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DURRES

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Durrės, Albanian's first port City.
 
 
Durrės was founded by the Greeks in 627 BC. For centuries it was the largest port on the Adriatic and the Via Egnatia connected it with Constantinople (present day Istanbul). When the Italians landed at Durrės in 1939 they were met with fierce resistance and the victims that fell defending the city are now regarded as the first martyrs of the War of National Liberation. On many Italian maps Durrės is named Durazzo.
 
 
Albania's second largest city has an interesting >Archaeological Museum. It sits on the waterfront promenade not far from the port. The 6th-century city walls are directly behind the museum. They were built after the Visigoth invaded in 481. In the 14th century, the round Venetian Towers were added in order to upgrade the defensive possibilities. There are several Roman and Byzantine fortifications and ruins in Durrės. The most impressive is probably the Roman Amphitheatre, which was built in the 1st or 2nd century AD. It stands just inside the city walls on a hillside. West of the amphitheatre is the Palace of King Ahmet Zog, while a statue of Skėnderberg stands in front of the amphitheatre. There are Roman Baths in the center of town, behind the Aleksandėr Moisiu Theatre on the central square.
 
The important port of Durrės is the second largest city in Albania with the second largest concentration of industry. The city was colonized by the Greeks in 627 B.C. It was named Epidamnos, which later became Dyrrachium. From the Venetian Tower at the harbor the Medieval Town Wall leads to the amphitheater (capacity 15,000 spectators) dating back to the 2nd century AD. and containing an early Christian Crypt with a rare wall mosaic. Between the 1st and 3rd centuries Durrės was an important port and trading center on the Via Egnatia trading route between Rome and Byzantium (Istanbul). After a great number of earthquakes, much of ancient Durrės sank into the sea or collapsed and was subsequently built over. Today the city is well known for the nearby beach resort of Durrės Plazh, its wonderful sand and warm sea water.

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