O Loved Albania!
Hardy nurse of men.
Holding thy silver cross,
I worship thee…
– Anonymous, 1737
A city on the Adriatic Sea. Europe’s mountainous and rugged answer to Miami. Mediterranean breezes lapping the façades of hundreds of humble restaurants and romantic cafés lining the waterfront. You are imagining the southern Albanian city of Vlora, known locally as Vlorë.
Vlora is a goldmine for the romantic traveler. The Bay of Vlora hugs 12 miles of the Adriatic’s striking blue waters. Are you eager to try one-of-a-king Albanian seafood? Restaurant “Pulbardha” is a hidden gem nestled in the city’s medieval walkways. Perhaps you are a night-owl in search of Albania’s dynamic, energetic side? The nightclub “Versus” is an institution for Vlora’s youth.
In order to find the city’s cultural and culinary epicenter, the name of the district is Uji i Ftohtë (OO-yee ee Ftote), or Cold Water.
For the history buff eager to experience “The City of Independence” in the centuries B.C., Vlora is a bastion of ancient settlements. Names such as Triportus, Bylis, Amantia, Orikum, and Apollonia are names familiar to anyone with a passion for Greek and Roman history and they surround Vlora to the north, east, and south. The Castle of Kanina, just due south of Vlora itself, has been standing stoically mountainside for over 2,000 years.
Limitless energy combined with a rare seaside tranquility are the two ingredients that formed the city of Vlora, making one feel at the very edge of the planet. In order to truly appreciate the city’s captivating panoramic views, one has only to ascend the Kuz Baba. This is the building located at the top of Vlora’s central hill. Looking out from the Kuz Baba is the sight that would inspire anybody to name hardy Albania the “nurse of men”.