Study tour / Religion (10 days)
Religious testimonies in Albania – with a detour to Northern Macedonia
Development Dr. Wolfram Letzner
Led by Dr. Hanjo Sauer
Hanjo Sauer is professor emeritus for fundamental theology at the Catholic Theological Faculty in Linz. In his retirement, he accompanies travel groups and has been particularly enthusiastic about Albania.
In our perception, Albania is not only quite unknown as a geographical unit, but also with regard to the different religions and the associated architecture. On our journey, we want to visit the most interesting monuments in their context and get to know testimonies from about 1,500 years. However, a detour to Macedonia makes it clear that the journey leads to a region that culturally transcends modern national borders.
Included in the price are:
- Round trip according to the program in an air-conditioned bus
- English speaking tour guide and travel companion
- MEDER Commtech Audio System
- Overnight stays in middle-class hotels and family-run pensions, partly in the historical ambiance
- Half board and two picnics, dinner in hotels and traditional restaurants
- All admissions to museums and excavation sites
- The program might have some changes
Not included in the price are:
- Drinks in hotels and restaurants
- Other personal expenses
from 1.290,00 € in a double room
120,00 € single room surcharge
min. 10 – max. 25 participants
- 04. – 01. 05. 2020 (April)
- 10. – 20. 10. 2020 (October)
Please fill in Amount, Reason for Payment/Invoice No. and your Contact Details
DAY 1: ARRIVAL TIRANA – DURRES
At the airport, our tour guide is waiting for us. A visit to the National Historical Museum is the first part of the program and introduces us to the history and culture of Albania. Further on our way leads us to Durres. Here we come to a highlight of the tour. We visit the only amphitheater in Albania. Overnight in Durres
DAY 2: DURRES – ADVICE – VLORA
Our daily stage takes us from Durres to Ardenica, a 13th-century monastery complex inhabited by monks. After the sightseeing, we will go to Berat. On the way, we will stop for a wine tasting. Our visit to Berat begins with the fortress, which contains several Byzantine churches. The highlight is the Onufri Museum with about 250 objects of sacred art, especially icons. In the old town, we visit the King’s Mosque and the Tekke of the Helveti Order. In the course of the afternoon, we reach our destination for the day, Vlora. Overnight in Vlora.
DAY 3: VLORA – BUTRINT – SARANDA
We leave early in the morning and drive along the coast to Himara. Next to the castle complex with the remains of a church enthroned above the old town, we visit the monastery, which once served as a bishop’s see. Our next destination is the UNESCO World Heritage Site Butrint. One of the most beautiful excavation sites awaits us here. We see buildings from classical antiquity to early modern times. Not only the ancient theatre is impressive, but also the walls of a basilica, including the baptistery. We continue on to Saranda and visit the excavated remains of a synagogue. Overnight in Saranda.
DAY 4: SARANDA – PHOINIKE – MESOPOTAM – BLUE EYE – GJIROKASTRA
First, we visit the ruins of the Basilica of the 40 Martyrs, then we go to Phoinike, a large archaeological park. Nearby is the former monastery of Mesopotam with the church dedicated to St. Nicholas. The water spring “Blue Eye” (Syri i Kaltër) in a nature park offers us something different. We continue to Gjirokastra, the architecturally unique old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Overnight in Gjirokastra.
DAY 5: GJIROKASTRA – VOSKOPOJA – KORÇA
In the morning we visit the citadel of Gjirokastra and then drive through a charming landscape via Përmet towards Korça. In Përmet we have the opportunity to visit two interesting church buildings from the 18th century. Before we reach our day’s destination Korça we visit Voskopoja. Today a small village, it was an important trading place about 300 years ago. The day’s destination Korça is considered the cradle of Albanian literature. During a tour of the city, which we will start with a visit to the National Museum of Medieval Art, we will see the completed Cathedral of Resurrection. Overnight in Korça.
DAY 6: KORÇA – SVETI NAUM – OHRID – POGRADEC
Our journey leads us to the Ohrid Lake. Our first destination is the impressive monastery complex of Sveti Naum from the 9th century. Along the lake, the journey continues to Ohrid. We visit the ancient theatre, before heading to the large excavations on Platonic Hill to the rebuilt Church of St. Clement, with remains of early Christian architecture with rich mosaics. Back in the old town, we visit the St. Sophia church. The medieval frescos have survived the times. The journey continues along the lakeshore and our next stop is again in Albania, the village of Lin with the remains of an early Christian church with rich mosaics. In the afternoon we reach Pogradec. Overnight in Pogradec.
DAY 7: POGRADEC – ELBASAN – DURRES
Our way leads us to Elbasan. We will visit the ancient Pelion to see the impressive royal tombs. In Elbasan, we will visit the Old Town, the Cathedral of St. Mary, the Royal Mosque and the excavated Bezistan Church (4th-6th century). Continuation of the journey and transfer in Durres. Overnight in Durres
DAY 8: DURRES – KRUJA – SHKODRA
On the way to northern Albania, our first destination is Kruja. The way to the fortress leads through the bazaar with many small shops. The castle is dominated by the Skanderbeg Museum, whose architecture is an illusion of the Middle Ages. At noon we reach Shkodra. We visit the fortress from where we have a view of the city and the lake. A testimony is the Stephanus Church, which was rebuilt several times and finally became a mosque. In the city itself, we will visit the bazaar district, two churches of the 19th century, the Stephanus Cathedral and a church of the Franciscan Order, whose bell tower dominates the cityscape. Overnight in Shkodra.
DAY 9: SHKODRA – LEZHA – TIRANA
From Shkodra we head south again. Our first stop is Lezha. Besides visiting the mighty fortress, we will visit the Skanderbeg memorial and the ruins of a church. Besides we visit the 13th century Annunciation of Mary with its paintings. We continue to Cape Rodon, where the ruins of a fortress from the time of Skanderbeg await us. In the afternoon we reach our destination Durres. There we visit sites of art-historical importance, such as the Fatih Mosque. Overnight in Durres.
DAY 10: TIRANA AIRPORT
On the last day, we conclude our program with a small highlight. Under the name, Tirana Mosaic hides the remains of a Roman villa, which was later converted into a church, and let the city affect us once again. In the afternoon we go to the airport.