Municipality of Himara

A short description about Himara The current municipality of Himara has an area of ​​572 km2 and consists of three administrative units, Himara, Lukova and Hora-Vranisht, while in these three administrative units are 24 villages that are included under the administration of the Municipality of Himara according to the organization of the local self-government of 2014.Himara, includes the entire coastline from Karaborun to Saranda’s Coast, which is also the most beautiful Albanian Riviera, which is at the same time even more picturesque with clean sandy beaches and mountain ranges that are no more than 3 km away from the sea edge. All this magical sight as well as tourist infrastructure has been developed in the last 10 to 12 years, while there are a great number of cultural and historical objects such as castles, caves, monuments, churches and monasteries, make Himara one of the main tourist destinations, both native and foreign.

Himara is a small sunny town located in southern Albania. The population amounts around 28,000 people including the villages around Palase, Dhermi, Ilias, Vuno, Himare, Pilur, Kudhes, Qeparo, Borsh, Piqeras, Sasaj, Lukove, Coraj, Kuc, Kallarat, Bolene, Terbac, and Vranisht.

The area has a great potential for tourism, with the major characteristics of the municipal town being its seaside promenade the tavernas and the traditionally preserved old town built on a hill.The town of Himarë consists of the old town, Kastro, situated on and around the old castle and the coastal region of Spilea, which is the touristic and economic center of the region. Other parts of the town are Potami, Livadhi, Zhamari, Michaili and Stefaneli. North of the town of Himarë lie the villages of Vuno, Ilias, Dhërmi, with its coastal region Jaliskari, and Palasë. Dhermi contains a number of recently built beach resorts. On the mountains lie Pilur and Kudhës, while Qeparo is to the south of the town of Himarë.

The region has several Orthodox churches and monasteries, built in the traditional Byzantine architecture , like the Monastery of the Cross, Athaliotissa, Saint Theodore, Virgin Mary in Dhërmi and Saint Demetrius. Some of the churches are located inside the castle of Himara, which were initially built in classical antiquity, like the Church of Virgin Mary , Episkopi, which was built on the site of an ancient temple dedicated to Apollo, as well as the Agio Pantes church, in the entrance of the castle.

HIMAR’S CASTLE – The old town of Himara, and the castle itself are important monuments that need protection so that they do not suffer irreparable damage. In the fortress there are signs of the uninterrupted presence of local Illyrian-Albanian residents for more than 3500 years. In this castle is worth to sing facilities:

SAINT MARIA – Byzantine style church with the icon of St. Mary considered miraculous. In the era of drought, the icon was taken for folk litany (prayer). The people praying for the rain. Stories say that the miracle really happened.

THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH – A Byzantine Church. In front of the present-day building of this church, at its door, there is a marble basilica with the two-lyrical Iliro-Albanian eagles. The building of the Episcopal Church has its foundations on an old building that was the shrine of Apollo of Illyria.

THE CHURCH OF THE SAINTS – Built in 1775 at the entrance to the castle. Today, this rebuilt church functions as Himara’s Metropolis [Church Center].

MANASTRY OF SAINT MARIA – Where the road starts, at the foot of  Gipe mountain east part of the village of Ilias, there is the Monastery of Saint Maria. In ancient times, in the Pre-Christian era, there was a shrine of the goddess Artemis. There is only one foot from Ilias, along the dry shore of the stream of Gipe.

SAINT THEODHOR CHURCH – Among the villages of Ilias and Dhërmi there is the Monastery of St. Theodore.

THE SAINT MARY MONASTERY IN DHERMI – This monastery is located on the top of the village of Dhërmi. It is very white and is distinguished for its unique architectural design.

Other objects of cultural importance are also:

“THE BEAUTIFUL CASTLE” (Palermo) – In the south of Himara, on a small peninsula, within the safe bay with the same name, is the beautiful fortress, built in the early 19th century by Ali Pasha of Ioannina and has been preserved all these years. The castle was built on the ruins of an old fortress and a monastery that existed there, according to the English traveler Lik who has visited the country. At the site where the peninsula is connected with the land, there is the church of St. Nicholas, for which there are many legends and stories about the castles construction. OLD QEPARO (upper) – The whole village has beautiful views and traditional architecture. All the old churches are fascinating. Of particular interest are the Iliro-Kaone epigrams on the walls of various buildings. From this village is the former US CIA Director George Tenet. SAINT DHIMITER CHURCH – In the lower village of Qeparo, there is the monastery of St. Dhimitri, white and reconstructed, as well as the church with the same name. SOPOT CASTLE – Near the village of  Borsh, on the top of the hill, there are ruins of the Albanian fortress of Sopot. The way to go there is difficult and can be reached only by foot. THE CAVE OF THE PIRATS – In the north of Himara, on the sea side there is a large cave, which you can access only by the sea. The environment is interesting and the ideal coastline to go for a swim. The legend says that this cave was once the “home”of pirates. THE BEACHES – Himara is known for its beautiful beaches, most of them with white and fine sand. Spilea is the central beach of Himara, with many guests in summer, furthermore are Prino, Potami, Filikuri, in the south Llamana, Qeparoi, Borshi, Buneci, Lukova and Kakomea in Nivica (but with hard roads ). Below the Himara fortress is Livadhi and in the north is Jali, Fusha, Ziso, Gjipea, Karkaniqi, Dhërmiu, Palasa and Dhralea. In many places on the shores of Himara, the water is very cold, due to groundwater. If you leave a few tens of meters from these drops the sea temperature gets more bearable.