The Castle of Bashtova

Photo by Roman Bruehwiler.

The Castle of Bashtova is part of the Tentative list of Albania in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.

The Castle of Bashtova is a medieval fortress from the Venetian Period. It was erected against attacks from the Ottoman Empire. It is a 60x90m rectangular structure with 9m high walls and 12m high round towers.

Map of The Castle of Bashtova

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The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.

Community Reviews

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Malta - 10-Oct-22 -

The Castle of Bashtova (T) by Clyde

I visited this tWHS in 2022 as a short detour en route between Durres and Berat. It really is nothing more than a large square fortress/castle with already collapsed or collapsing circular towers at each corner.

Although there are small signs clearly prohibiting it, several locals drive right through it mostly to take wedding, engagement, general photos. The only modern structure just by it is a caravan site and small cafeteria. Climbing the walls is still allowed at your own risk but it doesn't add much apart from a different angle/perspective. I don't think that the site has any OUV to make it on the WH list and if you're pressed for time, I would suggest skipping it, definitely not worth sacrificing a lot of time from the Berat WHS. As Solivagant wrote in his review, sometimes there are events with a stage and seats installed within the castle grounds, creating lots of traffic as there are only a couple of parking spaces for cars. As of yet, entrance is still free and there is no information centre nearby. Best bet is to keep your eyes peeled at the National History Museum in the capital city Tirana for the few remains and information on this site, already in itself an indication of how poor the site's chances for inscription are.


UK - 30-May-18 -

The Castle of Bashtova (T) by Solivagant

Albania is a country which seems to “dribble” in additions to its T List, unlike others which have wholesale revisions every 10 years or so. In 2017 Bashotva Castle was added – could this mean that nomination activity might soon follow? It sits only around 15kms off the Berat - Durres highway so we decided to take it in as we passed nearby in Apr 2018.

Well there is nothing really to write about! There were no entry "barriers", no fees, no "tourist paraphernalia" such as interpretation boards, and no other people ... anywhere near! It is a very large and empty square shell of 4 walls (photo of 1 "corner"). It was built by the Venetians in the 15th Century (possibly over earlier fortifications) and its current main claim to fame seems to be that it lies in a flat area of land near to the Shkumbini River estuary – whereas most castles in Albania are built at the top of rocky crags. When built, it might have been more able to make use of water as a defensive element but subsequent sedimentation and river movements have left it "high and dry". So the T List description states that “The special feature about Bashtova castle, is that it is the only Castle in the Balkans built on a field.”!  That would not surely be enough to give it OUV even as an addition to the existing “Venetian Works of Defence”. 

My Web searches have thrown up some surprising facts about the castle and its current uses and plans – none of which would seem to support its possible future inscription!

It appears that Bashotva Castle has, since 2009, been the subject of a “Revitalisation Project”. See -  “Heritage for development in South East Europe”. Activities arising from this have included holding a music/culture festival, offering to lease it to private bidders for a period of 20 years, holding the Miss Albania Beauty Pageant in 2012, featuring it at the 2012 Venice Architecture Bienniale and, in conjunction with UNESCO and IMC (International Monuments of Culture), issuing requests for possible projects for future use. Only 3 submissions emerged and none was regarded as of “sufficient quality” - this one proposed turning it into a solar plant and “multi-functional space.”!!!!

How all this fits in with adding it to Albania’s T List is unclear - perhaps placing it there was aimed at raising its profile for a totally different final conclusion than “Inscription”. It is perhaps also indicative of the number of “unlikely” sites which have been placed on the T List. Whatever - Albania seems to be “stuck” with a castle in a field which it doesn’t know what to do with! Any offers?

Full Name
The Castle of Bashtova
Structure - Military and Fortifications
2017 Added to Tentative List

Unesco Website: The Castle of Bashtova

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The Castle of Bashtova (T)
WHS 1997-2024