The city of Butrint, Saranda is possibly one the handful tour destinations in the world that boasts of a unique blend of ancient history, scenic landscapes, unique cultures, amazing monuments and troves of antique treasures. Regarded as the cradle of Albanian and Mediterranean history, Butrint offers rare historical accounts that are amazingly affirmed by the bountiful archeological collections and monuments. Butrint is in southern Albania and is located within the district of Sarande in the county of Vlore. Here are 10 reasons why you should visit Butrint, Saranda
Butrint, UNESCO world Heritage Site
Butrint was officially recognized a UNESCO world heritage site in 1992. This recognition affirms its ancient and archeological appeal that has defied the forces of nature to preserve antiques that dates back to over 50,000 years ago. As a visitor to world recognized heritage site, you do not only get the rare chance of experiencing the ancient cultures, monuments, and civilizations but also enjoy the serene environment. There are many recognized UNESCO world heritage sites in the world, but what makes Butrint so special from others is its ability to effortlessly preserve the ancient heritage of the Mediterranean region. Although Mediterranean region is an important historical and eventful place, aggressive human development activities have destroyed the priceless historical artifacts. It is only in Butrint that you have the rare chance of seeing the remnants of the earliest human settlements and civilizations in the region, such as the Romans, Greek and earliest Christian settlements.
Butrint, the Archeological trove
Numerous archeological sites have been identified within Butrint and earmarked for further studies. These sites are within the core of Butrint, a hilly island surrounded by Lake Butrint and Vivari Channel. These sites hold the remnants of the Roman Empire, the Greek, Byzantines and Venetian cultures. During the ancient period, the strategic location of Butrint, especially due to its linkage to the Mediterranean Sea made it an attractive commercial hub and an important trade route for the early merchants. Consequently, early traders settled in the town as it developed into an important maritime route for the ancient traders. The archeological sites contain the remnants of these early traders and settlers. Some of the most important archeological findings that you will be delighted to visit include Greek Theatre, an important remnant of the Greek settlement in the city that was built in the third century BC.
The magical Butrint
If you love exploring magnificent ruins of ancient architecture and the mystique of ancient civilizations, Butrint is the place to visit. The most popular ancient landmarks in Butrint are The Theatre, the Lion Gate, The Basilica, The Triangular Fortress and Roman Theatre and many more ancient ruins. These landmarks have amazingly preserved the finesse and technology of the various ancient civilizations that occupied Butrint for ages, many centuries years ago. They also offer lucid insights of the past civilizations, about their cultures and belief systems. These civilizations include the Romans, Greek, Venetians and Byzantines. Seeing the landmarks is like listening and experiencing a fairly narrative, because these buildings have rich historical accounts, ranging from the mystic healing sanctuary of Asclepius to the Triangular Fortress. The Sanctuary of Asclepius which was built in the 4th century and located close to The Theater is both a narrative and evidence of the influence of the rich Greek mythology in Mediterranean region and Butrint in particular. The sanctuary, constructed by followers of Asclepius, the god of medicine in the Greek mythology is near a river and offers a visitor the rare opportunity of swimming in the healing waters and experiencing its revered tranquility and peace.
Butrint the home of Legends
Visiting Butrint is like walking in the footsteps of the ancient legends that were behind some of the most revolutionary events in the Mediterranean region and the world at large. Some of the legends connected to the city include Medea, famous in Greek Mythology, King Augustus, and Virgil, the famous Roman poet of the Augustinian period. Butrint holds the rare fame of being the city where various kings of the ancient civilizations met their defeat. For instance it is in Butrint that King Philip V of Macedonia met his defeat at the hands of the Romans during the famous Roma –Macedonia War in 168 BC. Butrint was the theater of civil wars involving Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Augustus and Pompey. After Julius Caesar defeated the Pompous, he established his colony in Butrint. Another famous legend and ruler in Butrint was Ali Pasha Tepelena of the Ottoman Empire who constructed a fortress at the entrance of the Vivari channel to guard the city against attacks from western enemies in 1807.
The Natural and Environmental Hub
Visiting Butrint offers you the rare opportunity of exploring some of the most amazing biodiversity and scenic features in the Mediterranean region. Butrint National Park provides bedrock that has preserved amazing biodiversity in addition to natural and cultural landscapes in Albania. The landscape features a wide range of natural habitats, ranging from mountains to vast plain, and fresh water ecosystem in rivers to the saline aquatic ecosystem in the lake. These ecosystems have been preserved partly because there are no extensive land use practices in the city. The most prominent habitats in Butrint National park include woodland and scrub, dry habitats in addition to lakes and lagoons. These habitats host some of the most rare bird species in the world, such as crested larks, meadow and tawny pipits. In addition, Lake Butrint which is within Butrint National park provides rich saline habitats that are colonized by a wide range of fish, reptile, and bird species. A visit to Butrint National Park does not only offer an opportunity to sample the amazing biodiversity, but also offers important lessons on proper conservation of the environment.
Butrint is accessible by land, sea, and air. The city is about 116 miles from Rinas Airport, in Tirana Albania. Over 26 local and international airlines operate from Rinas Airport. From the airport, you can easily and cheaply travel to Albania by bus. Reputable bus companies also operate from Saranda to Butrint, a journey that takes about 45 minutes. If you want to explore the Triangular Fortress, a ride in Pontoon ferry will offer you an amazing sightseeing opportunity of the ancient monument.
Mouth watering cuisines
Butrint has bountiful of hotels and restaurants that a serve a wide range local, and international cuisines such as French, Italian, and the rich Mediterranean cuisines. The local cuisines have adopted the Venetian, Byzantine and Arabic culinary traditions. Since Butrint is located within a stock rearing zone in Albania, dairy products, including cheese and milk are important ingredients that are expertly blended with natural olive oil and citrus to form a variety of mouthwatering dishes. You will not be disappointed to sample chumlek, a dish consisting of stewed meat and onion; the thick and world famous Kefir cheese and the popular Rakia brandy made from grapes and wide variety of red and white wines.
Butrint the hotbed of exquisite cultures
Butrint is a hotbed of cultural festivities such as fairs, operas andconcerts that showcase the amazing Albanian cultural heritage and a wide variety of Mediterranean, Greek, Arabic and Eastern European cultures. The International Festival of Theatre Butrint 2000 is perhaps one of the most popular international festivities that are held annually in Butrint in September. The festivities are held at Butrint Ancient Theater where you get the chance of touring the ancient ruins as you experience the rich blend of Mediterranean, Arabic and European cultures on offer.
Butrint the enclave of peace and Tranquility
Although Albania has had a history of instability, visiting Butrint dispels any insecurity perceptions associated with the country. The city’s security has improved dramatically in the recent past and you can even the sample the city’s vibrant nightlife without the fears of falling victim to violent criminals. In addition, the general security situation has improved tremendously in the last few years. However, you are advised to exercise caution of your private belongings such as mobile phones and wallets to avoid falling victim to petty muggings, although the incidents are quite rare these days.
Butrint city is one of the most affordable tour destinations in Albania. The cost of decent accommodation and food is within the reach of the most frugal visitor. In addition the cost of travel within the city is very affordable and the closeness of the various attractions within the metropolis makes it possible to walk around rather than hiring a car. For instance, the cost of travelling by bus from Saranda to Butrint is less than 2$. Because of its affordability, you easily shop around the city, book a tour and experience its awesome beaches. You can also travel affordably to several cities located within Butrint for more experiences. Some of the most popular cities include Corfu Town that is just about 12 kilometers from Butrint. Mount Pantokrator is the most popular attraction in Corfu Town and you can have an awesome view of Albanian and Italian coastlines atop the mountain.