After exploring the history and untouched beaches of Fier, ‘Travellers’ has moved on to the intriguing outskirts of Fier and history-rich Apollonia.
Their trip started from the city of Roskovec, around a 30-minute car ride away from Fier’s city-center, during which you can take a couple of pit stops in order to visit the medieval Orthodox churches in Struma and Kurjan, the black swamp, the forest of Luari and lastly the archeological site of Apollonia.
The city of Roskovec, which was mainly developed during the communist regime, has become a very friendly spot for tourists, especially after recent urban investments. The main square is a pleasant break for whoever is planning to explore the surrounding areas.
From Roskovec, around a 10-minute drive, you can arrive at the village of Struma, where you’ll find the ruins of the Orthodox church of St. George, built in the 18th century.
This church is known for the fact that its iconography was painted by brother Gjergj and Joan Çetiri. Unfortunately, because of the destroyed roof, their work wasn’t able to resist the test of time, even though the church was reconstructed back in 1930.
The Çetiri brothers, however have given an extraordinary contribution to the culture of Myzeqe, in central Albania and one of their most well-known icons is the one depicting St George and the Dragon painted at the Monastery of Ardenica, which is currently part of the permanent collection of the National Museum of Tirana.
However, another church that has resisted quite well is the Church of St. Nicolas in Kurjan – around 15 minutes away by car – reconstructed a few years ago and is still offering the works of brothers Çetiri in great condition, as well as those of Onufri’s son, Nicolas.
The Iconostas of this medieval church is thought to have been made out of stone instead of the usual wood. At the cliff, where this church is found, the Municipality of Roskovec organized the annual “Celebrations of the Olive Tree”.
Another interesting fact about the region of Struma is the black swamp, – around 3 hectares, which hasn’t dried up because it’s below the sea level. Filled with bulrushes and water lilies, this area offers a very unique landscape. Another interesting spot worth visiting in the close by village of Luar, where you can find a forest of soft pine trees, that offers a great potential for agro-tourism.
However, the one attraction that you should definitely not miss out on while in Fier, is the famous ‘Arechological Park of Apollonia” – around a 30-minute drive from the city center.
The park is found close to the village of Pojan and it includes the symbol of Albanian archelogy, ‘Buletrion’ – a colonnade of an institution that used to be part of the ancient city of Apollonia, – the two theaters of antiquity, the Hellenistic boardwalk and the archelolgical museum at the Medieval Monastery ‘St. Mary’s Sleep’ or Fjetja e Shën Mërisë.
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