castles everywhere...

Inside the fortress on the hilltop of Berat.

Albania has its share of old stoneworks. The site of this castle was first fortified in the 4th century BC, then occupied by successive forces thoughout its long history.

At its peak, the citadel was a Christian outpost and housed 42 churches. When Berat came under Ottoman control in the 15th century, a couple of stone mosques were added to the panoply. You can't meander too far in any direction up here without stubbing your toe on something once held sacred.

This is a "living castle", meaning it is still occupied to this day. We bought some fig jam and hand-knit wool socks from one of the residents. Eight of the old stone churches up here still remain active.

The cannon lying on the ground at the right of the image is said to date from 1684, originally from an English maker. It is sometimes still used to this day, blasting foreign tourists who forget to pay their entrance fee. Our own head wounds were rather serious, and the bits of shrapnel in our legs continues to be bothersome.

Albania, October 2011.

Kodak Medalist, 100mm f/3.5 Ektar (1945), Ilford HP5.