2. Our city

Inside the buildings

The traditional houses

The traditional houses of Gjirokastra are unique and identifiable, different from other house types in Albania. The architectural composition of the houses showcases that the people of Gjirokastra approached their planning to build utilitarian dwellings. It is almost a fortified house, built both for a living but also for defence.

Gjirokastra houses can be classified into three main typologies:

  1. the perpendicular plan type (or regular rectangle);
  2. a plan including one developed wing; and
  3. a plan combining two wings of the developed plan.

In fact, it is like having a rectangular and the wings start appearing from one side or the other or both! See the two images below to get an idea:

Rectangular, simple typology of Gjirokaster
Building types of Gjirokastra: simple typology, the regular rectangle. Source© https://esg.pt/3dpast/platform/gjirokastra-berat/images/gjirokastra-tower-houses/drawings/1_simple-typology_regular-rectangle.jpg

Building types of Gjirokaster: simple to composite typologies
Building types of Gjirokastra: simple to composite typology. Source© https://esg.pt/3dpast/platform/gjirokastra-berat/images/gjirokastra-tower-houses/drawings/simple-typologies.jpg

To see all the visualized building types of Gjirokastra, visit this link at the “3D past” European Research Project’s online platform.

The Zekate house

The Zekate building is one of the most representatives of the Gjirokastra fortified house types, the kullë housesThis house has 3 wings and it is adapted to the uphill terrain. It is located in the Palorto quarter at its highest point and has also a cistern at its left-wing. Let’s have a look outside via the 3D model created by the 3D Past European Research Project and inside with a 360° virtual tour:

3D model

The Skenduli house

The Skenduli building has a cistern as well. It is famous for its developed system of stairs which you can discover via the 360° virtual tour at its inside:


  • Look at the floorplan of the Skenduli house. How many wings does the building have?