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10 top must-visit museums in Albania

A country that has a millennial history of the Illyrian tribes, the state of Arbri and the sad testimonies of the communist dictatorship, certainly has much to offer from a historical and cultural point of view.
While the pages of history have been written, many traces have been permanently sealed on Albanian soil, many of them in the former place, and others on the walls of museums. It is a long list of museums that you can visit in Albania, but we are presenting you with the 10 most important from north to south.

1. National Historical Museum, Tirana

Located in the heart of the capital, in Skanderbeg Square, this is the largest museum institution in Albania. It is distinguished by the mosaic of the facade and is already one of the symbols of the city of Tirana. In its premises there are about 6200 objects, which belong to a relatively long period of time, starting from the 4th millennium BC and until the second half of the 20th century.


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2. Museum of Independence,Vlora

It was created in 1936 and is the first Albanian museum. The building itself and everything exposed in it, represent one of the most important moments in the history of the Albanian nation, namely the declaration of Independence on November 28, 1912. In this building, the foundations of the Albanian state have been laid. For 6 months, the Government of Ismail Qemali was established and functioned, which was created after the declaration of independence. In it are exhibited original objects of the time that reflect, important documents of the Renaissance and Independence period, as well as various works of art dedicated to this period, the weight of which exceeds local targets.

3. National Museum of Education, Korca

The National Museum of Education in Korca is located in the building of the first Albanian school, opened on March 7, 1887. The history of Albanian writing and Albanian publications are exhibited in the museum premises. In the building where the National Museum of Albanian Education is located today, a 150-year-old Cultural Monument building, the First School in the Albanian language has been opened, or as it was called then, the “First Albanian Teacher”. This school was opened on March 7, 1887, with permission from the Ottoman Empire.


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4. Skenderbeg Museum, Kruje

At the National Museum ‘Gjergj Kastrioti Skenderbeu’ are exhibited many objects, documents and original bibliographies, authentic reproductions that speak clearly about the history of the Albanian people. In it are the pavilion of antiquity and the early Middle Ages, the pavilion of the Albanian principalities, of the Ottoman conquest and the endurance of this conquest, the pavilion of medieval castles, of the Albanian resistance, the chancellery of Skanderbeg, the library, the hall of princes, etc. In these pavilions are exhibited objects of ceramic, bronze, iron, copper, various facsimiles, original icons, writings, bells of 1462, original swords of the 15th century, etc.


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5. Onufri National Iconographic Museum -Berat

Berat is in itself a museum city, and every step in its entirety is a historic visit. To quench your curiosity, visit the National Museum “Onufri”, which is located in the center of the inhabited neighborhood in the medieval castle of the city. The museum is organized on the premises of the church of St. Mary’s Cathedral, which was built in 1797, on the foundations of an older church of the same name. This museum bears the name of the most prominent Albanian painter of the 16th century, Onufri, who has left a very rich fund in iconographic creativity.


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6. Marubi National Museum of Photography – Shkodra

In the Albanian cradle of culture, in the beautiful northern city of Shkodra, you will find this unique museum. The National Museum of Photography ‘Marubi’ keeps in its archive about 400,000 negatives on glass plates, perfectly organized and classified according to the year of shooting and the content of the photograph. It was Pietro Marubi, the Italian political asylum seeker, who opened this building as his new studio, perhaps not anticipating the institution’s 150-year tenure or its wide-ranging influence in the fields of photography, medicine, architecture, and general Albanian culture.

7. Archaeological Museum – Durres

During your visit to the coastal city, do not forget to make a historic stop at this museum. Durres is one of the oldest Albanian cities and preserves many treasures that have survived time. Archaeological Museum in Durres, founded in 1951, is the largest archaeological museum in the country. The museum is located near the beach and to the north of the museum are 6th-century Byzantine walls, built after the Visigoth conquest of 481.


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8. Butrint Archaeological Museum, Saranda

The ancient city of Butrint in Saranda invites you for a long visit where you should not forget the notebook for some notes. The Butrint Archaeological Museum was established in 1950 on the site of the Venetian fortress on the acropolis of the ancient city of Butrint, with archaeological materials unearthed by the Italian archeological mission led by Luigi Maria Ugolini, who survived the devastation of World War II. The introduction of other smaller residential centers in the area around Butrint better explains the conditions of the birth and flourishing of the city of Butrint during the Hellenistic and Roman periods.


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9. Archaeological Museum of Apollonia, Fier

The flourishing era of Illyrian cities has left not only traces but also treasures for Albanians and visitors, such as Apollonia of Fier, where you will find the archaeological museum. In the stand of this museum are exhibited over 800 objects, which in fact show the rhythms of epoch-making development in Apollonia. Some of the objects and tools on display date to a much more distant period, about 1200 BC.


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10. Museum of Medieval Art, Korca

With a fund of 8000 icons and objects of a religious character, the National Museum of Medieval Art is located in the new building where dozens of works are exhibited in the halls of this museum center, one of the most important in Albania. Positioned along the Boulevard “Fan Noli” in Korca, this museum is not only a visual exhibition of values but also a unique institution in the region