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Coat of arms of Durrës
Durrës (Albania)
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Coordinates: 41 ° 19 ′  N , 19 ° 27 ′  E

Basic data
Qark : Durrës
Municipality : Durrës
Height : 40  m above sea level A.
Residential place : 113,249 (2011)
Bashkia residents : 175,110 (2011)
Telephone code : (+355) 52
Postal code : 2001-2006
Politics and administration (as of 2019 )
Structure : 6 districts
Mayoress : Valbona Sako ( PS )
Website :
Culture and history
Local place name : Durrs / Durrsi
City foundation : 627 BC Chr.
City Festival : October 27
Skyline of Durrës with the port in the foreground (2016)

Skyline of Durrës with the port in the foreground (2016)

Durrës ( Albanian  also  Durrësi ; Italian Durazzo ; Latin Dyrrachium or Dyrrhachium ; Greek Επίδαμνος Epídamnos ) is a city on the Adriatic coast of Albania . Located in central Albania, it is the most important port city and therefore of great importance for the country's economy . In terms of population, Durrës is the second largest city in the country after the capital Tirana , which is only 30 kilometers to the east, and the official seat of the Qark of the same name . Durrës and Tirana form a metropolitan region .

The Greeks in the 7th century BC Founded as a colony, the city played a strategically important role with the Romans , but also later with the Byzantines . The trade route Via Egnatia began in Durrës and led through the interior of the Balkan Peninsula to Constantinople . The Adriatic Sea is 150 kilometers wide between Durrës and Brindisi (Italy).

Today Durrës is the most economically important city in the country after Tirana. The port of Durrës is the largest in Albania. Durrës is also important for tourism in Albania . In the 2000s, numerous hotels were built, especially along the sandy beaches of the bay in the south; the infrastructure has improved significantly compared to the 1990s.



Durrës is located on the Adriatic Sea about 40 kilometers west of the Albanian capital Tirana (as the crow flies) in western central Albania. The original city - today's historical core - was sandwiched between the sea in the south and west, a long swampy plain in the east and a small range of hills that stretched between the plain and the sea to the north. Today the city is spreading to the east in large new housing estates. The place also developed strongly on the coast to the south towards Kavaja : Countless hotels, apartment houses, holiday villages and commercial buildings have been built in Durrës Plazh .

The city is poor in water and otherwise the area is also devoid of vegetation due to clearing. As a result, the areas around Durrës are used for agriculture and livestock.

Durrës municipality

Location of the new municipality of Durrës in Albania

Since 2015 the five parishes Ishëm, Katundi i ri, Manza , Rrashbull and Sukth belong to the parish of Durrës. Together, the municipality of Durrës comprises the entire western and northern part of the former Durrës district .

The great plain east of the city of Durrës has a north-south extension of around 30 kilometers and a west-east extension of 15 kilometers. This approximately 450 square kilometers wide area is bordered in the west by the Adriatic Sea and the city of Durrës. In the north, east and south it is surrounded by a range of hills that reach a maximum height of 400 meters. Almost exactly in the middle, the plain is traversed from south to north by the river Erzen, which flows north of Durrës into the Mediterranean Sea. In the north-west is the bay of Lalëz , while in the south-west near Durrës is the bay of Durrës named after her .

The municipal area also includes the hills in the northeast of the plain to areas in the Tirana plain and the entire peninsula at Cape Rodon at the northern end of the Bay of Lalëz.

Neighboring cities are in the east Vora and the rural Shijak and in the southeast Kavaja , which belongs to the Qark Tirana  . In the northeast is the municipality of Kruja with Fushë-Kruja as the largest city.


The city of Durrës is divided into six urban districts (alb. Rajone ):

Residents Area
1 28,789 2.98
2 28,902 1
3 27,674 0.6
4th 53,409 10.32
5 64,776 15.8
6th 4,004 15.6


Durrës has a Mediterranean climate . Temperatures are lowest in January, with average nightly lows of 5 ° C and average daily highs of 12 ° C. The warmest months, July and August, have average temperatures between 21 ° C at night and 28 ° C during the day. The driest is July with an average rainfall of around 1 mm. Even in June and August it is very dry with rainfall below 10 mm. The wettest month is November with 40 mm.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
minimum temperature (° C) 5.0 6.0 8.0 11.0 15.0 19.0 21.0 21.0 18.0 14.0 11.0 7.0
maximum temperature (° C) 12.0 13.0 14.0 18.0 21.0 25.0 28.0 28.0 24.0 22.0 16.0 13.0
Source: MSN Weather



The current city name Durrës or Durrësi is an Albanian further development of the Italian name Durazzo , which was mainly used by the Venetians in the Middle Ages . These related to the Middle Greek Δυρράχιον Dyrráchion , as the city was called by the Byzantines . Dyrráchion, however, was a further development of the Latin dyrrhachium . The root Durrës can thus be traced back to this point . The name Dyrrhachium is first used in the 3rd century BC. Mentioned when the Romans conquered the city from the Illyrians . Before that, the place was called Ἐπίδαμνος Epídamnos , like the Doric colonists in 627 BC. Named their new home.


Ruins of the Roman Forum

The city of Durrës was founded in 627 BC. Founded as Epidamnos ( ancient Greek Ἐπίδαμνος , Latin  Epidamnus ) by Doric colonists from Corinth and Corfu . The surrounding region was called Epidamnia by the Greeks . Around 436 BC The effects of civil war in the city were one of the triggers of the Peloponnesian War . In the 4th century BC The city-state ( Polis ) became in fact part of the Kingdom of Cassander and Pyrrhos' I of Macedonia . In 312 BC For a short time, Illyrian Taulantiers conquered the city from the hinterland.

After the Illyrian Wars , Epidamnos came in 229 BC. Under Roman protectorate . Henceforth the Romans called it Dyrrhachium (Greek Dyrrháchion Δυρράχιον ), allegedly because the word part -damnos in Latin ears promised bad luck. The city became one of the starting points of the Via Egnatia , which connected the Adriatic Sea with Byzantium . Another starting point was Apollonia , 65 kilometers to the south , which at that time was still by the sea. In Brindisi, 150 kilometers away, on the opposite side of the Adriatic, ended the Via Appia , which connected Rome with the southeast of the Italian peninsula and continued in the Via Egnatia. According to the Roman poet Catullus , the city of Durrachium Hadriae tabernam - "the taberna of the Adriatic" - was one of the resting places for Romans who sailed on the Adriatic, as Catullus himself did in 56 BC. Had made.

In 48 BC It came a little south of the city on the occasion of the Roman civil wars to the battle of Dyrrhachium between the two opponents Gaius Iulius Caesar and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus . Since the citizens of the city had supported Pompey, they were severely punished after Caesar's victory. Emperor Augustus made Dyrrhachium around the year 25 BC. To a veterans' colony called Colonia Iulia Augusta Veneria Dyrrachinorum and settled here numerous legionnaires who had served him in the civil war up to the battle of Actium . With that the city lost its Greek character. Although under provincial administration, the city had the status of a civitas libera and the ius Italicum during the imperial period .

Durrës was said to be one of the first cities on the Balkan Peninsula and in Europe in general to accept a Christian community. Some Christian families are said to have lived in the port city as early as 58 AD. Some historians also assume that the apostle Paul of Tarsus himself visited the city between 53 and 58 AD. The Christian saint Astios is said to have worked in Durrës around the year 100 and suffered martyrdom under Emperor Trajan . According to later legends, many Christians fled from Italy to what is now Albania in his day to escape the persecution of Christians ; However, these reports are considered unhistorical, as there was no persecution of Christians in Italy at the time in question.

At the end of the 3rd century AD, Dyrrhachium became the capital of the newly formed province of Epirus nova . Around 430 the city was the birthplace of the future emperor Anastastius , who ruled Ostrom between 491 and 518. Anastasius gave the order to expand the defenses of the city, which had been in a very bad condition since the invasion of the Goths and a devastating earthquake of 345. After another earthquake in 518, they were improved by Emperor Justin I and completed by Emperor Justinian .

Changing rulers in the Middle Ages

Early middle ages

Venetian fortifications from the 15th century

In the Middle Ages, Durrës (now called Dyrrháchion Δυρράχιον in Middle Greek ) was under the rule of the Byzantine Empire for a long time , the most important city of which it was on the other side of the Balkan Peninsula. But throughout the Middle Ages, Durrës was hotly contested and was under various foreign rule. At the end of the 9th century, the Bulgarians under their Tsar Simeon I penetrated as far as the Adriatic coast and incorporated the city into their First Empire . Between 1000 and 1018 it was fiercely fought between the two parties and changed hands several times before it became Byzantine again for a long time after the defeat of the First Bulgarian Empire and was declared the capital of the theme of Dyrrhachion .

High Middle Ages

The Normans tried several times to seize the city at the end of the 11th century. In 1082 under Robert Guiskard and in 1185 they succeeded in doing this, but they could only rule over this area for a few years. In 1205 the city came under the rule of the Republic of Venice , which formed the Duchy of Durazzo for the first time . In 1213 the city and the duchy of Michael I Komnenos Dukas Angelos , despot of Epirus , was taken. In 1257 Durrës was occupied by the Sicilian King Manfred from the imperial dynasty of the Staufer . A short time later, the city was occupied by the despot of Epirus, Michael II. Komnenos Dukas Angelos , and remained with the despotate of Epirus until 1259, when it fell to the Byzantine Empire of Nikaia in the battle of Pelagonia .

In the 1270s Durrës belonged again to the despotate of Epirus under Nikephorus I Komnenos Dukas Angelos (son of Michael II. Komnenos Dukas Angelos). In 1272 the city paid homage to the king of Sicily , Charles I of the House of Anjou , who on February 20th confirmed the citizens of their "privilegia antiquorum Imperatorum Romaniae", prerogative of the Albanian chiefs who, as a guarantee of their loyalty, provided six hostages December 1274 were interned in Aversa.

In orange the course of the Via Egnatia

According to Georgios Pachymeres , Durrës was hit by an earthquake in 1267. According to Jean Dunbabin , an earthquake in Durazzo caused such a tumult in 1271 that an Angevin army led by Charles of Anjou was able to penetrate the city and thus gain access to the Via Egnatia , which led from there to Constantinople. In the same year a group of Albanians appeared in Naples, worried that they would be absorbed by the despot of Epirus Nikephorus I and submitted to Charles of Anjou.

On February 21, 1272, Charles of Anjou proclaimed the Regnum Albaniae with the center of Dyrrachium (Durazzo) by mutual agreement of the bishops, counts, barons, soldiers and citizens , promising to protect them and to honor the privileges they had received from the Byzantine Empire and proclaimed himself Rex Albaniae .

The earthquake of 1273 devastated much of Durazzo and many residents were buried under the collapsed houses, while others fled to the mountains. The city was only established and repopulated under the Vicar General Anseau de Cayeux , who was sent to Albania in May 1273, followed by an important mercenary army. Cayeux died in the same year and the high command temporarily passed to the leader of the royal troops, Jean de Bussy. In April 1274 the new captain general and vicar, Norjaud de Toucy, was sent to Durazzo to definitively settle the affairs of Albania. Paolo (Paulus) Groppa, Herr von Ohrid and his father-in-law Gjon Muzaka (also: Gjin; German  Johannes ) appeared immediately before him as “ambassadors of the Albanians”, who assured them of the devotion of their compatriots. Nevertheless, Toucy had the city fortified.

With the Angevin rule, Catholicism gained ground in Durrës ( called Durazzo in Italian at the time ). In 1278 the Dominicans founded their first monastery in Albania here. A Jewish community is also mentioned for the first time in 1281 .

Late Middle Ages

In 1292 Durrës fell to the Serbs , but was recaptured by Philip I of Taranto in 1304 . In 1317 or 1318 the Serbian Empire conquered the city; from 1320 it was effectively autonomous. In the spring of 1322 the brothers Philip I of Taranto, "Despot of Romania and Lord of the Kingdom of Albania ", and Johann , Count of Gravina, together with Johann's son, Robert, organized an expedition to Albania to recapture Durrës, which apparently was not a sustainable success was granted. The Serbs were able to hold Durrës until 1355, when it passed again to the Neapolitans and then to the Albanian noble family of Thopia . On March 28, 1368, Venice received the news that Durrës had been conquered by Karl Thopia , "Prince of Albania". This ended the Angevin rule in Epiros .

Under Karl Thopia

In 1385 war broke out and Balša II snatched Durrës from Karl Thopia for a short time. In the same year there was the battle of Savra (September 18, 1385) in the Myzeqe on the Vjosa between Elbasan and Lushnja . Karl Thopia called on the Ottomans for help and Sultan Murad I sent him an army of 40,000 men from Macedonia under the Grand Vizier Khaireddin. Balša II was killed and his head was brought to the Ottoman capital Edirne as a trophy .

Charles tried to consolidate his rule through a close connection with the Republic of Venice, so that in 1386 he sent Bishop Johann von Bergana to Venice and offered the Republic to support them with 600 ducats in every war , to deliver grain and to their merchants in his country protect. In return, Karl asked for a galley to be delivered to him, to be allowed to recruit shooters for his fortress in Venice, as well as to intervene if enemies threatened him. On August 17, 1386, Nicolò Foscari, on behalf of the Senate , concluded a formal agreement with the bishop as procurator of “Karl Thopia, Prince of Albania and Lord of Durachium”, in which all points concerned were guaranteed. Soon afterwards the Ottomans threatened Durrës, so that the Gulf captain (Italian: Capitano di Golfo, the commander in chief of the Venetian fleet in the Adriatic) received the order with Document No. 407 of March 30, 1387 to protect the "great Mr. Carolum Topiam" and to ensure that Durrës does not fall into enemy hands. In April 1387 Karl Thopia received a new galley for the sole defense against the Ottomans. When Karl died in January 1888, the Venetian consul Antonio de Pieri Pizzoli informed Venice on January 30th that the Ottomans were at the gates of the city. Venice responded on February 28th and exhorted the inhabitants to obedience and called on the new prince of Albania, Georg Thopia , son of the late Karl Thopia, to resist the Ottomans.

Under Georg Thopia

The new prince of Durrës, Georg Thopia (1388-1392), was so threatened by the Ottomans that he threw himself completely into Venice's arms as early as 1388. On March 19, 1388, the Senate agreed to support him with grain and troops (25 ballistarios ) and, if he wished, to take over the city; in the event of his death, Venice had decided to take over his inheritance. When the Ottomans pushed again in October, envoy of George and Comita Muzaka (widow of Balša II.) Appeared in Venice, where they stayed until February 1389.

Flag of the Republic of Venice

The golf captain Saraceno Dandolo supplied the prince with new troops for the occupation. At the same time, Venice sought to win a party in Durazzo that was supposed to ensure that after the death of the ailing George, the Ottoman neighbors did not settle there, but instead the banner of St. Mark was raised. The local bishop Demetrios Resa, the voivode Borilas (the Borla), the captain Ghin Sguro [Gjin Skura] and his relative Progan Sguro (or Pogon Skura), as well as Tanuss Thopia (Tanuss), the cousin of Prince Georg Thopia, proved to be particularly eager .

From the Venetian document no. 439 of February 27, 1389 it emerges that the "venerable" Bishop Dimitri, the noble Thanussius Tobia, the captain Gurenus Schuro, the voivode Borille, Andreas Misachi and Alexius Ricardi of Marno, "all valuable citizens of Durrazzo ”, from Doge Antonio Venier for their services,“ that the city does not fall into the hands of the Turks ”, should receive 300 ducats annually and that as long as“ the city was in Venetian hands ”.

George's position became even more critical than the Roman Pope Boniface IX. He deposed on April 13, 1391 because he would have admitted it with the antipope Clement VII and Durrës Đurađ II. Balšić transferred.

In addition to the Albanian tribe of the Dukagjini , who had joined the Ottomans, Konstantin Kastrioti († 1402 beheaded in Durrës; son of Pal Kastrioti ), a vassal of Sultan Bayezids I , wanted Durrës to be enfeoffed in the event of his death Relatives to get Georg Thopia. To prevent this, Venice decided on May 2, 1391 to send troops to the prince under the castellan Paolo da Canale. Marino Cocco (1391-1393) was appointed rector to the prince's side. As Georg's condition worsened, however, the golf captain Saraceno Dandolo was issued a power of attorney to take possession of the town and castle on March 8, 1392, which he was supposed to obtain in a peaceful way so that the Ottomans had no reason to interfere. When Dandolo appeared in front of Georg, he handed the castle over to Venice and hoisted the banner of the republic. In return, Georg, in addition to the castle church, were to remain in the city and its income for life and only come to Venice after his death. On August 9th, the ambassadors of the “Catholic Prince” Thopia, Archbishop Johann von Durazzo, the Venetian protovist Philipp Barelli and Philipp Zaperinis, citizens of Durrës, appeared before the Senate and asked the Senate, “their lord, who was hard pressed by the Turks loyal to the Roman Church, solemnly certifying the protection promised by Dandolo ”, ratified on August 18th by Doge Antonio Venier. Venier promised Thopia protection and mediation towards his neighbors, but at the same time exhorted him to keep peace with the latter and to rule as a good, mild and just prince in general. He was given financial support and a new St. Mark's banner was sent to him.

In October 1392 the Venetian consul of Durrës Antonio de Pieri Pizzoli announced the death of Georg Thopia and that the six most respected citizens of Durrës had declared themselves to be Venice. On October 26th, Michele Contarini and Pietro Quirini were appointed Provveditors of Durrës, who took over the city from the hands of Castellan Paolo da Canale and Rector Marino Cocco. With Document No. 488 of November 14th, the Venetian Senate ordered, among other things, the improvement of the port, negotiations with the Ottomans so that they could stop their raids and trade relations with the Serbian Sebastokrator Vuk Branković . In addition, the Albanian chiefs and the faithful in Durrës were to be honored according to rank and merit. In addition, the estate of George was to be settled in favor of his two surviving sisters Helena and Voisava and any claims to Durrës were to be settled.

On February 20, 1393, Francesco Giorgio was appointed bailo and captain of Durrës for two years (until 1395) . Marino Cocco handed over the city to him. In April Francesco Giorgo decreed the amnesty of all robberies for all barons of the Thopia family. The most distinguished citizens of the city and the Albanian chiefs in the vicinity received gifts and pensions, so the voivode Borla, Andreas III. Musachi , Progan Sguro (or Pogon Skura), Andreas Resa (brother of the late Bishop Demetrios) and Komnenos Spata (father-in-law of Niketa Thopia (also Niketta or Nicheta), second cousin of Helena Thopia ).

Although Gjin III. Muzaka supported the Republic of Venice against the Neapolitans after the death of Skanderbeg when they threatened Durrës, the city was sacrificed in 1479 in the Peace Treaty of Constantinople , which ended the Second Ottoman – Venetian War (1463–1479), and ascribed to the Ottomans.

Parts of the city wall and several of its towers are still preserved from the Venetian period.

Ottoman period: loss of meaning

Map from 1573, the high fortifications can be seen

After the city fell to the Ottomans in 1497, it was renamed the Turkish Dıraç and slowly lost its importance.

Many of the residents gradually converted to Islam (for the reasons for the conversion, see Islam in Albania ) and many mosques were built, one of the first among them being the still-preserved Fatih Mosque .

In the middle of the 19th century the city still had 1000 inhabitants in 200 households. A foreign traveler reported in the early 20th century: “The city walls are in disrepair; Sycamore trees grow on the gigantic ruins of the Byzantine citadel; and its harbor, once safe and well built, is gradually silting up. "

Until 1912 Durrës was the center of a sanjak within the Vilayet Shkodra .

20th and 21st centuries

Partisan memorial on the waterfront (2009)

On March 7, 1914, Durrës was declared the capital of the Principality of Albania for a short time . In the local residence, the German aristocratic Prince Wilhelm zu Wied ruled , who could only stay on the throne for six months. During the First World War the city was occupied by Italy in 1915 and Austria-Hungary in 1916/17. On December 15, 1915, a sea battle between warships of the Entente and Austria-Hungary took place near the city. On October 2, 1918 warships attacked the Entente port and city, causing numerous destruction.

When Albania's independence was restored after the war, Tirana was declared the new capital on February 11, 1920 .

In 1926 a severe earthquake struck Durrës. As a result, new buildings were built in the style of the Italian cities of Naples and Venice , which still characterize the cityscape in the center today. A villa is enthroned on a hill above the city and served as the summer residence of the future King Ahmet Zogu .

Even before the start of World War II , Italian troops landed in the city on April 7, 1939 and overcame the Albanian resistance in short battles. Like the rest of the country, Durrës was annexed by the Kingdom of Italy between 1939 and 1943 , followed by the German Reich in 1944 until the end of the war .

After Enver Hoxha came to power in Albania and he established a dictatorship in the country that was based on communism , industrialization began in Durrës. The communists made the coastal city an important location for Albania's heavy industry and greatly expanded the port. In 1947 the first railway line in Albania was opened between Durrës and Tirana .

When democratization began in Albania and the communist regime collapsed in the early 1990s, thousands of refugees boarded cargo ships in the port that took them to Italy. In August 1991 alone, over 20,000 people emigrated across the Adriatic.

After the collapse of communism in 1991, the city changed a lot. Durrës attracted many residents from rural areas of Northern Albania ( rural exodus ), who settled on the outskirts in underdeveloped areas. The urban area multiplied within a very short time, which caused problems and restrictions in the infrastructure. And also along the coast to the south, mostly illegal hotel complexes, residential and commercial buildings were built at this time.

From 1997, foreign military troops were stationed on a stretch of beach on the Bay of Durrës . Initially they had the task of guaranteeing peace and order in Albania during the lottery uprising. In 1999, however, the base served NATO as a base during the Kosovo war , and then KFOR . The NATO headquarters of the Communications Zones West (COMMZ-W) was directly on the road to the south.

In September and November 2019, Durrës was hit by two powerful earthquakes. During the earthquake on November 26, 2019 , several houses collapsed in and around Durrës, killing at least a dozen people.

Population development

The last census of 2011 showed the city of Durrës 113,250 inhabitants. According to an official survey by the local authorities, 204,478 inhabitants were registered in Durrës in July 2012. In January 2006 only 189,921 people were registered. The greatest population growth was recorded between 1989 and 2011: In 22 years 124,835 people moved to the city, which means a growth of approx. 250%.

The population has developed as follows over the past 150 years:

1850 1927 1979 1989 2001 2011   2011 (after territorial reform)
1000 5175 66,200 82,719 99,546 113,249   175.110


legislative branch

town hall

The city council (alb. Këshilli Bashkiak ) is elected every four years by the community citizens and takes on legislative tasks in the Bashkia . The city council has 51 members. The 2019 elections were boycotted by numerous parties. The political parties share the council seats in the last two elections as follows:

Political party City councils 2015–2019 City Councils 2019
PS 16 46
PD 14th boycott
LSI 13 boycott
PDIU 2 boycott
PR 2 boycott
PSM 2 1
FRD 1 -
ADS 1 -
ABDE - 1
PASH - 1
PDS - 1
BD - 1

The chairman is (as of 2015) Alban Ramohitaj (PS).


Valbona Sako has been the mayor ( PS ) since the 2019 elections .

Vangjush Dako (PS) was mayor from 2006 to 2019. In the 2011 elections and in 2015 he was confirmed in his post.

Mayor of the city of Durrës
person from to person from to person from to person from to
Hafiz Ali Podgorica 1900 1920 Mahmut Cela 1944 1944 Bajram Hasa 1975 1979 Vangjush Dako 2006 2019
Mehmet Gruda 1920 1921 Nikollë Tirana 1944 1947 Mihallaq Bushamaku 1979 1983 Valbona Sako 2019
Kost Paftali 1922 1924 Qirjako Notidhi 1947 1948 Sotir Luarasi 1983 1989
Hysen Myshketa 1924 1924 Vlash Prifti 1948 1949 Ymer Balla 1989 1990
Jahja Ballhysa 1926 1926 Nasi Driza 1949 1952 Petraq Koto 1991 1991
Abedin Nepravishta 1927 1928 Zeqir Duma 1953 1956 Nevruz Cela 1991 1992
Ahmet Dakli 1929 1937 Petraq Titani 1957 1959 Shkëlzen Jakova 1992 1992
Rustem Ymeri 1937 1939 Haki Kokomani 1959 1961 Tomor Golemi 1992 1996
Shefqet Celkupa 1939 1940 Ramazan Vogli 1961 1962 Arqile Gorea 1996 2000
Llazar Tuni 1940 1943 Bajram Thermia 1962 1971 Miri Hoti 2000 2003
Spiro Truja 1943 1944 Halit Nova 1972 1974 Light coca 2003 2006


At the level of the first instance, the court in Tirana takes on the tasks of the jurisdiction in Durrës. Only the Durrës District Court of Appeal has its seat in the city.

coat of arms

The city coat of arms was approved by the city council in 1995. It shows a white sign on a turquoise-blue background that represents the city's fortress wall. On this shield is the family coat of arms of the medieval Thopia (golden lion on a red background), who ruled Durrës for a long time. Underneath there is also a golden Liburnian .

Town twinning

Durrës has twinned cities with Thessaloniki and Istanbul .

Culture, sport and education

"Aleksandër Moisiu" theater building

With various cultural events throughout the year, which take place in the famous amphitheater, among others, Durrës plays an outstanding cultural role in Albania. The various facilities such as the “ Aleksandër Moisiu ” theater are known throughout the country. Every year the International Film Summer Festival Durrës takes place, which is one of the largest in Albania. The performances take place in the ancient amphitheater or in the Aleksandër Moisiu theater .

The amphitheater is the only one in Albania and in ancient times it could accommodate up to 20,000 people

One of the biggest sights in Durrës is the amphitheater , which was only rediscovered by chance in the 20th century when a wine cellar was built. At that time, an underground cavity was found that served as access to the amphitheater. The entire area was then exposed. A chapel with mosaics was discovered under the auditorium . The amphitheater can be visited today.

Other remains from Roman times such as columns, house walls and towers can be seen in several places in the city, but are not accessible.

Numerous finds from the area are exhibited in the local Archaeological Museum . The museum was designed with the help of western curators. Other objects such as The Beauty from Durrës were brought to Tirana.

The Fatih Mosque, completed in 1504, is one of the most important Islamic places of worship from the Ottoman period (16th to 20th centuries) . The Great Mosque on the city's main square was built in 1937.

The Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. Luzia (1907) and the Orthodox Church of St. George (late 19th century) are among the most important Christian buildings.

The local football club KS Teuta Durrës plays in the first division .

A state university has been located in the city since 2006 .


The main economic sectors in Durrës are tourism , trade, services, shipping, industry and agriculture. Because of the port but also because of the central location within Albania, numerous companies are based in and around Durrës. Together with the capital Tirana, Durrës forms the economic center of Albania.


Port basin with container port and ferries
Entering the port

The port of Durrës (Albanian Porti i Durrësit ) is of great importance for Albania . It is the largest in the country and in 2009 handled a total of 3.122 million tons of goods. It is located east of the Cape of Durrës in the Bay of Durrës and is thus protected from westerly and northwesterly winds. Historically, the port has played a central role in the city. The Roman road Via Egnatia , which connected the Adriatic Sea with Constantinople, began here in antiquity .

The port has a total area of ​​65 hectares on land and 67 hectares on water. The depth in the harbor basin varies between 7.3 and 11.5 meters, depending on the area. The entire port area takes up 1.4 kilometers of the sea coast of Durrës. The port is divided into an area for cargo handling and one for ferries. There are regular ferry connections only to Italy, namely to Bari , Ancona and Trieste . Occasionally, cruise and sailing ships also call in Durrës. In 2004 around 400 employees worked in the port. In 2011 the new passenger terminal was opened. The total cost was $ 21.9 million. The annual capacity has been increased to 1.2 to 1.5 million passengers.

The port is well connected to the national road and rail network. The headquarters of the Albanian Railways are also located near the port.


Bathing beach between Durrës and Kavaja on a summer morning

During the communist regime, Durrës was relatively underdeveloped in the tourism sector . At that time you could still count the hotels on one hand. The number of tourists was also relatively small because of the closed borders. When the democratic turn came in the 1990s, the tourist boom began. Hotels, apartment houses and holiday apartments shot up like mushrooms. Almost the entire coast of the Bay of Durrës was built. The electricity and water supply as well as the garbage disposal and sewerage were overwhelmed by this development. The sandy beach, lined with many trees, became more and more polluted and the entire sewer system of the new buildings was directed into the bay, which resulted in a deterioration in the water quality. The road infrastructure was also in a catastrophic state. It was not until the late 2000s that the coastal road to the neighboring Golem near Kavaja was renewed and expanded. The problems in the area of ​​energy and water supply as well as the disposal of sewage and garbage disposal were also resolved relatively late.

Today Durrës can be seen as the country's tourist center in summer. The hotels are usually fully booked in the high season and the long beach (Alb. Plazhi i Durrësit ) is bustling with activity during the day. There is a wide range of restaurants, boutiques, various shops, shopping centers, amusement rides, discos and bars - but the majority of Albanian guests consume in the apartment apartments.

You can also swim along the city promenade (alb. Shëtitorja ) in the city center. Here two thirds of the old town ruins are under water - about 100 meters from the shore lies a part of the old town wall that has sunk into the sea. More accessible to visitors are the city's numerous cultural monuments from many millennia and the city's archaeological museum.


Trains to other Albanian cities leave from Durrës terminus (photo from 2014)

The ancient Dyrrhachium was the port city and starting point of the Roman road Via Egnatia . Today there are ferry connections to Bari , Ancona and Trieste . In addition, Durrës is the western end of Pan-European Transport Corridor VIII , which crosses the southern Balkans . In 2009, 3.122 million tons of goods were handled in the port.

The Tirana airport is just 25 kilometers as the crow flies.

In Durrës is the central train station, the headquarters and the workshops of the Hekurudha Shqiptare . Trains run from Durrës to other Albanian cities. The buses to other cities leave from the square outside the station, buses from Tirana to southern Albania stop at the bus terminal of Plepa in Durres-Plazh. Inner-city buses connect the outer quarters with the city center.

In 2000 the first Albanian motorway between Tirana and Durrës ( SH2 ) was completed. Another via Kavaja to Rrogozhina is also open to traffic ( SH4 ).



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Web links

Commons : Durrës  - collection of images, videos and audio files


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