Berat Castle (Albanian: Kalaja e Beratit), also referred to as the Citadel of Berat and the Castle District, is a fortress overlooking the city of Berat, Albania. It dates mainly from the 13th century and includes many Byzantine churches and Ottoman mosques. It is built on a rocky hill on the left bank of the Osum River and is accessible only from the south. It is located 229 meters above sea level.
Founded in the 6th century BC, the city of Berat is considered one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in Albania.
Berat has witnessed the coexistence of different religious and cultural communities over the centuries and is one of the few examples of the typical architectural character of the Ottoman period. For this Berat, like Gjirokastra, was inscribed on the UNESCO list in 2008.
After being burned down by the Romans in 200 BC, the walls were strengthened in the 5th century under the Roman emperor Theodosius II to protect them from barbarian invasions in the Balkans. They were later rebuilt in the 6th century under the emperor Justinian I and again in the 13th century under the despot of Epirus Michael I Comnenus Doukas, cousin of the Byzantine emperor Isaac II Angelos. A monogram formed by red bricks set in a wall of the castle can be seen from this last historical phase. The castle was under the rule of John Comnenus Asen in the mid-14th century. The main entrance, on the north side, is defended by a fortified courtyard and there are three smaller entrances.
Map of the castle
The fortress of Berat in its present state, although greatly damaged, presents a magnificent view. The enclosed surface made it possible to house a considerable part of the inhabitants of the cities. The buildings inside the fortress were built during the 13th century and due to their architectural characteristics they are preserved as cultural monuments. The population of the fortress was Christian and it had about 20 churches (most built in the 13th century) and a single mosque, for use by the Turkish garrison (of which only a few ruins and the base of the minaret survive). The fortress churches were damaged over the years and only a few remain.
The castle has been a protected monument with the number XX0064 since 1948.
Berat Castle is depicted on the Albanian 10 lekë coins issued in 1996, 2000 and 2013.