Borsh Castle (Kalaja e Borshit) is a fortification on the hill next to the village of Borsh. The total area occupies 5 hectares of land which is marked with large stone blocks of up to 3 meters wide. Although large parts of the castle have been destroyed, the entrance gate and large parts of the fortification walls remain, as well as a mosque next to the entrance. From the castle you have an amazing view over Borsh and its beach to one side, and Borsh River and the mountains on the other side.
History Of Borsh Castle
The first habitation dates back to the 4th century BC, the time of the Epirote tribe of the Chaonians. The castle is thought to have been built out over 4 subsequent phases, during the Byzantine period and the Middle Ages. In medieval times, the castle was referred to as Sopot Castle.
The earliest written documentation of Borsh Castle dates back to early 13th century, when archbishop Demetrios Chomatenos wrote about the “archonship of Sopotos”. The castle has changed hands many times over the centuries, causing devere damage to the structure. When the the castle fell into Ottoman hands in the 15th century, a deep restoration took place and the Haxhi Bendo Mosque was added. The mosque was named after Haxhi Bendo Vasil, who was born in Borsh and serviced under the Ottoman ruler Ali Pasha of Tepelena.
During the ban on religion in the communist era, the mosque was severely damaged and part of the minaret went missing. Unfortunately no attempts have been made yet for a restoration of the castle and its mosque.
How To Get To Borsh Castle
Borsh Castle is located in the Albanian Riviera, on a hill behind the town of Borsh. The best way to reach the castle is by car. From the main coastal road SH8, a narrow, but newly asphalted road leads up to the hill. You’ll need to walk the last part, which consists of a zigzagging cobblestone path, which takes about 5-10 minutes. If you don’t have transportation you can also easily hike up all the way from the village of Borsh.
To get from Saranda to Borsh, you can take a direct minibus or any bus in the direction of Himara, Dhermi or Vlora to be dropped off in Borsh. You can also rent a car or book a tour that includes a visit to Borsh Castle.
Tips For Visiting Borsh Castle
There is no entrance fee for visiting the castle, but there are also no facilities. So make sure to make a pit stop in the village first and bring enough water, especially on hot summer days. It’s also a great idea to bring some food or snacks for a lunch break with an amazing view from the hill.
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