Durres, or Dyrrhachium as it was called in ancient times, is the oldest and the second largest city of Albania. It is one of the biggest attractions of Albanian tourism, attracting thousands of tourists from all over Albania, as well as from abroad. Situated on the central Albanian coast, Durres is also the biggest port of the country and economically most viable. Being an ancient city, Durres offers a lot of ancient sights for the tourists along with the crowd pulling beaches.
The amphitheatre in Durres, with a capacity to seat 15,000 spectators and more than 120 meters in diameter, is one of the largest in the Balkan area. Built in 2nd century AD., the Amphitheatre is one of the most magnificent structures of the ancient Durres that has withstood time. Next to the Amphitheatre is the Ethnographic Museum. The Museum houses many local craft items and traditional costumes of Durres and its neighborhood.
Another attraction of the city is the Belle of Durres. Found beneath a residence, it is the most kaleidoscopic mosaic found in Albania. The mosaic is shaped elliptically and measures around 17 x 10 feet and is a beautiful sight to see.
The Archaeological Museum of Durres is home to the largest compilation of archaeological collectibles in Albania. The museum displays many articles of Roman, Greek, Classical, late antique and early medieval eras, which were excavated from Durres and the surrounding regions. The Roman Thermal Baths are some other remnants of the ancient era. The baths, discovered in the year 1962, consists of a heating system and a 7 x 5 m long pool.
The Royal Villa of Durres is another beautiful monument of Durres. Built in 1926 on the 98 m Durres hill, the sea can be seen from three sides of the Villa. The striking pink colored Villa was built as a summer Villa for King Zog and now belongs to Leka, Crown Prince of Albania.
But the most popular destination of Durres is probably the 10.5 km long beach. It is the biggest beach of Albania and also the most visited. There are number of good hotels overlooking the beach. But in summers, the beach becomes very dirty due to the large crowds. To enjoy the real beauty of the beach, it is best to visit it right after the summer.
Durres, being the oldest city of Albania, offers the ancient charm and also the buzz of modern cities, a place ought to be visited.