The castle district of the city of Berat is known for its white stone homes and Byzantine churches. I was able to visit most of the churches, some of them with the help of my new Albanian friend, Dino.
My first stop was the Onufri Museum. It’s Albania’s National Iconographic Museum, located in the former Byzantine Church of the Assumption. The last restoration of the church was in 1797 and everything you see inside hasn’t changed much since the 19th century. Above the entrance to the church is an icon and lots of Greek inscriptions. On the inside were plenty of beautiful icons and woodwork. The pulpit, throne and iconostasis were really amazing. Photography wasn’t allowed, but I wish I would’ve snuck a few in. In the adjacent rooms are other icons from around Albania and other ecclesiastical items. Admission was 200 lek at the time of my visit.
I ended up at a few more churches while wandering through the cobblestone streets. The Church of St. Nicholas and Panagia Vlaherna were right next door to each other. It was at these churches where I met my new Albanian friends and learned of the hospitality of Berat.
Dino led me down a path past the Church of Saints Constantine and Helen was just down the hill. Outside was a bust of Constantine.
From there, we walked to the Holy Trinity church. It’s on the side of a hill overlooking the mountains and the valley below. It’s a really beautiful setting for a church.
After walking through the acropolis, we reached the former Church of St. George. It was made into a restaurant but closed down. Nearby was a lookout point with some of the most breathtaking scenery in Albania.
On the way back to the square, we passed the Evangelistria Church and the Church of St. Theodore.