Berat is a town located in south-central Albania and the capital of both the District of Berat and the larger County of Berat. The town has an estimated population of around 71,000 inhaitants (2009). In July 2008, the old town (Mangalem district) was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Berat lies on the right bank of the river Osum, a short distance from the junction point with the Molisht river. It has a wealth of beautiful buildings of high architectural and historical interest. The town is still renowned for its architecture and scenic beauty and is known as the "Town of a Thousand Windows", due to the many large windows of the old decorated houses overlooking the town. The Citadel overlooks the river and the modern city as well as the old Christian quarter across the river. It is a well preserved area containing narrow streets, Turkish houses and Orthodox churches.
Berat Castle is built on a rocky hill on the left bank of the river Osum and is accessible only from the south. After being burned down by the Romans in 200 BC the walls were strengthened in the 5th century under Byzantine Emperor Theodosius II, and were rebuilt during the 6th century under the Emperor Justinian I and again in the 13th century under the Despot of Epirus, Michael Komnenos Doukas, cousin of the Byzantine Emperor.
At its height, in medieval period, there were more than 30 churches inside the Castel, today only 10 are left. The earliest churches date mainly from the 13th and 14th centuries, while the dwelling houses generally belong to the 18th and 19th centuries. The Church of St. Mary of Blachernae dating from the 13th century, hosts 16th century mural paintings by Nikollë Onufri.
Other remarkable buildings to visit are the Lead Mosque (Xhamia e Plumbit), built in 1555 and so called from the covering of its cupola and the Halveti Tekke a social and religious complex that includes the King’s Mosque, the Han of the Dervishes and the Teke of Sheh Qerim.
CHERPLAN Pilot Site: Core town— Iconographic Onufri Museum and Ethnographic museum
Pilot Activities: Design of Fire rescue system and security system; design of tourist street signages for both museums; feasibility study for the creation of an “artisans incubator” in the historic center .