Top 5 Souvenirs Worth Buying in Albania
Albania is a unique country that can amaze even the most experienced traveler. In addition to its fantastically beautiful coastline and mountain ranges, Albania is home to three architectural complexes that are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Here you can see Roman baths and the largest amphitheater from the 2nd century AD in the entire Balkans, the medieval city of Kruja, Venetian fortresses, the museum city of Berat, the 'city of a thousand windows' which has existed for over 2400 years, and many artifacts from various eras.
A journey to Albania will certainly become a treasure trove of your favorite memories. And if you want to keep something tangible as a memento or bring a piece of Albania as a gift to your loved ones, you'll need some hints. Today, we have prepared a list of souvenirs that are worth considering when choosing something memorable about the country known as the 'last enigma of Europe.'
Raki is a traditional Albanian drink also known as the 'fiery spirit of the Balkans.' It is traditionally made from the best grape varieties. The first mentions of Raki date back to the 14th century, along with records of its distillation. During the Ottoman Empire rule, despite the ban on alcohol consumption, Raki continued to gain popularity among the common people. And even today, this strong beverage with pronounced fruity notes remains quite popular.
Handwoven Rug is a traditional Albanian craft widely practiced in the northern city of Kukes. Local women pass down the secrets of creating marvelous handmade rugs from generation to generation. Albanian rugs are known for their vibrant, juicy colors and diverse patterns. Such a rug will undoubtedly become an authentic and unique gift and a striking element in any interior. Although the tradition of rug-making in Albania has a long history, the first major factory here was established only in 1951. Mass production led to the trend of Albanian rugs, and now they can be found in almost every home in Albania. You can purchase these rugs in souvenir shops or directly from the manufacturers.
Coffee is an integral part of Albanian culture, and for the locals, it's more than just a daily ritual. They enjoy experimenting with roasting methods and often drink coffee without additives - classic espresso or Turkish-style. The latter is often referred to as 'Balkan' since this preparation method is typical for the region. Traditionally, coffee here is strong and rich. You can find it in any town in the country; all you need to do is visit a coffee shop that grinds and sells coffee. Usually, you'll find options for beans, roasting machines, and grinding. Freshly ground coffee or a package of just-roasted beans will undoubtedly make an excellent gift.
Bunker Ashtray can be an interesting souvenir to remember Albania by. During the dictatorship of Enver Hoxha, around 700,000 bunkers were built in Albania, as the leader believed the country would face war. Fortunately, the bunkers were not needed, and after the fall of the totalitarian regime, only 150,000 remained. Over the years, they have been transformed into cafes, shops, and even tattoo parlors. The most famous ones have become museums called "Bunk 'Art" and "Bunk 'Art 2." It's there that after a tour, you can buy your own miniature bunker, such as an ashtray, in various colors and sizes.
Bedunica Honey is an incredibly delicious Albanian honey from the Bedunica flower, which grows in the mountainous regions of southern Albania. It is believed that this honey is produced by the Carniolan honeybee subspecies, characterized by a dark brown-gray body with light brown stripes. Bedunica honey is called 'late' because the flowering period of the Bedunica flower falls in the middle of August, and honey collection begins in October. Local residents use this honey not only for culinary purposes but also for medicinal ones, believing it has healing properties.