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statues

Another weekend in Durres

Some sea snail shells, a naked woman statue and a strange playground where a ship ran ashore and couldn’t go back to sea. It’s the Kompleksi Teuta one. The strange gray metallic wall on the right is actually part of the ship and the hull has sunk in the sand at almost ground level.

The season is starting so get ready beforehand to visit our beautiful country, the land of contradictions. 🙂

A friendly reminder, you’ll find us on AirBnb and at our website http://www.durresbeachapartment.com 🙂

 

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Spring Day – Dita e Veres

Scanderbeg Statue

Spring Day (we actually call it Summer Day) is celebrated every 14 March in Albania.

According to some sources, Dita e Verës derives from the Arbëreshë, an Albanian community that lives in Italy since the fifteenth century. On 14 March, the Arbëreshë of the Italian coast, collect a tuft of grass roots and soil, bringing it home to commemorate the anniversary of their emigration from Albania. In fact, some sources date back this celebration to the ancient Illyria. At that time, the feast was celebrated on 1 March, which according to the Julian calendar, corresponded to the first day of the year. (more…)


Beats by Comrade Dre

Headphones


January 8th

January 8th

January 8th

Not much to say today. I haven’t been out to take photos due to the cold.


BunkArt

Russian Car

Russian Car

Bunk’Art is a bunker turned into an art gallery & museum. It is located in the foots of Dajti Mountain, under a hill and inside a military zone (as expected). It was built by the communism regime during the cold war era, when we truly believed that America or any other powerful nation wanted to assault us with nuclear weapons to destroy our happiness…

To reach it is fairly easy. If you’re going by public transport, go to Scanderbeg Square and ask for Tufina’s bus. When on the bus, ask the ticket guy to warn you when close to Bunk’Art. I guess the bus station will be on the main road while the military base is at the end of a secondary road. There are signs though, hard to miss if you’re not driving.

If by car, just ask around for the Dibra Street. It is fairly famous because the main hospital and the military school are on it. After the military school, the Dibra’s Street divides into Aleksander Moisiu and Teki Selnica. The first one takes you to the Albanian Film Archive, that’s another institution I’ll cover in one of my future posts. Just take Teki Selnica, the one on your left and drive some 500 meters and keep an eye for signs to Bunkart.

Or just let me know beforehand and I’ll drive you there if I’m free. 🙂

At the entrance of the military base you will have to show an ID. For the moment the entrance is free of charge. Check at their website beforehand if situation has changed. However, even with a fee, it won’t be more than 3-4 EUR I suppose.

Beware, the entrance of the bunker is far from the entrance of the military base, some 800 meters.

Russian Car

ZIM-12 Russian Car

This is a Zim 12 Russian car donated by Stalin to Enver Hoxha. Less than 22,000 were produced all in all and only 10 made it to Albania. This one is the only one remaining. The curators of the BunkArt are even having fun with it since they have put a traffic fine at the front window citing a broken light and parking on the sidewalk 😀

Guzzi Bike

Moto Guzzi

This one’s description was not too clear. It says that those bikes were used by the Italian Army during the 60s and then some were donated to the Albanian Army in 2002. I know Moto Guzzi is a great brand but hey, 40 years old bike belongs to collectors, not to an army. I bet Italians pushed the contract for their maintenance as well.

Entrance

Entrance

This is the entrance to the bunker. There are like 4-5 doors one after the other and the first ones are concrete and very thick. I guess the bunker was made to withstand a nuclear explosion in its front yard too…


Mineshaft

Tunnel

Mineshaft

This is part of the “Politically Persecuted Victims of Communism” memorial in Tirana. There is also a bunker and a piece from the Berlin Wall.


The Shrine of Abbas Ali

Shrine of Abbas ibn Ali

Shrine of Abbas ibn Ali

This is the top of Mount Tomorr, the Partisan’s Peak, the Shrine of Abbas Ibn Ali. The shrine has a tomb inside but Abbas wasn’t buried there. He is actually buried at that ground where he fell from his horse in Karbalā, Iraq. The tomb is covered by gifts, clothes and money. It is said that the money that gets collected up here and down at the holy ground (look my previous posts), is transported via helicopter (needs citation, I have no source besides word of mouth). I suppose it goes to the Bektashis Community but I don’t have further info on how it is spent. Never heard them financing anything but then again, never heard them living la vida loca either.

The weather is clear, the air is cold, I guess some 5-10 degrees Celsius. The people are not wearing heavy clothes because down the mountain is quite hot. They just visit the shrine for a couple of minutes.

Abbas ibn Ali

Abbas ibn Ali

Here is the statue of Abbas ibn Ali, on his horse and with two children (the other one is behind the horse’s head). The statue’s size is lifelike. The sculptor must have been on acid I guess. look them eyes 😀 The statue is also seen on the far left of the next photo.

Praying

Praying

The people here are burning candles and praying for their loved ones, dead or alive. Although Albanians don’t pray much on their dead, it isn’t our custom. We pray for health and money (Albanian: Shnet e Pare).

As you can see, the parking place is not a parking actually. The road ends here and cars are parked on both sides of the road. When you step out of the car, if anyone approaches you to ask for money for parking, don’t pay. You can give money if you want someone to look after your car not to get scratched (accidentally) or blocked by other cars (due to small space) but this is entirely up to you. There might be beggars as well, I wonder how they get up here. Perhaps they collect enough money to pay the ride which is fairly expensive.


Apollo’s Head

Apollo's Head

Apollo’s Head

Although a replica, this is one of the best preserved statues found in Butrhotum. This replica is exposed on the entrance of the museum, on top of the hill. Far in the distance lay the ruins of on of Ali Pasha’s fortresses. The mountain in the background is the island of Corfu. The archaeologist that discovered the head was so excited that they believed it was a woman’s head. After carefully examining it, they came to conclusion it must be Apollo’s head.


Baptistery

Baptistery

Baptistery

This is the baptistery, the second largest one in the Eastern Roman Empire, the largest being that of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. It is round and there are columns in circles but some are missing. There is a large mosaic on the floor but they have covered it to preserve it from the elements. Further info can be found on the official source.


The Saints Are Coming

The Saints Are Coming

The Saints Are Coming