One of Albania's oldest cities, the country's main sea port, the second largest industrial center after Tirana. Durr's (pronounced: Dooh-ras) lies on a small peninsula on the coast of the Adriatic sea. Its population is around 85,000 (the second largest city in Albania).
The beach of Durr's
The beach of Durr's
Durr's was established in the year 627 B.C. by Korintha and Korkyra colonists, on the area of an ancient settlement of the Illyrian tribe Taulant. It went under the names Epidamn, Dyrrah, and Dyrrachium, from which its present name has derived. Having a large Illyrian population and trading with other places, the city prospered. Ever since the 5th century B.C., Durr's produced metals, ceramics, fabric and leather, and had shipyards for making ships. Durr's was a city-state with slaves and a slave-owning class. Old coins found in the area of Durr's are proof of its economical development of this period, it was the city that put the Illyrian Drachma into circulation. The arts and architecture prospered, the Bukuroshja e Durr'sit (The Beautiful Girl of Durr's) mosaic is one of the most popular historical figures found here. In the year 229 B.C., Durr's fell under Rome, but it retained a semi-autonomy. It was turned into a Roman colony during the rule of Augustus, around the year 20 B.C. The Illyrian population gained political power and rose high in administrative positions, as is shown by many Illyrian names found on inscriptions. Durr's developed during the period between the 1st to the 3rd centuries A.D., it became a major trading center and the main port on the eastern coast of the Adriatic. Craftsmanship developed, roads, libraries, aqueducts and odeons were built, as was the Amphitheater of Durr's. At the end of the 3rd century, Durr's became the center of the province of New Epirus. At the 4th century A.D., in spite of the crisis in the Roman Empire, Durr's still remained a developed trading center. And during the 5th and 6th centuries, Durr's was an important city of the western part of the Byzantine Empire, despite the attacks of the Ostrogoths and other barbarians. Under the rule of Anastas, who was born in Durr's, many new buildings rose, such as the hippodrome, two surrounding city walls, and the Basilica of Arapajt. It was also an episcopal center. During the 10th and 11th centuries suffered several attacks (it was attacked by the Bulgarians from 989-1005; by the Normans, 1082-1083, and it was set ablaze by them in 1185; by Venice in 1205, which formed the Duke of Durr's; by Carl of the Anzuins in 1272, which established the Kingdom of Arb'ria and Durr's as its capital; and by the Serbs in the beginning of the 14th century.) In the 14th century, Durr's was Albania's largest city, with around 25,000 inhabitants. In 1368, it was taken by Karl Topia, and it became the center of the Principality of Arb'ria. In 1392, the Ottoman Turks reached the city, which was left under the control of Venice by Gjergj Topia, and remained in their control until 1508. Skenderbeg and his troops surrounded the city in 1447. The city was devastated after it was taken by the Ottomans, most of the population fled, turning Durr's into a village. It redeveloped in the 17th century, once again became a trading center and port of middle Albania. Durr's was severely damaged by earthquakes, in 1372, 1905, and 1926.
After World War II, Durr's was transformed into an industrial city, and an important cultural and educational center. The main fields of production in today's Durr's are the industries of mechanics, chemicals, electronics, furniture, plastic, rubber, and food. Durr's produces wine, cigarettes, fish, high tonnage ships, train cars, electric motors, radio and television sets, plastic and rubber articles, etc.
Durr's was the scene of many demonstrations during the democratic movement of 1990-1991.
Aside from the main library, The Cultural Center with the "Aleksander Moisiu" theater, Durr's has the Estrada Theater, the Puppet Theater, the Philharmonic orchestra, the artistic Ensemble "Durr'si," and many other artistic groups. The museums that have been built are the Archeological Museum, Museum of History, and the house of Aleksander Moisiu's family has been turned into a museum. Durr's has many scientific associations and the branch of the Artists and Writers Association is active here.
The city has expanded on the north and the east, whilst many new public and residential buildings have been built, monuments of the ancient city have been preserved. The main industrial zone is at the entrance of the city from the east, at the Shkozeti quarters. Durr's has many parks and flower gardens, and the outdoor theater has been built on the hills of the city. The main recreational areas of Durr's are the Beach of Durr's and the Beach of Currilave, where citizens and tourists enjoy the sandy beaches and the clear seawater of the Adriatic.