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1. Introduction
The slanted mountain city of Gjirokastra situated in the South of Albania, is usually called the
city of stone1. From the rooftop of its houses to the cobbled stones of its roads, its majestic castle
to the jagged rocks of its surrounding mountains, Gjirokastra visibly deserves such a designation.
Although Ismail Kadare stated that the city seems to have been “cast up in the valley one
winter’s night”, the city has actually been built over centuries and experienced great historical
movements and various changes in people’s lifestyle.

Gjirokastra from the top floor of Cajupi Hotel located on C. Topulli’s square, main square of the old town

The first architectural component of great importance is most probably the military and
administrative castle built in the 13th century, located on the top of the hill. The oldest quarters of


KADARA ismail, Chronicle in Stone, 1971