KorAi??a is one of the largest and most important cultural and economic centers of Albania, located in the southeastern part of the country. Ai??The total population is 75,994 in a total area of 805.99Ai??km2.
The city is distinguished for its typical quarters, with low houses and villas, paved with cobblestones. KorAi??a is characterized by wide boulevards with many cafes where locals enjoy a Turkish coffee or more often a beer or aAi??raki. People indulge themselves in the traditional walking along the boulevards.
KorAi??a is considered the ai???Albanian Paris” apart from the boulevards, the cafes and the famous KorAi??a serenades, the overall atmosphere in KorAi??a is that of a cultural town with a well-finished architecture and several interesting and peculiar museums, a city which has been home for artists and intellectuals in the vanguard for Albanian culture, which actually kind of reminds last-century Paris and its cultural swarm.
KorAi??a is the city whereAi??the largest carnival in AlbaniaAi??is organized, taking place before Orthodox Easter. Musically, the city is known for the local songs, calledAi??serenata. In the city you will find many taverns with tasteful traditional cooking such as various types of pie which perfectly combines with the good music and the traditional drink, raki.
KorAi??a is a very good base for exploring many tourist points located in the nearby mountains such asAi??Voskopoja, Dardha, Vithkuqi and Boboshtica. These villages are well known for offering the possibility to practice many outdoor sports and activities. The area is also famous for theAi??Byzantine churches of Vithkuqi and Voskpoja, whose walls were painted by famous medieval Albanian painters. Close to KorAi??a you can visitAi??Prespa Lake (which is the countryai??i??s largest National Park), Drenova National Park, the Illyrian tumulus of Kamenica,Ai??etc.
The Panorama is modern architectural Tower located in front of the Andon Cajupi Theater. With a viewing platform accessible to the public by elevator, the tower provides sweeping views of the entire city including the Old Bazaar, Cathedral, Mosque, and Martyrai??i??s Cemetery. The square and Andon Cajupi Theater is undergoing complete reconstruction to offer a modern theater and a functional public space for KorAi??a residents and visitors.
The Youth Park, pearl of KorAi??a, is the largest urban park in the city with an area of 9 hectares. The park is perfect for a stroll under the generous shade of rows of linden and chestnut trees, or enjoying the open stone sculpture garden. Recent reconstruction and remodeling has made this space one of the most popular places in the city for people of all ages, with new fountains, public squares and a promenade. The creation of an open amphitheater in the park has helped the rebirth of artistic life in the city, and has helped to attract around 50,000 tourists every year.
The old KorAi??a Bazaar has great early historical, cultural and artistic value for the city. The bazaar is characterized by one and two story buildings in classic KorAi??a style, separated by narrow cobbled streets that open onto a central squareai??i??the Bazaar is sure to attract the attention of visitors. In past centuries, the bazaar has functioned as a market for trade not just within Albania, but also from Turkey, Greece, Trieste and Venice. It has been noted for the row of inns, including the Old Elbasan and Old Monastery Inn, which served to host travelers visiting the market from outside the city. The market reached its apex during the late 19thAi??and early 20thAi??centuries, with more than 1,000 stores. With so many shops, the bazaar was like a city within a city. The two parts of the bazaar were separated by the old river, and linked by two wooden bridges, while the main road through the city crossed the river on a vaulted stone bridge which rose above the sops. Over the course of its history, the bazaar was burnt down three times, to be built again. The entire complex underwent a complete renovation in 2015, planting the seed for a historical, economic and touristic transformation not just for the city but for the region. The renovation has returned the bazaar to its original historical image, returning its historical and cultural value.
The Cathedral was built in 1994 by the Orthodox Church. Its grand scale makes it the most important Orthodox Church in KorAi??a, and the largest in all of Albania. The cathedral is characterized by its three-tiered concrete construction; enclosing 1800 square meters. The building symbolizes the return of religious practice in a place where all faith was forbidden from 1967 to 1991.
This mosque, the oldest in Albania, is the oldest monument in the city. Dated to the year 1496, the mosque is named after Iliaz Bej Mirahorit , who governed the city when it first began to function as an administrative hub under the Ottoman Empire. As the first domed mosque in Albania, it has significant cultural, historic, religious and architectural value. Inside the mosque are several murals of Mecca and Medina. The clock tower sitting just adjacent from the mosque was reconstructed in 2015 together with the square known as the ai???Garden of Paradise.ai???These renovations add value to KorAi??a, while highlighting its architectural and cultural heritage. The reconstruction of the clock tower and the mosque square creates a harmonic counterpoint to the Old Bazaar and this corner of the city.
The Field of Tears is a small city park steeped in the history of emigrants from KorAi??a. Years ago, this park was a small field located at the edge of the city, marking the beginning of the road leading to Greeceai??i??tough today the park is dedicated to preserving the memory of emigration from KorAi??a. It was here that women would wait, between candles and tears, to be reunited with their husbands returning from abroad, or at least with the hope to learn that they were somewhere alive and well. During the 19thAi??century, this small grassy area was turned into a shrine for emigrants from KorAi??a. Centuries ago, this field marked the beginning of the road to Manastir and Selanik, from which Albanians would depart to emigrate to Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria and America. For generations, emigrants helped drive the economic strength of KorAi??a, and would also impact the local culture and shaping the cultural heritage of Albania. The Field of Tears keeps its old name to this day: where once there were tears for family members far away, today there is a park for visitors and citizens of KorAi??a.
KorAi??aai??i??s history is written on the cobbled stone streets on which it stands the beginning of civilization. There are found old houses constructed with a uniqueAi??Italian architecture. The most distinguished zones of KorAi??aAi??city are the old characteristic neighborhoods known for their cobbled streets and beautiful homes surrounded by railing. Korcaai??i??s old neighborhoods are located in the east part of the city, behind the church ai???Resurrection of Christai??? at the entrance of ai???Republikaai??? Boulevard and ai???Saint Georgeai??? Boulevard. In general, old houses are well maintained and itai??i??s worth visiting them.