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Vlora cover.jpg
Official seal of Vlorë
Vlorë is located in Albania
Coordinates: 40°27.9′N 19°29.1′E / 40.4650°N 19.4850°E / 40.4650; 19.4850Coordinates: 40°27.9′N 19°29.1′E / 40.4650°N 19.4850°E / 40.4650; 19.4850
Country Albania Albania
County Vlorë
 • Mayor Dritan Leli (SP)
 • Municipality 616.85 km2 (238.17 sq mi)
Population (2015)
 • Municipality 130,827
 • Municipality density 210/km2 (550/sq mi)
 • Administrative Unit 194,147
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal Code 9401-9405
Area Code (0)33
Vehicle registration AL
Website Official Website

Vlorë is a coastal city and municipality in southern Albania. It is the second largest port city of Albania, after Durrës. It is where the Albanian Declaration of Independence was proclaimed on November 28, 1912. Vlorë was briefly the capital of Albania.

Founded as an ancient Greek colony in the 6th century BC by the name of Aulon and continuously inhabited for about 26 centuries, Vlorë is home to the Port of Vlorë and University of Vlorë as the most important economical and cultural city of southwestern Albania.

The present municipality was formed by 2015 local government reform, which merged these former municipalities: Novoselë, Orikum, Qendër Vlorë, Shushicë and Vlorë; they became municipal units. The seat of the municipality is Vlorë.[1] The total population is 104,827 (2011 census), in a total area of 616.85 square kilometres (238.17 square miles).[2] The population of the former municipality at the 2011 census was 79,621.[3] The new municipality extends from Vjosë river delta near Novoselë up to Llogara Pass including the town of Orikum.


The modern name for the city is the Albanian form Vlorë or Vlora, both pronounced [ˈvlɔɾə], while in the Gheg dialect it is known as Vlonë.[4] Vlorë was created in antiquity as a Greek colony in the territory of Illyria. Its first name was Aulón (Greek: Αυλών, also the name in modern Katharevousa), meaning "channel" or "glen" and possibly a translation of another indigenous name.[5] In Latin the name is known as Aulona, a Latinization of the Ancient Greek name. The medieval and modern Greek name is Αυλώνας /av'lonas/, accusative Αυλώνα /av'lona/, and is the source of the Italian name Valona (also used in other languages) and of the obsolete English Avlona.[6][7] During the Ottoman era, the Turkish Avlonya was also used.[8]


Map of Vlora

The city is located in Southern Albania and is the municipal seat of Vlorë County.

Vlorë is situated on the Bay of Vlorë, an inlet on the Adriatic Sea, almost surrounded by mountains. The port of Vlorë is closer in proximity than any other to the port of Bari, Italy, and is just 70 nautical miles (130 km) from Salento's coasts. The island of Sazan is nearby, strategically located at the entrance to the Bay of Vlorë.

The town is surrounded by gardens and olive groves. Valonia, the mass name for acorn cups obtained in the neighboring oak forests and (because of its chemical derivatives) used by tanners, derives its name from Valona, the ancient name of Vlorë.

A new motorway is being constructed linking the city with Fier and Albania as a whole. One of the most panoramic routes of the Albanian Riviera starts to the south of town stretching up to Sarande in extreme southern Albania.


Ancient and feudal eras[edit]

Vlorë is one of the oldest cities of Albania. It was founded by Ancient Greeks in the 6th century BC and named Aulōn, one of several colonies on the Illyrian coast,[a] mentioned for the first time by Ptolemy (Geographia, III, xii, 2). Other geographical documents, such as Peutinger's "Tabula" and the "Synecdemus" of Hierocles, also mention it. The city was an important port of the Roman Empire, when it was part of Epirus Nova.[9][10]

It became an episcopal see in the 5th century. Among the known bishops are Nazarius, in 458, and Soter, in 553 (Daniele Farlati, Illyricum sacrum, VII, 397–401). The diocese at that time belonged to the Patriarchate of Rome. In 733 it was annexed, with all eastern Illyricum, to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, and yet it is not mentioned in any Notitiae episcopatuum of that Church. The bishopric had probably been suppressed, for, though the Bulgarians had been in possession of this country for some time, Avlona is not mentioned in the "Notitiae episcopatuum" of the Patriarchate of Achrida.

Vlora in 1573

During the Latin domination, a Latin see was established, and Eubel (Hierarchia catholica medii aevi, I, 124) mentions several of its bishops.[9] Several of the Latin bishops mentioned by Le Quien (Oriens christianus, III, 855-8), and whom Eubel (I, 541) mentions under the See of Valanea in Syria, belong either to Aulon in Greece (now Salona) or to this Aulon in Albania (Vlorë),[9] which, no longer being a residential bishopric, is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see, a suffragan of Durrës, being distinguished from another titular see called Aulon by the use for it of the adjective Aulonitanus, while the adjective regarding the Aulon in Euboea is Aulonensis.[11]

Vlorë played a central role in the conflicts between the Norman Kingdom of Sicily and the Byzantine Empire during the 11th and 12th centuries.

After it was captured by the Ottoman Empire in 1417, it became a sanjak centre in Rumeli Eyaleti as "Avlonya"; and after coming under Venetian possession in 1690, the city was restored to the Turks in 1691, becoming a kaza of the sanjak of Berat in the vilayet (province) of Janina. The city had about 10,000 inhabitants; there was a Catholic parish, which belonged to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Durrës. In the 16th century, it was an important center for Sephardic Jewish refugees from Spain and Portugal.

In 1851 it suffered severely from an earthquake.[citation needed]

Modern era[edit]

Ismail Qemali declared Albania's independence in Vlorë on November 28, 1912, during the First Balkan War. The city became Albania's first capital following its independence, but was invaded by Italy in 1914, during World War I. The city remained occupied by Italian forces until 1920, in which an Albanian rebellion forced the Italians out of Albania. Italy again invaded Vlorë in 1939. The city was under Italian occupation until Italy surrendered to the allies in 1943, following which Nazi Germany occupied the city until 1944. The city was liberated in 1944 by communist forces under Enver Hoxha.

During World War II, the island of Sazan in Bay of Vlorë became the site of a German and Italian submarine base and naval installations; these were heavily bombed by the Allies.

Vlora Waterfront Promenade Constructions Work

After WWII, under communist regime, the port was leased to the Soviet Union as a submarine base, and played an important part in the conflict between Enver Hoxha and Nikita Khrushchev in 1960–1961, as the Soviet Union had made considerable investments in the naval facilities at nearby Pasha Liman and objected strongly to the loss of them as a consequence of Albania denouncing the USSR as 'revisionist' and taking the Chinese side in the split in the world communist movement. The Soviet Union threatened to occupy Vlora with Soviet troops in April 1961, and cut off all Soviet economic, military and technical aid to Albania. The threat was not carried out, as a result of the simultaneous development of the Cuban missiles crisis, but Hoxha realized how vulnerable Albania was, and, after the USSR invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968, he built the hundreds of thousands of concrete bunkers that still litter the entire Albanian landscape. Under Hoxha, Vlorë was an important recruiting centre for the Sigurimi, the secret police.

In 1997, Vlorë was the center of popular riots after the collapse of several fraudulent investment schemes that led to the downfall of the Sali Berisha administration, and almost turned into a civil war.


Vlorë has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csa) with cool wet winters and hot, dry summers with temperatures exceeding 30 °C (86 °F) in July and August.

Climate data for Vlorë
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 13
Daily mean °C (°F) 9.5
Average low °C (°F) 6
Average precipitation mm (inches) 120
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 13 12 14 11 9 6 3 3 5 10 17 17 120
Mean monthly sunshine hours 133.3 147.9 173.6 225.0 272.8 318.0 368.9 344.1 279.0 210.8 117.0 99.2 2,689.6
Source: climatetemp.info[12]


The population of the municipality is 104,827. In 1994 the ethnic Greek community of the city numbered 8,000 people.[13] A Greek school was operating in the city in 1741.[14]


Vlora is home of the second largest university in Albania.

University of Vlora Flag

The University of Vlora Ismail Qemali (UV) was created in 1994 as a Technological University. It started with a few hundred students and today is the second biggest university in Albania with nearly 15 000 students. It retains a focus on technology, but has expanded in the areas of economics and finance, education, medicine, and law. UV is the leading research university in Albania. It is the most productive university in Albania in organizing research conferences, inviting researchers from leading institutions, and sending its own researchers abroad. Some of the more important areas of research are mathematics, computer science, and engineering. It has also active groups in Albanian literature, economics and finance, folk music and dance, education, etc. Vlora Conference Center is a leader in organizing conferences in Albania and has organized conferences yearly at the University of Vlora. Its board is composed of internationally known scientists.

There are three internationally known journals based in the University of Vlora . They are the highest quality journals of any Albanian speaking university.Albanian Journal of Mathematics, Albanian Journal of Mechanical Engineering There is also a scientific journal published quarterly in Albanian:Buletini Shkencor i Universitetit te Vlorës Since 2008 it gives home to the Academicus International Scientific Journal, a scientific publication in English language, peer-reviewed, founded by Arta Musaraj .[15] Many summer schools and training sessions are organized at the University. Vlora is a popular tourist destination and this makes it very attractive for organizing international conferences.

In addition, University of Vlora has excellent programs in naval engineering and navigation. Studying the Bay of Vlora has been one of the main projects of the navigation department in the last few years. The Bay of Vlora is an important place in world history with important events such as Caesar's battles, medieval times, World War I, and World War II, etc. In the bay is one of the oldest military naval bases in the world which continues to be used to this day. The Naval Base of Pashaliman was the only Russian base in the Mediterranean in the 1950s, and was the hot spot of conflict between the Russians and the Albanians in 1961 when Albania pulled out of the Warsaw Treaty. The Department of Navigation is mapping all the ships sunk in the bay area, and is doing research in the area of marine archeology in the ancient town of Orikum (Oricum).

Researchers from UV participate in congresses and conferences all over the world. UV has joint projects and exchange programs with some of the best universities in the world and very actively is trying to expand further such programs. UV has taken the lead in all Albanian institutions to increase active cooperation with western universities and to have research as its first priority.

Besides the state university there are two private universities: Universiteti Pavarësia Vlorë, established in 2009; and Akademia e Studimeve të Aplikuara "Reald", which started as primary school and high school, and since 2011 operates also as a university.[16]


Vlorë remains a major seaport and commercial centre, with a significant fishing and industrial sector. The surrounding region produces petroleum, natural gas, bitumen and salt. The city is also the location of important installations of the Albanian Navy. Vlorë has grown in importance as an agricultural center with very large-scale planting of olive and fruit trees, and as a center of the food processing, oil and bitumen export industries. The surrounding district is mainly agricultural and pastoral, producing oats, maize, cotton, olive oil, cattle, sheep, skins, hides and butter. These commodities are exported.


TEDA Vlora has a strategic location – 151 kilometres (94 miles) away from the capital Tirana, is part of Corridor 8 and adjacent to the Adriatic-Ionian Highway. It has direct exchange with SH8 Highway, 4.6 kilometres (2.9 miles) away. Tirana International Airport “Nënë Tereza” is only 147 kilometres (91 miles) away from TEDA Vlora and is suitable for transportation of cargo and passengers. There is an existing railway infrastructure passing through the area.TEDA Vlora has access to the Port of Durrës (120 kilometres (75 miles) away) and the Port of Vlora (5.7 metres (18.7 feet)), the two biggest seaports in Albania. Table 2 shows Vlora Seaport’s capacity and Table 3 shows distance to other ports.

Land and Environmental Information

TEDA Vlora is located in a flat, saline land, partially covered by “Soda” Forest. The land is suitable for industrial and environmentally friendly development.

Industrial development inside the zone

The eligible activities that can be developed in TEDA Vlora are: industrial, processing, commercial, goods storage, light industry, electronics, auto parts manufacturing and port related activities.

Labor market

Official data from 2014 set the employable labor force in Vlora at 125,954, of which 84,836 are currently employed. 35% of the labor force in Vlora has a high school degree, while 17% has a university degree. Vlora boasts the second largest university in Albania, “Ismail Qemali” and several vocational education schools.


Vlora is a vibrant coastal city with a well-developed and modern housing infrastructure. The city offers a variety of residential areas ranging from the coast and going inland.


Bay of Vlora
Main article: Albanian Riviera

Tourism has become a major industry in recent years, with many hotels, recreational centers, and vast beaches. It is a pleasant place to relax, to have a coffee and admire the beautiful view over the Bay of Vlorë. A particularity of this bay it is that it is considered as the frontier between the Adriatic Sea and the Ionian Sea. The island of Sazan is close-by, at the entrance to the Bay of Vlorë. Italy is just 70 nautic miles away.

With 300 sunny days per year is the perfect location to stay for business or vacations, eating mediterranean diet food, great wine, olive oil, doing mountains and beach and sports.

Beach in Vlora

Along the Riviera are situated also large beaches, created in the spots, where run more powerful streams, which have deposited huge amounts of scrappy material, such as beach of Palase, Dhermi, Vuno, Himare, Qeparo and Borsh. Along the coast are noted old abrasive tracks due to sea level fluctuations, which are represented by maritime terraces fragments.[17]

The bay offers perfect conditions for navigation at sea and anchorage of ships. It communicates easily with other regions of Albania and it has been used as a crossroad of many important routes since ancient times. The bay of Vlora is remarkable for its rich natural resources, biological diversity and ecological corridors. The harbour of Vlora is positioned in the western part of the bay, opposite the Cold Water.[18]

Main sights[edit]

Independence Museum[edit]

Albanian Independence Proclamation Building

Independence Museum was inaugurated on 28 November 1962. It is placed in the building where the first Albanian government worked in 1913. It has preserved the construction values of an urban two storey Vlora building and it was declared a cultural monument. This museum has eight rooms equipped with original 19th century furniture. Tens of authentic objects and relics, documents, editions, works of art, are exhibited in this museum.[19]

Among the most important parts of this museum are the office of the first Albanian Prime Minister, Ismail Qemali and the Provisional Government Conference Room. It is worth mentioning that the government of the first Albanian state worked for six months in the Independence museum building. Proclamation of independence and other objects of cultural and historic value are displayed in this museum.

Castle of Vlora[edit]

The Castle of Vlora was built by Turks with the stones of the Castle of Jengjec and it was found nearly 150 meters from the coast, near today’s city port. There are no traces of this castle above the ground nowadays, because it was ruined in 1905 and its stones were used to lay the streets of Vlora. The descriptions of Çelebi, the architectural plans of foreign historians and researchers of the previous century such as Coroneli and Auerbahu. enabled the specialists to rebuilt it.[20]

Porto Palermo Castle[edit]

Castle of Porto Palermo

It is situated in the bay of Porto Palermo, a few kilometers south of Himarë along the Albanian Riviera. Huffington Post ranked Porto Palermo first among 15 Undiscovered European Destinations for 2014.[21] The area together with Llamani beach will be proclaimed a protected area holding the status of Protected Landscape by the Albanian Government.[22]

Theatre of Orikum[edit]

The theatre was built in the first century B.C. over the ruins of the old theatre belonging to the third century B.C. It was built in the period when Orikum had reached the highest point of its development and social and economic prosperity and it constituted a construction built with great skill and lots of ornaments. It was located in the eastern part of Paleocastra hill over an area of 400 m2.[23]

The Muradie Mosque

Muradie Mosque[edit]

The mosque was built during the 16th century, around the year 1542 in the rule of Sultan Sulejman Kanuni by the architect Albanian Mimar Sinani, who was the most famous architect of the Ottoman Empire during that century. This is testified by the inscriptions found on it, its architectural forms and by the way separate parts such as the minaret, the portal of the entrance are treated. Despite the mosque within the castle, E. Çelebiu mentions a single mosque with a cupola built by Sultan Sulejman. According to him the mosque of Muradije had a broken minaret, while those of Mumci Zade and Hysen Aga in Tabaka had wooden roofs covered with tiles.[24]

Church of Marmiroi[edit]

The church of Marmiroi rises on a small hill in the vicinity of Orikum with the plain of Dukat behind it and the peninsula of Karaburun in the south. The inhabitants of the region refer to it as “the church of Marmiroi” not knowing the name of its saint.[25]

Grama Bay

The church is found in the southeastern angle of a yard and its own walls serve as surrounding walls. Ruins of walls found within the yard are parts of dwellings with their dugouts, a chimney and some windows. The church presents a cross-shaped plan covered with a cupola without inner columns for support. The narthex and thenaos are in the western side. There are three entrances to the church: the western entrance connects the church with the narthex, the two others are found in the northern and southern sides of it.

Bay of Grama[edit]

The bay of Grama constitutes the end of a mountain stream which extends westwards in the southwest of the peninsula of Karaburun at the place where the stream of St. Ndreu is formed.

The deposited material of the stream has created a suitable sand platform that enables descending on the coast while the cliffs on both sides of the bay fall directly into the sea forming anchorage points for ships. Traces of removed stone blocks on the coast show that Grama was used as a stony massif in order to make use of the limestone rocks. In the west of the bay there is still the horizontal platform of storing the stone blocks, which was later turned into a dwelling. There are two hollows on the floor and two carved basins near the rock for collecting drinkable water. The main stony massif was 100m far from the coast, 50m above the sea level with a considerably large platform.[26]

Beach of Gjipe

Gjipe Canyon[edit]

It is located in the northwest of the beach of Jale and in the southeast of that of Dhermi. It is 200 meters long, 50 meters wide and it is formed at the estuary of the stream of Gjipea. It is a gritty beach with rough stone in some places. The beach is formed as a result of the large amount of the solid material deposited by the stream of Gjipea. It originates at 1200 meters above the sea level and it is formed as a result of the joining of its three main branches: the stream of Mjegulloshi, Mile and Rradhima in the south of the village of Ilias. There is a limestone spring 450 meters above the sea level.[27]


Flamurtari Vlorë Logo
Main article: Flamurtari Vlorë

The citizens of Vlorë enjoy many kinds of sports. The most popular is football. Vlorë has two professional teams: KS Flamurtari Vlorë and Vlora City FC. Flamurtari currently plays in the Albanian Superliga, while Vlora FC competes in the Albanian First Division. Other sports played in Vlorë include basketball, volleyball, handball, athletics and swimming.

International relations[edit]

Twin towns — Sister cities[edit]

Vlorë is twinned with:


Popular culture[edit]

Vlorë appears in the video game Tom Clancy's EndWar as a possible battlefield. In the game, a major oil refinery is located there, which receives oil from the Black Sea.[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "town that is the second seaport of Albania. It lies at the head of Vlorës Bay, which is protected by the mountainous Karaburun (peninsula) and the island of Sazan (Italian Saseno, ancient Saso). Of ancient origin, it was founded as Aulon, one of three Greek colonies on the Illyrian coast. It was strategically important during Roman times and in the 11th–12th-century wars between Normans and the Byzantine Empire" (EB editors 2016).
  2. ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the Brussels Agreement. Kosovo has been recognised as an independent state by 109 out of 193 United Nations member states.
  1. ^ Law nr. 115/2014
  2. ^ Interactive map administrative territorial reform
  3. ^ 2011 census results
  4. ^ The New Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica. 1974. p. 479. ISBN 0-85229-290-2. 
  5. ^ google book reference: Placenames of the World: Origins and Meanings of the Names for 6,600 Countries, Cities, Territories, Natural Features, and Historic Sites By Adrian Room Published by McFarland, 2005, ISBN 978-0-7864-2248-7, 433 pages.
  6. ^ "Wikisource-logo.svg Baynes, T.S., ed. (1875–1889). "Avlona". Encyclopædia Britannica (9th ed.). " in the Encyclopædia Britannica, 9th ed. 1878.
  7. ^ Chisholm 1911, pp. 65–66
  8. ^ Gawrych, G. W. (2006). The crescent and the eagle: Ottoman rule, Islam and the Albanians, 1874-1913. I.B.Tauris. p. 23. ISBN 978-1-84511-287-5. Google Book Search. Retrieved on August 25, 2009.
  9. ^ a b c Vailhé 1912.
  10. ^ "Apollonia and Aulon in Epirus Nova" (Bowden 2003, p. 14)
  11. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 842
  12. ^ "Vlorë Weather Averages". August 2011. 
  13. ^ J.P. Stein. The politics of national minority participation in post-communist Europe. East-West Insititue, New York, 2000. p. 172 [1].
  14. ^ Benjamin Braude, Bernard Lewis. Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire: The central lands. v. 2. The Arabic-speaking lands. Holmes & Meier Publishers, 1982, ISBN 978-0-8419-0519-1, p. 246
  15. ^ "Official Website of Academicus International Scientific Journal". 
  16. ^ "Private Higher Education Institutions in Albania". 
  17. ^ http://visitvlora.com/about-vlora-through-the-years
  18. ^ http://visitvlora.com/about-vlora-through-the-years
  19. ^ http://albania.shqiperia.com/kat/m/shfaqart/aid/2245/Indipendence-Museum---Vlore.html
  20. ^ http://visitvlora.com/about-vlora-through-the-years
  21. ^ "15 Undiscovered European Destinations". Huffington Post. 7 April 2014. 
  22. ^ http://www.mjedisi.gov.al/files/userfiles/Transparence_dhe_Pjesmarrje/Draft_VKM-Gjiri_Portopalermos-Llamani_2015.docx
  23. ^ http://visitvlora.com/about-vlora-through-the-years
  24. ^ http://visitvlora.com/about-vlora-through-the-years
  25. ^ http://visitvlora.com/about-vlora-through-the-years
  26. ^ http://visitvlora.com/about-vlora-through-the-years
  27. ^ http://visitvlora.com/about-vlora-through-the-years
  28. ^ Ubisoft (2008). "Locations". Ubisoft. Retrieved 1 April 2011. 


  • Bowden, William (2003). Epirus Vetus: The Archaeology of a Late Antique Province (Duckworth Archaeology). p. 14. ISBN 0-7156-3116-0. }
  • EB editors (2016). "Vlore". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 24 April 2016. 
  • Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Avlona". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 65–66. 


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]