Vlorë County

Vlorë County
Qarku Vlorë
Clockwise from top: Sarandë, Ksamil Islands, Ksamil waters, Gjiri i Skalomës, Dhermi, Ancient Butrint, Gjipe Canyon, Dhermi Church, Windstar Cruise in Port of Sarandë and the Butrint National Park.


Location of Vlorë County within Albania.
Coordinates: 40°10′N 19°45′E / 40.167°N 19.750°E / 40.167; 19.750Coordinates: 40°10′N 19°45′E / 40.167°N 19.750°E / 40.167; 19.750
Country  Albania
Municipalities 7
Villages 197
Established 2000
County Seat Vlorë
  Council Chairman Sadrit Danaj
  Total 2,706 km2 (1,045 sq mi)
Population (2011 census)
  Total 175,640
  Density 65/km2 (170/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
NUTS Code AL035
Website Official Website

Vlorë County is a county in south Albania. The Vlorë County borders on the Fier County in the northwest, Gjirokastër County in the east and the Ionian Sea in the west.

The port city Vlorë is the capital of Vlorë County. It is where the Albanian Declaration of Independence was proclaimed on November 28, 1912.

Sarandë is one of the most important tourist attractions of the Albanian Riviera. It is situated on an open sea gulf of the Ionian Sea in the central Mediterranean, about 14 km (8.7 mi) east of the north end of the Greek island of Corfu.

The Butrint National Park, Llogara National Park and Karaburun Sazan National Marine Park are located in Vlorë County.

The ancient city of Butrint is an archeological site in Vlorë County, some 14 kilometres south of Sarandë. It is located on a hill overlooking the Vivari Channel and is part of the Butrint National Park.


The modern name for the city is the Albanian form Vlorë or Vlora, both pronounced [ˈvlɔɾə], while in the Gheg dialect it is known as Vlonë, Vlona.[1] Vlorë was created in antiquity as a Greek colony in the territory of Illyria. Its first name was Aulón (Greek: Αυλών, also the name in modern Katharevousa), meaning "channel" or "glen" and possibly a translation of another indigenous name.[2] In Latin the name is known as Aulona, a Latinization of the Ancient Greek name. The medieval and modern Greek name is Αυλώνας /av'lonas/, accusative Αυλώνα /av'lona/, and is the source of the Italian name Valona (also used in other languages) and of the obsolete English Avlona.[3][4] During the Ottoman era, the Turkish Avlonya was also used.[5]


In antiquity the region was inhabited by the Greek tribe of the Chaonians. The Ancient Greeks developed the town of Sarandë which they referred to as Onchesmos (or Anchiasmos)[6][7][8] Onchesmos flourished as the port of the Chaonian capital of Phoenice[9][10] (modern-day Finiq). Further north another Chaonian settlement was founded, Himarë,[11] while the Corinthians found the colony of Aulon at the bay of Vlorë. Additional ancient settlements in the region included Thronium, Amantia, Oricum.

In the Middle Ages, the region was part of the Byzantine Empire, while during the Slavic invasion there is evidence the Byzantine rule was maintained in the area.[12]

In 1204 the region became part of the Despotate of Epirus but returned to the Byzantine Empire. In 1335 Albanian tribes descended south and were in possession of the area between Berat and the bay of Vlore,[13] while in 1345 after the Serbian invasion an independent principality was formed in Vlorë.

In the middle of the 14th century the aristocratic Delvina family ruled Delvinë and in 1354, Mehmet Ali Pasha Delvina was testified as the owner of the castle and the city.


Vlorë County is located in the south of Albania and forms the Albanian Riviera. The southeastern part of the county borders Greece. The county has a total area of 2,706 km2 (1,044.8 sq mi).[14] The three main cities are Vlorë, Sarandë and Delvinë.

Vlorë County is located in south Albania. It borders to the Ionian Sea in the west. The climate is Mediterranean.

In Vlorë there are five islands located. The Ksamil Islands are four small islands located in Vlorë. The combined areas of the four Ksamili islands is only 7.1 hectares (17.5 acres) and form part of the larger Butrint National Park.[15]

Sazan Island is strategically located between the Strait of Otranto and the entrance to the Bay of Vlorë and has an area of 5.7 km2 (2.2 sq mi) with no civil population. In addition to being the largest island in Albania, it is a military facility and sometimes in clear weather it may be seen by eye from the coast of Salento, Italy. More than half of the island's surrounding marine area forms part of the Karaburun-Sazan National Marine Park.[16]

Stillo Island is rocky and sparsely vegetated. It has an area of half an hectare, with an approximate length of 80 meters and a width of 100 meters. It is located in the Ionian Sea, 200 meters off the coast of Cape Stillo.

Tongo Island is a rocky island, and its waters are rich in aquatic life. The island is situated about 300 metres (984 feet) off the Greek coast. It has an area of 2.5 hectares (6.2 acres).

Zvernec Islands are two islands located in Narta Lagoon. The Big Zvërnec Island is nearly all covered with tall pine trees and is connected to the mainland by a 270m long wooden bridge. It is 430m in length and 300m in width. It has an area of around 8.8 hectares. The Small Zvërnec Island is less important and much smaller than the Big Zvërnec Island. It has a smaller vegetation, it is 230 m in length and 100 m in width and has an area of little more than 1 hectares.

Administrative divisions

Until 2000, Vlorë County was subdivided into three districts: Delvinë, Sarandë, and Vlorë. Since the 2015 local government reform, the county consists of the following 7 municipalities: Delvinë, Finiq, Himarë, Konispol, Sarandë, Selenicë and Vlorë.[17] Before 2015, it consisted of the following 26 municipalities:

The municipalities consist of about 200 towns and villages in total. See Villages of Vlorë County for a structured list.


According to the last national census from 2011 this county has 175,640 inhabitants.[14] The census results, have been widely disputed due to irregularities in the procedure and affected by boycott.[18][19][20] It counted the following numbers in the county per ethnic group:[14]


Windstar Star Breeze in Sarandë.

Vlorë remains a major seaport and commercial centre, with a significant fishing and industrial sector. The surrounding region produces petroleum, natural gas, bitumen and salt. The city is also the location of important installations of the Albanian Navy. Vlorë has grown in importance as an agricultural center with very large-scale planting of olive and fruit trees, and as a center of the food processing, oil and bitumen export industries. The surrounding district is mainly agricultural and pastoral, producing oats, maize, cotton, olive oil, cattle, sheep, skins, hides and butter. These commodities are exported. According to the World Bank, Vlorë has made significant steps of starting a business in 2016. Vlorë ranks 7 among 22 cities in Southeastern Europe[21] before the capital Tirana, Belgrade, Serbia and Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Tourism in Vlora Bay

Tourism has become a major industry in recent years, with many hotels, recreational centers, and vast beaches.

In Sarandë, tourism is the main driver of the economy. It is a significant tourist destination on the Ionian Sea, and by far one of the most popular destination in Albania.

It's a prosperous region with varied attractions, plants and mountains, rivers and lakes, springs and virgin beaches, citrus plantations, olive groves and vineyards, pastures and woods, fish and shellfish farming, desirable hunting places. In short, the right place for the development of tourism. Saranda's stony beaches are quite decent and there are plenty of sights in and around town, including the mesmerising ancient archaeological site of Butrint and the hypnotic Blue Eye Spring.


  1. The New Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica. 1974. p. 479. ISBN 0-85229-290-2.
  2. google book reference: Placenames of the World: Origins and Meanings of the Names for 6,600 Countries, Cities, Territories, Natural Features, and Historic Sites By Adrian Room Published by McFarland, 2005, ISBN 978-0-7864-2248-7, 433 pages.
  3. " Baynes, T.S., ed. (1875–1889). "Avlona". Encyclopædia Britannica (9th ed.)." in the Encyclopædia Britannica, 9th ed. 1878.
  4. Chisholm 1911, pp. 65–66
  5. Gawrych, G. W. (2006). The crescent and the eagle: Ottoman rule, Islam and the Albanians, 1874-1913. I.B.Tauris. p. 23. ISBN 978-1-84511-287-5. Google Book Search. Retrieved on August 25, 2009.
  6. Strabo, The Geography, Book VII, Chapter 7.5: "...these mountains one comes to Onchesmus, another harbor, opposite which lie the western extremities of Corcyraea."
  7. Bowden, William. Epirus Vetus: The Archaeology of a Late Antique Province. London: Duckworth, 2003, ISBN 0-7156-3116-0, p. 14. "Anchiasmos (Onchesmos)"
  8. Hodges, Richard. Saranda - Ancient Onchesmos: A Short History and Guide. Butrint Foundation, 2007. ISBN 99943-943-6-3
  9. Talbert, Richard J.A. and Bagnall, Roger S. Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World, 2000, p. 815. "harbor, cape or town in Epirus between Onchesmos and Bouthroton."
  10. Eidinow, Esther. Oracles, Curses, and Risk Among the Ancient Greeks. Oxford University Press, 2007. ISBN 0-19-927778-8 "Onchesmos was the principal port of Phoinike, the capital of Chaonia,..."
  11. An Inventory of Archaic and Classical Poleis: An Investigation Conducted by The Copenhagen Polis Centre for the Danish National Research Foundation by Mogens Herman Hansen, 2005, page 340.
  12. Winnifrith Tom. Shattered eagles, Balkan fragments. Duckworth, 1995, ISBN 978-0-7156-2635-1, p. 102
  13. Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière Hammond. Migrations and invasions in Greece and adjacent areas. Noyes Press, 1976, ISBN 978-0-8155-5047-1, p. 61 "By 1335 they were in possession also of the area between Berat and the Gulf of Valona"
  14. 1 2 3 2011 census results
  15. National Tourism Agency. "Albanian Nature and Active Holidays" (PDF). Republic of Albania. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  16. Proclamation of Karaburun-Sazan as National Marine Park, April 2010
  17. Law nr. 115/2014
  18. "Final census findings lead to concerns over accuracy". Tirana Times. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
  19. Likmeta, Besar. "Albania Moves Ahead With Disputed Census". Balkaninsight. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
  20. "Three Albanian journalists awarded with "World at 7 Billion Prize"". United Nations (Albania). Retrieved 26 May 2014. ...the controversial CENSUS data
  21. http://www.doingbusiness.org/Rankings/south-east-europe

Further reading

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