Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Durrės (Albanian: Durrės or Durrėsi) is the most ancient city of Albania and one of the most economically important as the biggest port city. It is located at 41.33°N, 19.45°E and has a population of around 114,000 (2003 estimate). The city and its harbour is located on the eastern side of the Adriatic Sea. The beaches of Durrės are local hotspots for many Albanians and are an important part of tourism in Albania.
During much of Antiquity the city was known as Epidamnos' and later the Romans popularized the name Dyrrachium due mainly to the fact that Epidamnos was unfamiliar to their ears. Earlier on ancient philosopher Aristotle had praised the cities political system.
In the Middle Ages Dyrrhachium was an important Byzantine port, and a major link between the empire and western Europe. In the 11th and 12th centuries it was subject to attack by the Normans of Sicily; Robert Guiscard captured it from Alexius I Comnenus in 1081 (see Battle of Dyrrhachium (1081)), and Robert's son Bohemund of Taranto was defeated there in 1107.
Durrės was an active city in the Albanian national liberation movement in the periods 1878-1881 and 1910-1912. Ismail Qemali raised the Albanian flag on November 26, 1912 but the city was captured by the Serbs three days later. The Serbs stayed in Durrės until 1913. On March 7, 1913, Durrės became the capital of Albania, until 1920 when the capital was changed to Tirana.
During the rule of king Zog, the city experienced an economic boom due to Italian investments. An earthquake in 1926 damaged some of the city, and the rebuilding that followed gave the city its more modern appearance.
After World War II the city experienced another period of growth and became more industrialized.
Some important buildings in Durrės include the main library, the cultural center with the Aleksander Moisiu theater, the Estrada Theater , the puppet theater, the philharmonic orchestra, etc. There are also several museums such as the Archaeological Museum and the Museum of History.
The city's beaches are also a very active point for many foreign and local tourists. Many Albanians from Tirana spend their summer vacations on the beaches of Durrės. Due to the recent construction of a highway linking Tirana and Durrės, the travel time is approximately only 30 minutes.
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