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Sazani, an island surrounded by mystery and great views

  • 7/2/2021 11:11 AM
Sazani, an island surrounded by mystery and great views

The name of the only island in Albania, Sazan, is mentioned since antiquity, starting at the VI century BC, and was known with the name of SASON. Since the times of Julius Cesar and until World War II, in the coastline around the Bay of Vlora, a great number of naval battles were conducted, and as a result, many sunken ships can be found in the area.

Surrounded by a veil of mystery, Sazan is the only defined island in the coast of Albania. A unique natural beauty, encircled by many legends and mystic tales.

History has defined the island of Sazan as one of the most suitable fortifications for protecting the city of Vlora and the surrounding areas.  Nowadays, in times of peace, Albania is a member country of NATO and Sazan will be turned into one of the most iconic touristic spots of the Mediterranean.

The name of the island is mentioned since ancient times, starting with the VI century B.C, under the name of SASON.

During medieval times, the island was captured by the Venetians, and afterwards, during the Balkan Wars, Greece invaded the island. The decision of the Conference of Ambassadors in London in 1913, made Greece retreat from Sazan.

During World War I, the island was invaded by Italy. During the War of Vlora in 1920, the Italian troops retreated from Vlora, but kept the island under invasion until 1943, when Albania was invaded by Nazi Germany.  On 21 October 1994 the island was liberated and since then it is part of the integrity and sovereignty of the Albanian state.

During the Cold War, Sazan and the military naval base of Pasha Liman in Vlora, were turned into one of the key points of the Soviet Red Army and the Albanian Army in the Mediterranean.

The entire area surrounding the island was a battle ground for many naval battles, starting with Julius Cesar and Pompey war and the clashes of World War II. A great number of sunken vessels have been found in the Bay of Vlora.

Many underwater relics such as amphora and other object have been recuperated by Albanian archaeologists and are exposed in the National Historic Museum and the Archeological Museum in Durres.   

During the Cold War, the island of Sazan served as a naval military base, hosting torpedo boats, heavy artillery vessels, etc. During that period, the island was inhabited by 10,000 people, especially by the family of the officers that served in the island. During the Cold War, the Island of Sazan, together with the bay of Vlora, were considered as the most difficult front for the Albanian Army. For this reason, the people who served in the island benefited a unique treatment from the government of the time.

The surface of the island is 5.7 km square and lays in the entrance of the bay of Vlora. The coastline of the island is steep and on the western part of it , a small bay is formed, called the Gorge of Xhehnemi. On the east side, it is the bay of Shenkolla, where the military port is settled.

The island is composed of two rocky hills with a maximal altitude of 342 metres. Since this area was a military zone, and trespassing was illegal, the flora and fauna surrounding the island has remained intact, due to the lack of illegal hunting or other damages.

The island is surrounded by many picturesque beaches that have remained unused. One can be amazed by the beauty of the beaches, caves and its history.

The cave of Haxhi Aliu, the bay of the Devil and many others, are among the biggest that can be found in the Mediterranean Sea. The Cave of Haxhi Aliu is a cave 30m long, 18m high, 12m wide and 10m deep. The legend says that a famous fighter and traveler from Ulqin, called Haxhi Aliu, sheltered in the cave together with his sun. Together with the help of the local shepherds, they attacked the pirates and helped travelers to pass on those waters. This is one of the most visited attractions of the Karaburun-Sazan archipelago.

 Today, they are a real challenge for the enthusiasts of diving and a special attraction for underwater sports.  The island is visited by many underwater explorers, archeologists, and admirers of the underwater flora and fauna, turning it into a great touristic attraction for everyone.

/ERvin Çali/