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Life Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors in Butrint, Albania

In the southernmost part of Albania, across the Ionian Sea from Corfu, is the ancient city of Butrint. The historic ruins date back over 3,000 years. Not surprisingly, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Romans took over from the Greeks in about 200 BC, and in 48 BC, Julius Caesar gave it to his troops who had defeated the army of his rival, Pompey. It has an amphitheatre, an aqueduct, a forum and baths.

The Venetians occupied the city and built a fort to protect it (unsuccessfully) from the Ottomans in the early 18th century. By WW1, it was deserted and ruined, but an Italian archeologist Luigi Ugolini started excavations in the 1920s during Italian rule.

This is the Venetian tower guarding Butrint. It has a drawbridge.
It is rather rickety, but illustrates how difficult it would have been to defeat the defenders
There is a modern castle built on the highest point of the Butrint peninsula. The door was locked. But underneath, there is a fascinating museum with some of the treasures of Butrint displayed.
Sturdy walls have been repointed. The door needs some attention, too.
Roman Amphitheatre
Butrint Peninsula, with the double headed black eagle flag of Albania
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Life Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors in Berat, Albania

The first castle of Berat was built on a craggy hilltop in the 4th century BC. It overlooks the fertile valley of the River Osum. The present citadel dates from the 13th century, the Byzantine period. Within the castle walls, people still have their homes (although many have been turned into guest houses). In the 15th century, there used to be 35 churches here, but only ten survive. The most famous church is the “Dormition of Saint Mary Cathedral, which is now a museum housing a fabulous collection of ikons. Sadly, the authorities do not permit photography inside.

Squat double doors, patched below.
Yes, this is the back entrance to a church
I guess that once there were doors in this church wall but these have been blocked.
Another church door in Berat.

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Life Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors in Tirana, Albania

For a holiday, I wanted to go somewhere off the beaten track, somewhere exotic, but not too far away from the UK. What about Albania, a tiny country in the Balkans of about three million inhabitants? Cut off from the rest of the world (apart from North Korea) after the end of WW2, it was ruled by communist Enver Hoxha with an iron grip for 40 years. It is slowly opening up, but it remains the poorest country in Europe. And it has plenty of interesting doors.

This is one of the 173,000 bunkers built by the Communist regime to defend Albania against invaders. 27 years after the fall of communism, it has been converted into an art gallery, Bunk’Art.
Enver Hoxha’s daughter designed this pyramid as a mausoleum/museum in honour of her father. It has fallen into disrepair, neglected and decorated by graffiti. It is still used as a television station (see the antennae).
Graffiti on the pyramid in Tirana
The centre of Tirana (known as the Block) was reserved for high ranking members of the Communist Party. It is now thriving with coffee shops, hotels and modern buildings. This interesting door is guarded by statue.
The magnificent Skanderbeg Square in the centre of Tirana looks like the perfect place to stage parades of Mussolini’s fascist troops during WW2. Sadly, the Opera was closed for renovation and the doorway was blocked off.
The National History Museum has a wonderful mural of workers, peasants and soldiers through the ages. The doors are just plain glass, unfortunately.
There is a old carousel on the edge of the square. The mechanism is hidden behind this door at the top of the steps.
This is a “bendy-bus” with a concertina between two coaches. Rather cleverly, an artist has added two halves of a piano accordion either side of the junction. The invisible musician’s right hand has been painted on the automatic door. It must make it difficult playing the keyboard when the doors open at bus stops.
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Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors in Nepal 9

Repair workers taking a break
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Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors in Nepal 8