Hey Holly Baxter @Independent. Yes, you got it right! Gjirokastra is not for everyone.
Here you have some more reasons to affirm that.
Don’t come to Gjirokastra if you have only a few hours to spend and all you want is to tick it in your list of destinations and leave pleased with a selfie. Not this type of place.
Don’t come to Gjirokastra if you haven’t read the novel “Chronicle in Stone” of Ismail Kadare, winner of 2005 International Man Booker Prize, Prince of Asturia and many other prizes. The Independent has previously interviewed Kadare and quoted “…he has been nominated for the Nobel Prize 15 times. He has been compared to Gogol, Kafka and Orwell, but his is an original voice, universal but rooted in his own soil”
To understand Gjirokastra you need to leave your phone at the hotel, consider spending some days and start reading the book of Kadare in your own language, which we bet will be one of 45 languages his books are translated.
Don’t come to Gjirokastra if you plan to sit in a local bar staring at your phone checking your Facebook, Instagram or latest news, all day long, without looking at the local waiter who takes your order. Since they don’t speak English, they need to spend more of your precious time to communicate with you. Don’t expect the same hotel chain that you go in your beach destination where you can even find a British student to be your waiter and speak even your dialect. What a nice coincidence!
You cannot and should not drive through this town. You need to walk and step over every single stone to feel its history.
Gjirokastra is not one of those easy beautiful pictures you like to put on your desktop. It is an intriguing place you would love to paint or carve in stone.
It is a deep-rooted destination, not like the ones created on a desert with shiny skyscrapers and casinos. You need time to absorb it but we guarantee, you will not be disappointed for any minute of you time.
Therefore, we invite you Holly to come again and hopefully stay longer to experience all these things Gjirokastra has to offer. And if you stay longer you will discover that very close to Gjirokastra there are so many other things to do and see, like you can visit Antigone archaeological site, Labova of the Cross, Permet where you can eat delicious gliko and do rafting or Tepelena the birthplace of Ali Pasha. You will have a great week here.
Visit Gjirokastra Team
Note* The article was published as complimentary to the nice article entitled “Why Gjirokaster is Albania’s best-kept secret” by Holly Baxter published at The Independent Newspaper.