All Photographs © Joakim Lloyd Raboff

This is a portfolio of photographs from the historic Berat County in Albania in the south-central part of the country and the three ancient hillside villages, Kalaja, Mangalem, and Gorica. Berat is certainly one of the most spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Sites I’ve had the wonderful privilege of photographing.

The historic Berat in Albania was founded in the 6th-5th century B.C. as an Illyrian settlement. It later became known as Antipatrea, a small castle city that expanded through the feudal domination of the Muzakaj family. Berat is located 120 km south of Tirana and is surrounded by mountains and hills. The villages with their floating windows are rare examples of an architectural character typical of the Ottoman period that still exist.

Visiting Berat during the winter or early spring is highly recommendable as the snow-capped mountains provide an amazing backdrop and there are barely any tourists in the area. Getting to Berat from Tirana is fairly straightforward. Take one of the many daily regional buses or hire a taxi. The trip takes about 2 hours on a highway with only light traffic. For more images from Albania, visit Tirana and Enver Hoxha’s Cold War Bunker.