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Saranda City (Albania)

The port town of Agii Saranda is situated in the southeast part of the country of Albania, opposite the northeast part of Corfu’s island (Greece) and 26 km close to the Greek borders. In the ancient times the name of this town was Onchesmus.

According to the famous Albanian historical writer Mr. Neritan Ceka (Minister of Interior 1997-1998) this town took its name from the Trojan Prince father “Anchises”.  The name of Agii Saranda according to the Legend comes from the Christian time of the 15th century, when 40 monks, soldiers, were decapitated by the Turks because they wouldn’t change their religion. So, the folk and the church declared them as Saints. The origin of the name of Agii Saranda comes from two Greek words. Agii means Saints, Saranda means the number forty. Today the city is called only Saranda. The town has a population of 30.000 inhabitants. This number triples during the summer time because Saranda town is very well organized. The inhabitants of all Albania and Kossovo like to spend their holidays in this town, which is lying next to the Ionian Sea. We have to mention that as far as religion is concerned, Albanians are 60% Muslims, 30% Greek Orthodox and 10% Catholics. The climate of Saranda is mild Mediterranean and sunny most of the year. The economy of Saranda town is based mainly on its agricultural products from the valley of Valtos, on the cultivation of mussels from the salt lake of Vouthrotos (Butrint ).

Fishing is another source of wealth and finally tourism, which has been growing slowly but steadily during the last fifteen years. The town of Saranda is built in amphitheatric style with three parallel roads. Four series of step stairs lead from the top of the hill of the town down to each promenade. After the revolution of 1990 this town was rebuilt in a modern style. Modern Hotels with the 5 stars Hotel “Butrint” being the top one, bars, restaurants and cafeterias and also a promenade with palm trees. Several arts of roses and bougainvilleas next to the Ionian Sea give to Saranda the air of a cosmopolitan town. Therefor Saranda is the most touristic destination of all Albania .The inside of the town is a combination of top new buildings, old taverns, cafeterias and houses built in the traditional impressive stone style, even with top roofs of stone plates. Albanian and northwest Greeks are the best carved-stone workers in the world.

 

HISTORY

The Albanians belong to the Indogermanistic race. Traces of human life are placed in the Paleolithic Era. 35.000 B.C. The first inhabitants of Saranda area were of the Tirrino-Pelasgian race. Offspring races of the Tirrino-Pelasgians were the Illyrians and of the Pelasgians were the Epirots and the Macedonians. Remands of human life are placed in the Neolithic Era 3000-1200 B.C. The legend has it that, the ancient inhabitants of Saranda area were offsprings of the Greek ancient hero Achilles. Epirus King Neoptolemus Pyrrhus, son of Achilles and the greater of the “Aeachidon Dynasty”, which lasted for 1000 years, after the fall of Troy held captive Andromache,(widow of Trojan Crone prince Hector). Their union resulted in four sons. One of them that was named Mollosus created the Molossian race.

Olympias mother of Alexander the Great was an offspring of the Molossians. After King Neoptolemus Pyrrhus’s death, Andromache married the Trojan Prince Helenus (Hectors brother), who was also held as a captive of the Epirus King, and they built a miniature town of Troy giving to it the name “Vouthrotos”.