Day 9 of my adventures around Albania began in the beautiful city of Korçë. Join me as I enjoy some traditional Albanian trahana and explore Korçë and its attractions!
My day began at the beautiful IN Gallery Hotel & Spa, one of the top boutique hotels in Korçë. I had heard so much about the city and couldn’t wait to get out and explore it. But I had to have some traditional trahana for breakfast at their rooftop restaurant before I could head out to see Korçë and its attractions! Later, I would check out their amazing spa.
Korçë is a stunning city in southeastern Albania near the border with Greece. It’s an old city that dates back to the 13th century. Back then, it was known as Episkopi. The modern city dates back to the 1480s, but it really started to flourish in 1788 when residents the nearby town of Moscopole fled to Korçë to escape raids by the Muslim Albanian troops of Ali Pasha.
First, I headed into the kitchen to watch Markelo, one of the cooks, prepare the trahana. It’s a type of porridge made from fermented grains. I love this dish! They add bits of freshly-baked bread to it, which gives it a very hearty texture. Then, they add sun-dried tomatoes, fish oil, browned butter with paprika, seeds, and edible flowers. Goat cheese is also served on the side.
Back at my table, I had my trahana and goat cheese with fresh orange juice. The trahana was very good and similar to watery grits. I loved the clumpy bread, which absorbs the trahana. The smokiness from the tomato was also excellent. Adding the goat cheese made it even better!
Trahana was very popular during the Communist era, as it was a cheap, fast, and easy dish to make. It’s also delicious, full of carbs, and a great way to start your day. I highly recommend it when you travel to Albania. You’ll find different versions of it almost everywhere!
After breakfast, my boy Erjan from Travel Media EU and I walked just one minute to The Resurrection of Christ Orthodox Cathedral. It reminded me of a Byzantine church, but it was actually new and built in 1995. It replaced a St. John Church, which had been destroyed during the Communist era in 1968. During that time, most churches and mosques were destroyed.
Greece actually paid for the church to be rebuilt in 1995. Inside, the walls are covered in paintings of kings, saints, Jesus Christ, Mary, Peter, Joseph, and more. There were no benches, but there were individual chairs. Each Orthodox religion is a little different. If you want to make a prayer, you can get a candle for 5-20 lekes. I bought 5 larger candles to say a prayer for my grandmother.
Afterward, we headed down the local pedestrian street, Bulevard Shen Gjergji, which is lined with restaurants and bars. It’s a popular spot to congregate. At the end of the street is an observation tower.
We passed a telephone booth on the way. On the ground are outlines of a church destroyed during the Communist era. Albania became an atheist country during that time. Priests and imams were jailed and people were forbidden to practice. On the site is the library.
Further on is a miniature square and a curious-looking tower called the Red Tower. Nearby is a display of the nearby villages you can visit. It costs 50 lekes to go up to the top of the tower. The deck at the top offers an amazing view of the entire city and the mountains. It was so cool but a little scary! It’s the best view you can get of Korçë!
After that, we walked two minutes to the Old Bazaar, which is over 400 years old. Along the way, we passed lots of vendors. The bazaar’s streets are cobblestone, very Ottoman-style. There are lots of shops, restaurants, and bars. Our first stop was Haniipazarit, an old-school guesthouse for the Ottoman army.
It’s now a boutique hotel. The guesthouse is two stories with a courtyard and an old well in the middle. It’s beautiful! It was built with original stones from the Ottoman period. Also, the room inside is sick—stone walls, a comfy bed, and clean accommodations.
Outside in the bazaar, there were mostly bars and a few restaurants and souvenir shops. They love drinking coffee, beer, and rakija here. We stopped at a café for some strong coffee and headed down a small side street where there were shops selling grains, cloth, and more.
At a shop near the entrance of the square, I found a pink hand-knitted bag for girls for my oldest daughter. The shop owner knit me a blue one for my youngest daughter. It would only take her two hours! It’s a great gift! I loved the bazaar. It’s a great place to have a drink and people watch. The best time to come is in the morning and after 6 p.m.
After that, we continued back down the boulevard, where we passed a Romanian building from 1936 and the Museum of Education, Mësonjëtorja. During the Ottoman period, they spoke Turkish in Albania, and this is the first school to teach in Albanian after the Ottoman period ended. It dates back to 1887!
What an awesome morning having traditional Albanian trahana and exploring Korçë and its attractions! Huge thanks to my friends at Travel Media EU, Balkan Pearls Tour Operator, and Rental Car Albania for bringing me to this amazing city! It’s a must-visit when you come to Albania.
I hope you liked coming with me to try traditional Albanian trahana and checking out Korçë and its beautiful attractions. If you did, please give this video a thumbs up and leave a comment below. Also, please subscribe to my YouTube channel and click the notification bell so you don’t miss any of my travel/food adventures around the world!