Berat

Berati

( Berat )

Berat (Albanian: [ˈbɛˈɾat]; definite Albanian form: Berati) is the ninth most populous city of Albania and the seat of Berat County and Berat Municipality. By air, it is 71 kilometres (44 miles) north of Gjirokastër, 70 kilometres (43 miles) west of Korçë, 70 kilometres (43 miles) south of Tirana, and 33 kilometres (21 miles) east of Fier.

Berat is located in the south of the country. It is surrounded by mountains and hills, including Tomorr on the east that was declared a national park. The river Osum (total length 161 km (100 mi)) runs through the city before it empties into the Seman within the Myzeqe Plain. The municipality of Berat was formed at the 2015 local government reform by the merger of the former municipalities Berat, Otllak, Roshnik, Sinjë, and Velabisht, that became municipal units. The seat of the mu...Read more

Berat (Albanian: [ˈbɛˈɾat]; definite Albanian form: Berati) is the ninth most populous city of Albania and the seat of Berat County and Berat Municipality. By air, it is 71 kilometres (44 miles) north of Gjirokastër, 70 kilometres (43 miles) west of Korçë, 70 kilometres (43 miles) south of Tirana, and 33 kilometres (21 miles) east of Fier.

Berat is located in the south of the country. It is surrounded by mountains and hills, including Tomorr on the east that was declared a national park. The river Osum (total length 161 km (100 mi)) runs through the city before it empties into the Seman within the Myzeqe Plain. The municipality of Berat was formed at the 2015 local government reform by the merger of the former municipalities Berat, Otllak, Roshnik, Sinjë, and Velabisht, that became municipal units. The seat of the municipality is the city Berat. The total population is 60,031 (2011 census), in a total area of 380.21 km2 (146.80 sq mi). The population of the former municipality at the 2011 census was 32,606.

Berat, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008, comprises a unique style of architecture with influences from several civilizations that have managed to coexist for centuries throughout the history. Like many cities in Albania, Berat comprises an old fortified city filled with churches and mosques painted with grandiose wealth of visible murals and frescos. Berat is one of the main cultural centres of the country.

Early development

Ceramic finds from the 7th century BCE initially attest to a settlement of the rocky hill of Berat by the Illyrians.[1] Berat has been identified with ancient Antipatrea.[2] Probably since the mid-4th century BCE the Illyrians went through a dynamic development, founding their own cities like Dimale and Byllis; however it is uncertain whether this development among Illyrians involved also Berat, or whether the foundation of the city is to be attributed to Cassander of Macedon.[3] The founding date is unknown, although if Cassander is the founder, it would date back after he took control of southern Illyria around 314 BCE.[2]

Antipatrea was involved in the Illyrian Wars and Macedonian Wars,[4] and it is mentioned as a city of Dassaretia in southern Illyria. Along with Chrysondyon, Gertous and Creonion, Antipatrea was one of the Dassaretan towns around which the Illyrian dynast Skerdilaidas and the Macedonian king Philip V fought in 217 BCE. The city eventually was conquered by Philip V until Roman intervention.[5][6] Antipatrea was described as the largest settlement with significant walls and referred to as the only urbs in the area, in contrast with other settlements that were described as castella or oppida.[7] As reported by Roman historian Livy, in 200 BCE the Roman legatus Lucius Apustius "stormed and subdued Antipatrea by force of arms and, after killing the men of military age and granting all the plunder to the soldiers, he demolished the walls and burned the city".[8][4] In Roman times it was included within Epirus Nova, in the province of Macedonia.[9] The town became part of the unstable frontier of the Byzantine Empire following the fall of the western Roman Empire and, along with much of the rest of the Balkan peninsula, it suffered from repeated invasions by Slavs. During the Roman and early Byzantine period, the city was known as Pulcheriopolis.

The First Bulgarian Empire under Presian I captured the town in the 9th century, and the city received the Slavic name Bel[i]grad ("White City"), Belegrada (Βελέγραδα) in Greek, which persisted throughout the medieval period, changing to Berat under Ottoman rule. The town became one of the most important towns in the Bulgarian region Kutmichevitsa. The Bulgarian governor Elemag surrendered the city to the emperor Basil II in 1018, and the city remained in Byzantine hands until the Second Bulgarian Empire retook the city in 1203 during the rule of Kaloyan. During the 13th century, it fell to Michael I Ducas, the ruler of the Despotate of Epirus.

 
The entrance of the citadel, with the 13th century Byzantine Holy Trinity Church

Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos sent letters to the Albanian leaders of Berat and Durrës in 1272 asking them to abandon their alliance with Charles I of Naples, leader of the Kingdom of Albania, who had captured and incorporated it at the same period in the Kingdom of Albania.[10][11][12] However, they sent the letters to Charles as a sign of their loyalty.[13] In 1274 Michael VIII recaptured Berat and after being joined by Albanians who supported the Byzantine Empire, marched unsuccessfully against the Angevin capital of Durrës.[14] In 1280-1281 the Sicilian forces under Hugh the Red of Sully laid siege to Berat. In March 1281 a relief force from Constantinople under the command of Michael Tarchaneiotes was able to drive off the besieging Sicilian army.[15] Later in the 13th century Berat again fell under the control of the Byzantine Empire.

The fortress of Tomorr in the early 14th century is attested as Timoro(n) under Byzantine control. In 1337, the Albanian tribes which lived in the areas of Belegrita (the region of Mt. Tomorr near Berat) and Kanina rose in rebellion, and seized the fortress of Tomorr.[16][17][18] There is little detail about the rebellion in primary sources. John VI Kantakouzenos mentions that the Albanians in those areas rebelled despite the privileges which Andronikos III Palaiologos had given them a few years earlier.[17] These events marked the movement of these Albanian tribes into Epirus for the first time.[18] Andronikos led an army mainly composed of Turkish mercenaries, and defeated the Albanians, killing many and taking prisoners.[17] In 1345 (or maybe 1343) the town passed to the Serbian Empire.[19] After its dissolution in 1355 Berat came under suzerainty of its former governor, John Komnenos Asen (1345-1363), Alexander Komnenos Asen (1363-1372) and Zeta of Balša II (1372-1385). In 1385 Berat was captured by the Ottomans, before the Battle of Savra. According to some sources, the Ottomans probably remained in Berat for some time with intention to use it as foothold to capture Valona.[20] By 1396, the Albanian Muzaka family took over control of Berat which became the capital of the Principality of Berat.[21][22] In 1417 Berat became a part of the Ottoman Empire.[23] In 1455 Skanderbeg, a commander with an Albanian force of 14,000 and small number of Catalan soldiers unsuccessfully tried to capture Berat from an Ottoman force of 40,000.[24]

Modern period
 
Halveti Tekke

During the early period of Ottoman rule, Berat fell into severe decline.[dubious ] By the end of the 16th century it had only 710 houses. However, it began to recover by the 17th century, and became a major craft centre specializing in wood carving.

During the first part of the sixteenth century, Berat was a Christian city and did not contain any Muslim households.[25] The urban population of this period (1506-1583) increased little, with the addition of 17 houses.[26] Following their expulsion and arrival from Spain, a Jewish community existed in Berat that consisted of 25 families between 1519 and 1520.[27][28]

Toward the latter part of the sixteenth century, Berat contained 461 Muslim houses and another 187 belonged to newcomers from the surrounding villages of Gjeqar, Gjerbës, Tozhar, Fratar, and Dobronik.[26] Conversion to Islam of the local urban population in Berat had increased during this time and part of the newcomer population were also Muslim converts who had Islamic names and Christian surnames.[26] Factors such as tax exemptions for Muslim urban craftsmen in exchange for military service drove many of the incoming rural first generation Muslim population to Berat.[29] Followers of Sabbatai Zevi existed in Berat among Jews during the mid-sixteenth century.[28] The Berat Jewish community took an active role in the welfare of other Jews, such as managing to attain the release of war-related captives present in Durrës in 1596.[28]

By the early seventeenth century, urban life in Berat started to resemble Ottoman and Muslim patterns.[30] From 1670 onward, Berat became a Muslim-majority city and of its 30 neighbourhoods, 19 were populated by Muslims.[31] Factors attributed to the change of the urban religious composition in Berat was pressure to covert in some neighbourhoods, and a lack of Christian priests able to provide religious services.[31]

 
The city of Berat in 1813, illustration by Charles Cockerelle

In the 18th century, Berat was one of the most important Albanian cities during the Ottoman period.[32]

In the early modern era the city was the capital of the Pashalik of Berat founded by Ahmet Kurt Pasha. Berat was incorporated in the Pashalik of Yanina after Ibrahim Pasha of Berat was defeated by Ali Pasha in 1809. In 1867, Berat became a sanjak in Yannina (Yanya) vilayet. Berat replaced a declining Vlorë as centre of the sanjak (province) in the nineteenth century.[33] The sanjak of Berat and the city itself were under the dominance of the Albanian Vrioni family.[33] The Jewish community of Yanina renewed the Jewish community of Berat in the nineteenth century.[28]

 
Berat depicted by Edward Lear, 15 October 1848.[34]

A Greek school was operating in the city already from 1835.[35] In the late Ottoman period, the population of Berat was 10–15,000 inhabitants, with Orthodox Christians numbering some 5,000 people of whom 3,000 spoke the Aromanian language and the rest the Albanian language.[36][37] During the 19th century, Berat played an important part in the Albanian national revival. Christian merchants in Berat supported the Albanian movement.[38] Berat became a major base of support for the League of Prizren, the late 19th century Albanian nationalist alliance, while the city was also represented in the formation of southern branch of the league in Gjirokastër.[39] In the First World War, a census by Austro-Hungarian occupation forces counted 6745 Orthodox Christians and 20,919 Muslims in the Berat region.[40]

20th and 21st century

During the Second World War, Jews were concealed in the homes and basements of 60 families from the Muslim and Christian communities in Berat.[27] Albanian Muslims in the city let Jewish people worship in the local mosque, and a Star of David can still be seen on the walls of the city's main Islamic place of worship.[41]

From 23 to 30 October 1944, the second session of the Council of National Liberation of Albania was held in Berat, where the National Liberation Movement-controlled Anti-Fascist National Liberation Committee became the Provisional Democratic Government of Albania, with Enver Hoxha as its prime minister and minister of defence.

During the Communist era, Berat became a place of internal exile for those who were deemed public enemies, and their families. Starting in the 1950s, the village served as a political internment center from which the internees could not leave without permission.[42] Each day, internees were required to sign up at the Security Office or the police.[42] In 1963, a Deportation-Internment Commission report indicated that there were 30 interned in Berat, which consisted in part of internees those interned due to risk of escape.[42] The rest are convicted for ordinary causes. In 1967, Albanian author Ismail Kadare was sent to Berat, where he spent two years.[43][44] Relatives of those who had fled abroad, or sympathized with Titoist Yugoslavia were also deported to Berat.[45][46][47]

In the modern period, a Romani community numbering 200-300 lives in Berat and its outskirts whereas others in a few nearby villages, at times living in difficult economic circumstances with some seasonally migrating to Greece for work.[48][49] Some Aromanian-speakers and Greek-speakers can be found in the town and nearby villages.[50]

^ Zindel et al. 2018, pp. 278, 280 ^ a b Cohen & Walbank 1995, p. 76 ^ Fiedler et al. 2021, p. 137: "Die Illyrier durchliefen eine dynamische Ent-wicklung mit Gründung eigener Städte wohl ab dem mittleren 4. Jh. v. Chr. wie Dimal und Byllis68. Ob hierzu auch Antipatreia (Berat)69 am östlichen Eingang zur Myzeqe-Ebene nur 40 km von Babunjë entfernt gehörte oder die Stadt erst durch Kassander (neu?) gegründet wurde, ist derzeit offen." ^ a b Astin 1998, p. 262 ^ Šašel Kos 1997, p. 331 ^ Morton 2017, pp. 37, 42 ^ Morton 2017, p. 23 ^ Baker 2020, p. 59 ^ Hoti 2022, pp. 245, 249 ^ Lala, Etleva; Gerhard Jaritz (2008). "Regnum Albaniae and the Papal Curia" (PDF). Central European University. p. 32. Retrieved 3 February 2011. ^ Wirth, Peter (2 March 1977). Regesten der Kaiserurkunden des oströmischen Reiches von 565-1453: Regesten von 1204-1282. C.H.Beck. p. 114. ISBN 978-3-406-00738-5. Retrieved 3 February 2011. ^ Norris, Harry Thirlwall (1993). Islam in the Balkans: religion and society between Europe and the Arab world. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press. p. 36. ISBN 9780872499775. ^ Nicol 2010, p. 16. ^ Bartusis, Mark C. (1997). The late Byzantine army: arms and society, 1204-1453. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-8122-1620-2. Retrieved 1 February 2011. ^ Norwich, John Julius. The Decline and Fall of the Byzantine Empire. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996) p. 246-247 ^ Nicol 2010, p. 108: The Albanians in the district between Balagrita and Kanina had against risen in rebellion, in spite of the privileges which the emperor had recently granted themtquote (..) Balagrita lay in the region of Mount Tomor (Tomorit) near Berat. ^ a b c Fine 1994, p. 253 ^ a b Osswald, Brendan (2007). "The Ethnic Composition of Medieval Epirus". In Ellis, Steven G.; Klusáková, Lud'a (eds.). Imagining Frontiers, Contesting Identities. Edizioni Plus. p. 134. ISBN 978-88-8492-466-7. In 1337, the Albanians of Epirus Nova invaded the area of Berat and appeared for the first time in Epirus, seizing the fortresses of Skrepario, Timoro and Klisoura. ^ Nicol, Donald M. (1984). The Despotate of Epiros 1267-1479: A Contribution to the History of Greece in the Middle Ages. Cambridge University Press. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-521-26190-6. Berat may have fallen by 1343. ^ Gibbons, Herbert Adam (21 August 2013). The Foundation of the Ottoman Empire: A History of the Osmanlis Up To the Death of Bayezid I 1300-1403. Routledge. p. 159. ISBN 978-1-135-02982-1. ^ Ćurčić, Slobodan; Aimos; Preservation, Society for the Study of the Medieval Architecture in the Balkans and its (1997). Secular medieval architecture in the Balkans 1300-1500 and its preservation. Aimos, Society for the Study of the Medieval Architecture in the Balkans and its Preservation. p. 114. ISBN 978-960-86059-1-6. Retrieved 11 January 2011. ^ Fine, John V. A.; Fine, John Van Antwerp (1994). The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest. University of Michigan Press. p. 391. ISBN 0-472-08260-4. ...in 1396. By this time the family of Musachi had gained control of Berat. ^ Kiel 1990, p. 48. "In 1417, Berat became part of the Ottoman Empire when this strong city succumbed to a surprise attack." ^ Setton, Kenneth Meyer (1976). The Papacy and the Levant (1204–1571), Volume II. The Fifteenth Century. American Philosophical Society. p. 192. ISBN 9780871691279. ^ Ergo 2010, pp. 34, 37. ^ a b c Ergo 2010, p. 36. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference Mema was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ a b c d Giakoumis, Konstantinos (2010). "The Orthodox Church in Albania Under the Ottoman Rule 15th-19th Century". In Schmitt, Oliver Jens (ed.). Religion und Kultur im albanischsprachigen Südosteuropa [Religion and culture in Albanian-speaking southeastern Europe]. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. p. 96. ISBN 9783631602959. ^ Ergo 2010, p. 33. ^ Ergo, Dritan (2010). "Islam in the Albanian lands (XVth-XVIIth Century)". In Schmitt, Oliver Jens (ed.). Religion und Kultur im albanischsprachigen Südosteuropa [Religion and culture in Albanian-speaking southeastern Europe]. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. p. 34. ISBN 9783631602959. ^ a b Skendi, Stavro (1967a). The Albanian national awakening. Princeton: Princeton University Press. p. 12. ISBN 9781400847761. ^ Amin, Camron Michael; Fortna, Benjamin C.; Frierson, Elizabeth Brown (21 April 2006). The modern Middle East: a sourcebook for history. Oxford University Press. p. 569. ISBN 978-0-19-926209-0. Retrieved 13 January 2011. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference Kiel52 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Elsie, Robert (ed.). "Albania in the Painting of Edward Lear (1848)". albanianart.net. ^ "Σχολή Βελεγράδων. [School of Berat]". Κάτοπρον Ελληνικής Επιστήμης και Φιλοσοφίας (University of Athens) (in Greek). Retrieved 30 October 2010. ^ Clayer, Nathalie (2007). Aux origines du nationalisme albanais: La naissance d'une nation majoritairement musulmane en Europe [The origins of Albanian nationalism: The birth of a predominantly Muslim nation in Europe]. Paris: Karthala. p. 109. ISBN 9782845868168. "Berat, au nord, en avait 10 a 15 000" ^ Koukoudis, Asterios (2003). The Vlachs: Metropolis and Diaspora. Thessaloniki: Zitros Publications. p. 358. ISBN 9789607760869. "Berat... At the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century, of the 5,000 or so Orthodox Christians in the town, some 3,000 were Vlach-speaking and the rest Albanian-speaking." ^ Biondich, Mark (2011). The Balkans: Revolution, War, and Political Violence Since 1878. Oxford University Press. p. 36. ISBN 9780199299058. ^ Skendi, Stavro. "Beginnings of Albanian Nationalist and Autonomous Trends: The Albanian League, 1878-1881Author". American Slavic and East European Review. 12: 4. JSTOR 2491677. The southern branch of the League was formed at Gjinokastër (Argyrokastro), where; Albanian leaders held a meeting at which the districts of Janina, Gjinokastër, Delvina, Përmet, Berat, Vlora (Valona), Filat, Margariti, Ajdonat, Parga, Preveza, Arta, Tepelena, Kolonja, and Korca were represented. ^ Odile, Daniel (1990). "The historical role of the Muslim community in Albania". Central Asian Survey. 9 (3): 5. doi:10.1080/02634939008400712. "20,919 Muslims and 6745 Orthodox Christians lived in the region of Berat" ^ "Prime Minister Edi Rama Speaks on Albania's History With Jewish WWII Refugees". 17 June 2020. ^ a b c Ermal Frashëri. "Framework Study - On prison system, internment and forced labor during communist regime in Albania with a focus on establishing a museum of memory in the former internment camp in Tepelena" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 July 2020. ^ Morgan 2011, pp. 106–107 ^ Fayé, Éric (1993). Kadaré, Ismail (ed.). œuvres completes: tome 1. Editions Fayard. pp. 10–25. ^ Lek Pervizi: In the Circles of hell,Album, ISKK, Tirana, 2012. ^ Lek Pervizi, Tri stinet e nje jete, Lezhe, 2017. ^ Pearson, Owen (11 July 2006). Albania in Occupation and War: From Fascism to Communism 1940-1945. I.B.Tauris. p. 399. ISBN 978-1-84511-104-5. Retrieved 13 January 2011. ^ De Soto, Hermine; Beddies, Sabine; Gedeshi, Ilir (2005). Roma and Egyptians in Albania: From social exclusion to social inclusion (PDF). Washington D.C.: World Bank Publications. p. 235. ISBN 9780821361719. ^ Koinova, Maria (2000). Roma of Albania (PDF) (Report). Center for Documentation and Information on Minorities in Europe-Southeast Europe (CEDIME-SE). p. 7. ^ Winnifrith, Tom (2002). Badlands, Borderlands: A History of Northern Epirus/Southern Albania. Duckworth. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-7156-3201-7. Berat was the seat of a Greek bishopric in medieval and modern times, and today Vlach- and even Greek-speakers can be found in the town and villages near by
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