Ottoman bridges in Gjirokaster: Ali Pasha and Kordhoca

Famous for its cobblestones and castle, strategically positioned to overlook an important road along the river valley, Gjirokaster was ruled by the Ottoman Empire for 6 centuries. During that time, the city underwent various changes and adaptations, so while walking through the stone streets, you will notice a completely different style of building houses, as well as numerous architectural treasures that speak of its legendary past.

Two such cultural diamonds that contributed to its development at that time, and are located at two different ends of the city, are the Ottoman bridges Ali Pasha and Kordhoca.

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Kordhoce Bridge, Gjirokaster, Photo: Dbajurin, Depositphotos

 

ALI PASHA BRIDGE

Built at the foot of the Sopot mountain in the northern part of the city, this bridge was built in the 19th century for the needs of a large aqueduct system as long as 12 kilometers that brought water to the city. It was built by Ali Pasha of Tepelena, a powerful Turkish leader known for simultaneously upgrading the castle to its current grandeur.

While a significant part of the aqueduct was destroyed in 1932, this remaining part, which is hidden in the embrace of nature, has survived to this day and bears witness to that time.

The Ali Pasha bridge is 16 meters high, 40 meters long, and 2.3 meters wide.

 

Ali Pasha Bridge, Gjirokaster, Photo: Darkdriver, Depositphotos

 

The Ali Pasha Bridge can only be reached by a hiking trail and requires approximately 30 minutes of walking, but it is worth the effort. In addition to experiencing a piece of history, the nature that surrounds it will truly give you rest for your soul.

What’s even more interesting is that we discovered that from the canyon in which this bridge is hidden, you can enjoy a beautiful viewpoint with a panoramic display of the castle and the entire valley.

 

 

KORDHOCA BRIDGE

While Ali Pasha’s bridge served one purpose, Kordhoca served another: it connected the three cities of Gjirokaster, Libohova, and Ioannina. This bridge stands out as one of the most significant buildings from the Ottoman period in Epirus.

Located approximately two kilometers south of the city, the Kordhoca Bridge was built around 1820 across the Drim River. It is about 7 meters high, 20 meters wide, and 3.7 meters wide.

Noteworthy for its outstanding aesthetic appeal and distinct Ottoman architectural style characterized by its arches, the bridge has also attracted attention in the past as a great location for filming movies.

 

Kordhoce Bridge, Gjirokaster, Photo: Dbajurin, Depositphotos

 

The bridge can be reached very easily. As you drive along the SH4 road towards the village of Kordhocë, you will see a petrol station and a cafe by the side of the road. The bridge is hidden in the vegetation, so you will have to park here and walk to it to fully experience it!

 

 

 

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Once I saw that there was a bigger world out there, so I made myself be a part of it.

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