The activities of ReSPA
are funded by the EU


15 12.10.

A visit to Durres, Albania, 2,700 years of history

The group visiting Durres

The group visiting Durres

The 2 training activities organised by ReSPA in mid-September 2010 brought together around 40 participants from the region in Tirana, Albania. The training activities on "The Application of HR Instruments" and "The new Lisbon Treaty and the changing role of Local Governments" seemed to be quite different, but the participants were fully involved in them during the day, enjoyed staying together in the evening, having a beer or visiting the beauty of Tirana by night. For some of them it was not their first time in Albania, but when the LO of Albania suggested that they visit Durres city at the seaside, the second largest city in the country, they were quite attracted to that idea.   On the last afternoon of the training sessions they embarked on their trip to Durres as a whole group.

The first visit was to the Roman Amphitheatre. The group seemed to be very impressed by it. The Durres Amphitheatre is a large Roman amphitheatre built in the second century AD. The amphitheatre is situated in the centre of the city of Durres, the main port of Albania, at 35 km distance from the capital. The founding of Durres, a city mentioned by writers and historians, dates back to 627 BC. It was discovered in the late 1900s and today has become a popular tourist attraction. The Durres Amphitheatre is the largest amphitheatre in the Balkans, once having a capacity of 20,000 people. That's about a third of the capacity of the Colosseum in Rome. It is the only monument of this type on Albanian territory. The monument has the shape of an ellipse with dimensions of 132.4 m by 113.2 m. The size of the arena is 61.4 m by 42.2 m, and it is 20 m high. It is surrounded by the old city walls as well as modern houses. The participants enjoyed a walk around the amphitheatre, tracking the old city walls.  

The second visit was to the Archaeological Museum, which displays a large number of valuable archaeological findings such as the Amphitheatre Chapel, the very unique chapel inside the famous amphitheatre of Durres; “The Beauty of Durres”, a famous mosaic that was discovered beneath a dwelling in a residential area of town and measures 17 by 10 feet; and also Fatih Mosque, the Roman Baths, the Mosaic of Orpheus, the Aqueduct, Arapaj Basilica etc.

After the visit they all enjoyed a very nice dinner by the seaside.


The following are some interviews with the participants:

Ms Have Krasniqi
Head of Personnel Division , Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning , Pristina, UNMIK

I was very excited by the idea of going to visit Durres and also the Bylis amphitheatre.  After four long days of training I found it to be a good opportunity to relax and spend some free time on something quite different, visiting an ancient place together with my new colleagues. I also felt that it would be a good opportunity to get to know each other better.

I come from Kosovo, and even though I have been to Durres before, I had never visited the Amphitheatre of Durres, nor the Archeological Museum. That was something that I really appreciated a lot. We had the visit after a long training day, and it was quite late that afternoon. We all appreciated the fact that a guide had been arranged for us, who was waiting there to make a nice presentation of the Archeological Museum. I was surprised by the wonderful history of Durres and Albania as well.

After the visits I also liked a lot the dinner and the famous local sweet “Bllaca” we had together. All in all I think this is a very nice way to become acquainted with each other and to continue the network that ReSPA is trying to establish in the region.

Mr Adin Hidic
Senior Associate for Legal, Personnel and General Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Our trip to Durres confirmed my opinion about the beauty of the Albanian coast, where one can feel the wealth of historic and cultural heritage in a sensitive manner. We felt the same when we visited the Amphitheatre of Durres and the Archeological Museum, and then took a walk around the centre of the city.

The beautiful sight of the coast on the Ionian sea accompanied by the fresh seafood that local fishermen had caught specially for us gave us an unforgettable experience and made our stay in Albania one that was full of good impressions.

We would also like to give thanks to the organizers of the seminar for their efforts in ensuring that our stay was pleasant and comfortable. The people in Albania are extremely kind and their hospitality is there for all to see. 

Mr Duško Simic
Senior Adviser, Ministry of Administration, Zagreb

Yesterday I visited Durres. I was really surprised and astonished by that beautiful town.  It was above all my expectations. I would like to visit the town again, and I will certainly recommend all my friends to visit and see not only Durres, but also Tirana and other parts of Albania. I think that activities like this are a natural way to make the network of ReSPA work.