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Title: Vlora  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Albania, History of Albania, Foreign relations of Italy, Foreign relations of Albania, List of battles 1901–2000, Flag of Albania, Durrës, Albanian lek, Isa Boletini, Luigj Gurakuqi
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Municipality and City
Muradie Mosque
Coat of arms of Vlorë
Coat of arms
Nickname(s): Qyteti i Pavarësisë (City of Independence)
Motto: Përherë kuqezi (Always Red and Black)

Coordinates: 40°27.9′N 19°29.1′E / 40.4650°N 19.4850°E / 40.4650; 19.4850Coordinates: 40°27.9′N 19°29.1′E / 40.4650°N 19.4850°E / 40.4650; 19.4850

Country  Albania
County Vlorë County
District Vlorë District
Founded 6th century BC
 • Mayor Shpëtim Gjika (PS)
Elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Municipality and City 79,948
 • Metro 184,279
Time zone Central European Time (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 9401-9405
Area code(s) 033

Vlorë (known also by several alternative names) is one of the largest towns and the second largest port city of Albania, after Durrës, with a population of 79,948.[1] It is the city where the Albanian Declaration of Independence was proclaimed on November 28, 1912. The city was for a short time the capital of Albania.

Founded as an ancient Greek colony in the 6th century BC by the name of Aulon and continuously inhabited for about 26 centuries, Vlorë is home to the Port of Vlorë and University of Vlorë as the most important economical and cultural city of southwestern Albania.


The modern name for the city is the Albanian form Vlorë or Vlora, both pronounced [ˈvlɔɾə], while in the Gheg dialect it is known as Vlonë.[2] Vlorë was created in antiquity as Greek colony in the territory of Illyria. Its first name, still used today in Greece, was Aulón (Greek: Αυλών), meaning "valley" and possibly a translation of another indigenous name.[3] The Greek name is the source of the Italian name Valona (also used in other languages) and of the obsolete English Avlona.[4] During the Ottoman era, the Turkish Avlonya was also used.[5]


The city is located in Albania, in the District of Vlorë and County of Vlorë.

Vlorë is situated on the Bay of Vlorë, an inlet on the Adriatic Sea, almost surrounded by mountains. The port of Vlorë is closer in proximity than any other to the port of Bari, Italy, and is just 70 nautical miles (130 km) from Salento's coasts. The island of Sazan is nearby, strategically located at the entrance to the Bay of Vlorë.

The town is surrounded by gardens and olive groves. Valonia, the mass name for acorn cups obtained in the neighboring oak forests and (because of its chemical derivatives) used by tanners, derives its name from Valona, the ancient name of Vlorë.

A new motorway is being constructed linking the city with Fier and Albania as a whole. One of the most panoramic routes of the Albanian Riviera starts to the south of town stretching up to Sarande in extreme southern Albania.


Vlorë is one of the oldest cities of Albania. It was founded by Ancient Greeks in the 6th century BC and named Aulōn, one of several colonies on the Illyrian coast,[6] mentioned for the first time by Ptolemy (Geographia, III, xii, 2). Other geographical documents, such as Peutinger's "Tabula" and the "Synecdemus" of Hierocles, also mention it. The city was an important port of the Roman Empire, when it was part of Epirus Nova.[7]

It became an episcopal see in the 5th century. Among the known bishops are Nazarius, in 458, and Soter, in 553 (Daniele Farlati, Illyricum sacrum, VII, 397–401). The diocese at that time belonged to the Patriarchate of Rome. In 733 it was annexed, with all eastern Illyricum, to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, and yet it is not mentioned in any Notitiae episcopatuum of that Church. The bishopric had probably been suppressed, for, though the Bulgarians had been in possession of this country for some time, Avlona is not mentioned in the "Notitiae episcopatuum" of the Patriarchate of Achrida. Vlorë played a central role in the conflicts between the Norman Kingdom of Sicily and the Byzantine Empire during the 11th and 12th centuries. During the Latin domination, a Latin see was established, and Eubel (Hierarchia catholica medii aevi, I, 124) mentions several of its bishops. Several of the Latin bishops mentioned by Le Quien (Oriens christianus, III, 855-8), and whom Eubel (I, 541) mentions under the See of Valanea in Syria, belong either to Aulon in Greece (now Salona) or to Aulon in Albania (Vlorë).

The Serbian Empire captured Vlorë, or Valona, as it was also called, in 1345 and formed the seat of an independent principality until it was captured by the Ottoman Empire in 1417. Under Ottoman rule, it became a sanjak centre in Rumeli Eyaleti as "Avlonya"; and after coming under Venetian possession in 1690, the city was restored to the Turks in 1691, becoming a kaza of the sanjak of Berat in the vilayet (province) of Janina. The city had about 10,000 inhabitants; there was a Catholic parish, which belonged to the Archdiocese of Durrës; it persisted nominally as a titular see, suffragan of Durrës. In the 16th century, it was an important center for Sephardic Jewish refugees from Spain and Portugal.

In 1851 it suffered severely from an earthquake.

Ismail Qemali declared Albania's independence in Vlorë on November 28, 1912, during the First Balkan War. The city became Albania's first capital following its independence, but was invaded by Italy in 1914, during World War I. The city remained occupied by Italian forces until 1920, in which an Albanian rebellion forced the Italians out of Albania. Italy again invaded Vlorë in 1939. The fascists occupied the city until Italy surrendered to the allies in 1943, following which Nazi Germany occupied the city until 1944. The city was liberated in 1944 by communist forces under Enver Hoxha.

During World War II, the island of Sazan in Bay of Vlorë became the site of a German and Italian submarine base and naval installations; these were heavily bombed by the Allies.

After WWII, under communism, the port was leased to the Soviet Union as a submarine base, and played an important part in the conflict between Enver Hoxha and Nikita Khrushchev in 1960–1961, as the Soviet Union had made considerable investments in the naval facilities at nearby Pasha Liman and objected strongly to the loss of them as a consequence of Albania denouncing the USSR as 'revisionist' and taking the Chinese side in the split in the world communist movement. The Soviet Union threatened to occupy Vlora with Soviet troops in April 1961, and cut off all Soviet economic, military and technical aid to Albania. The threat was not carried out, as a result of the simultaneous development of the Cuban missiles crisis, but Hoxha realized how vulnerable Albania was, and, after the USSR invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968, he built the tens of thousands of ubiquitous concrete bunkers that still litter the entire Albanian landscape. Under Hoxha, Vlorë was an important recruiting centre for the Sigurimi, the secret police.

In 1997, Vlorë was the center of popular riots after the collapse of several fraudulent investment schemes that led to the downfall of the Sali Berisha administration, and almost turned into a civil war.


Vlorë has a Mediterranean climate with cool wet winters and hot, dry summers with temperatures exceeding 30 °C (86 °F) in July and August.

Climate data for Vlorë
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 13
Daily mean °C (°F) 9.5
Average low °C (°F) 6
Precipitation mm (inches) 120
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 13 12 14 11 9 6 3 3 5 10 17 17 120
Mean monthly sunshine hours 133.3 147.9 173.6 225.0 272.8 318.0 368.9 344.1 279.0 210.8 117.0 99.2 2,689.6


Vlora is home of the second largest university in Albania. The Vlora Conference Center is a leading group in organizing conferences in Albania and has organized conferences in a yearly bases at the University of Vlora. Its board is made of internationally known scientists.

There are three internationally known journals which call the University of Vlora home. They are the highest quality journals of any Albanian speaking university. Many summer schools and training sessions are organized at the University. Vlora is a popular tourist destination and this makes it very attractive for organizing international conferences.

In addition, University of Vlora has excellent programs in naval engineering and navigation. Studying the Bay of Vlora has been one of the main projects of the navigation department in the last few years. The Bay of Vlora is a very important place in World's history with many important facts as Caesar's battles, medieval times, World War I, and World War II, etc. In the bay is one of the oldest military naval bases in the world which continues to be used to this day. The Naval Base of Pashaliman was the only Russian base in the Mediterranean in the 1950s, it was the hot spot of conflict between the Russians and the Albanians in 1961 when Albania pulled out of the Warsaw Treaty. The Department of Navigation is mapping all the ships sunk in the bay area, is doing research in the area of marine archeology in the ancient town of Orikum (Oricum).

Researchers from UV participate in congresses and conferences all over the world. UV has joint projects and exchange programs with some of the best universities in the world and very actively is trying to expand further such programs. UV has taken the lead in all Albanian institutions to increase active cooperation with western universities and to have research as its first priority.

Besides the state university there are two private universities: Universiteti Pavarësia Vlorë, established in 2009; and Akademia e Studimeve të Aplikuara "Reald", which started as primary school and high school, and since 2011 operates also as a university.[10]


Vlorë remains a major seaport and commercial centre, with a significant fishing and industrial sector. The surrounding region produces petroleum, natural gas, bitumen and salt. The city is also the location of important installations of the Albanian Navy.

Vlorë has grown in importance as an agricultural center with very large-scale planting of olive and fruit trees, and as a center of the food processing, oil and bitumen export industries.

The surrounding district is mainly agricultural and pastoral, producing oats, maize, cotton, olive oil, cattle, sheep, skins, hides and butter. These commodities are exported.

Tourism has become a major industry in recent years, with many hotels, recreational centers, and vast beaches. It is a pleasant place to relax, to have a coffee and admire the beautiful view over the Bay of Vlorë.

Main sights

  • The building where Albanian independence was proclaimed on 28 November 1912. It is depicted on the reverses of the Albanian 200 lekë banknote of 1992-1996,[11] and of the 500 lekë banknote issued since 1996.[12]


Because of the development of tourism in recent years, pubs, nightclubs, restaurants and bars have sprung up, especially in the area of 'Cold Water' (Uji i Ftohte), around 3 km (1.86 mi) distant from the center.


The population of the city is 79,948, with Vlorë County, which can be viewed as a metropolitan area, has a population of 184,279.[1] In 1994 the ethnic Greek community of the city numbered 8,000 people.[13] A Greek school was operating in the city in 1741.[14]


Main article: Sports in Vlore

The citizens of Vlorë enjoy many kinds of sports. The most popular is football. Vlorë has two professional teams: KS Flamurtari Vlorë and Vlora City FC. Flamurtari currently plays in the Albanian Superliga, while Vlora FC competes in the Albanian First Division. Other sports played in Vlorë include basketball, volleyball, handball, athletics and swimming.


  • Ismail Qemali - Albanian Independence Movement
  • Ali Asllani - poet and diplomat
  • Eqerem Vlora - Albanian Independence Movement
  • Seit Qemali - journalist
  • Ago Agaj - Albanian Independence Movement
  • Haxhi Dalipi - etnomusician, folklorist, composer, conductor, director of the State Folk Assamble
  • Aurela Gaçe - singer
  • Alban Skenderaj - singer
  • Josif Gjipali - tenor
  • Vlora Hajrullai - dancer
  • Qazim Koculi - Albanian Independence Movement
  • Mina Naqo - mathematician
  • Arben Malaj - Albanian politician
  • Petro Marko - writer
  • Kristaq Mitro - film director
  • Ibrahim Muçaj - film director
  • Perlat Musta - goalkeeper (Partizani, national team)
  • Lütfi Pasha-Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire
  • Kemankeş Mustafa Pasha - Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire
  • Fatos Beja - politician
  • Pupo Shyti - Economist
  • Igli Tare - former soccer player capped with Albania
  • Zinni Veshi - painter
  • Perlat Rexhepi, communist, People's Hero of Albania

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Vlorë is twinned with:

Popular Culture

Vlorë appears in the video game Tom Clancy's EndWar as a possible battlefield. In the game, a major oil refinery is located there, which receives oil from the Black Sea.[15]

See also

Notes and references


  • public domain: 
  • "Vlorë." Encyclopædia Britannica, 2005
  • "Vlorë." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 2004
  • "Vlorë or Vlora, Ital. Valona, ancient Aulon." Crystal Reference Encyclopedia, 2001
  • Tourism Information about Vlorë, Albania (Written by American Robert Nagle in 2002).


External links

  • Visit Vlora
  • Vlora Region Travel Overview
  • Municipality of Vlora Official Website (Albanian)
  • Aulona International Folk Festival
  • Albania Open Paragliding Event
  • University of Vlora
  • Komuniteti Vlonjat (Albanian)
  • Vlorë travel guide
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