Berat is a historic town in Southern central Albania and currently has a population of about 45 thousand. In 2008, it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list, which contains 878 sites in the whole world which are considered to be of such historic interest and/or beauty and for that reason enjoy special protection.
Berat is an idyllic, picturesque little town, on all sides surrounded by mountains, lying on the right bank of the river Osum. Because of its unusual topography, it can also be accessed from the South. There is a castle on top of one of the mountains just by the old town. Berat castle was first erected in antiquity and since then it has had a turbulent past, so it has many architectural layers.
Those houses are built in high density, and due to the fact that they are located on a steep slope they look quite exotic: almost like an Asian, possibly a Tibetan settlement. In Berat, you will find a multitude of historic monuments, for example the Church of St. Mary of Vllaherna or the Church of St. Michael, both dating from the thirteenth century, and with the latter overlooking the city, as it is located outside the ramparts of the castle. Further, there is the so-called Leaden Mosque (Xhamia e Plumbit), built in 1555, which has its name due to the covering of its cupola. It is right in the center of the historic old town.
But Berat does not only live in the past: It is the capital of the County of Berat and therefor always has had significance as an administrative and trade center. Especially now, with Albania doing so well in the economy of the third millennium, Berat has turned into a boom town - a development, which is further fuelled by the fact that it is of great interest to tourists, as it combines unique historic value with splendid natural scenery. Now, with Berat having been put on the UNESCO list, it is expected to turn into a very popular travel destination. Soon the regional real-estate market will undergo significant changes, most experts predict. Berat may look paradisaical, but as of now, it is a very affordable little piece of heaven.