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Elbasan is a city in central Albania. It is located on the Shkumbin River in the District of Elbasan and the County of Elbasan, at 41°06′N, 20°04′E. It is one of the largest cities in Albania, with a population of around 100,000 (2003 estimate) and an area of 1,290 km².

Elbasan was - until the beginning of the Second World War - one of the most pleasant and unspoilt Ottoman cities in Albania, with a mixture of eastern and medieval buildings, narrow cobbled streets and a large bazaar where Turkish could still be heard. There was a clearly defined Christian settlement within the castle walls, a Vlach district on the outskirts of the city and several fine mosques and Islamic buildings. At the time the population was about 15,000 people.


Castle of ElbasanThe castle and its surrounding walls speak of the military significance of Elbasan in the early Ottoman period. The southern wall, more or less intact, is proof of the dimensions and the strength of fortifications. Some of the materials from Roman and Byzantine periods were reused during the reconstruction of the castle by Sultan Mehmet II, as seen especially in the foundations of the south-western tower.

The castle used to have 26 towers, equidistant from each other, along the whole length of the 9 metre high wall. The fortress includes part of Via Egnatia, which runs through it, and traditional buildings with the characteristic architecture of urban dwellings, as well as other monuments.

Kalaja_e_Elbasanit1Sinan Pasha's Turkish bath is situated within the walls of the castle. It is a well preserved attraction built in the early 19th century.


Elbasan Thermal Waters
These waters have quite high temperatures averaging 52-58ºC. They contain 600-700 mg. of minerals and 400 mg. sulphuric gas of high radioactivity. The spas are located 12 km from Elbasan in the Tregan commune. They were first developed by the Italians in the 1930s in order to treat rheumatism and skin diseases. Now there are two hotels with about 280 beds that cater to clients that need to use the thermal waters. It is an ideal place for heath tourism.

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