Although inhabited for at least ten millennia, Albania is today one of Europe's "undiscovered" countries. Ruled by a communist regime from the end of World War II until 1990, Albania became isolated within Europe, yet its strategic position on the Adriatic Sea has attracted settlers and invaders since antiquity. Ancient Greeks founded colonies on its shore from the 7th century BC; the Romans made it a province, later becoming a Byzantine and Ottoman territory; and in the early 20th century, it was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and under the domination of Italy and Germany.
Possessing pristine natural beauty, important archaeological sites, and towns sited in exquisite locations that have remained unchanged through the centuries, coupled with much improved infrastructure, Albania has begun to draw the attention of travelers. Our exploration of the country will begin in the bustling capital of Tirana and includes Albania's most significant places. We will visit the impressive archaeological sites of Apollonia and Butrint and tour the picturesque towns of Berati and Gjirokastra, both UNESCO World Heritage sites. Crossing into northern Greece, we will view the fantastic Vikos Gorge, likened to the Grand Canyon, and enjoy time in the attractive lake-front university town of Ioannina, from where we visit the ancient site of Dodoni and awe-inspiring monasteries of Meteora, built atop rocky outcroppings, seemingly in "mid-air."
On this Yale journey, be among the first to discover this corner of Europe that was an important crossroads of cultures, but today remains outside the main travel destinations of the continent.