Gjirokastër and the Blue Eye



May 14, 2015

In Tirana I met a young man who bragged that he had taken a swim in the Blue Eye.  Since I was heading in that direction, I decided to visit the Blue Eye and see what the fuss is all about.  Maybe I’d be able to make the same boast as my young friend.

The Blue Eye is a spring and a popular tourist attraction.  Water bubbles up from at least 50m below ground and forms a circular pattern on the surface of the pool.  Concentric circles of clear water display a variety of blue colors. A black spot in the middle of the pool is its "pupil."

The cold water rushes down a stream to feed a river that flows southwest to the Ionian Sea.

Unfortunately, I left my bathing suit in the car, so …..

In the nearby town of Gjirokastër, a UNESCO World Heritage site, I can boast about my breathless climb to the uppermost ramparts of the Gjirokastër Castle, more than 300m, one of the largest fortresses in The Balkans.  Imagine the view of the town below and the distant mountains!

Inside the castle there’s a museum of modern weapons that were used by the Albanian resistance fighters against the German invaders.  Also on display is a US Air Force T-33A Shooting Star jet fighter plane that was shot down by the Communist regime some years ago.  The Albanians at that time were quite proud of their defiance of the Western “imperialist powers.”

Albanians now have a surprisingly different attitude about America.  The "Stars and Stripes" are on display in many locations.    

So, may I recommend you take a swim or take a hike, preferably in a place you’ve never heard of before?  You’ll be surprised at what you find.



For a few facts about the Blue Eye, read this:



For interesting tales about the Blue Eye, read this:



For the Fortress and the Airplane, read this:


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