels and dynamic discotheques.albaniantourism. EuropCar. Saranda has something to offer all visitors. HERTZ .eu. www.FINE DINING IN THE SEASIDE RESORT TOWN OF SARANDA (12 km south from the Kakome Beach sign – approx.com www.

No sites on this itinerary are handicapped accessible. Public transportation will only provide access to locations on the main Vlora-Saranda National Road. this itinerary offers all visitors a chance to glimpse inside Albania’s Byzantine and postByzantine religious history. All stops on this itinerary feature well-preserved structures. secondary roads. From short stops along your journey to those that are well “off the beaten path”. and/or vehicle used. Walking shoes in good condition are also advised. many of which are decorated with original frescoes from the 17th century. the Vlora-Saranda National Road has only been improved as far south as the village of Dhermi. Please note that travel and visitation times are approximate and may vary depending on the season. As of January 2008. Travelers are advised to travel these segments by daylight if the driver is unfamiliar with these winding. private transportation is recommended. weather. Integrated Coastal Zone Management and Clean Up Project . Travelers should be cautioned that the road is in the process of being improved and road construction may delay their journeys.This itinerary will allow travelers to visit a series of churches and monasteries from Albania’s millennia-long history.