Fier is an important city of Albania and is located about 100 km far from Tirana. It’s well-connected with the capital thanks to an intensive transportation network. It has a population of about 85,000 inhabitants, and its location in the heart of the country allows to Fier to be the central point of the Albanian roads connecting the different areas of the country.
Around Fier there are three archaeological sites: Apollonia (12km west), Bylis and Ardenica (15km north). It can therefore be chosen as a base for exploration. Despite these sites, Fier is a young city: it was founded in the eighteenth century, and it was a small village inhabited by peasants employed by the landowner family Vrioni, which held large properties in the Myzeqe. A few years later it was built a stone bridge to connect the two banks of the river, and this led to the growth of the economy, but the real development of the city took place because of the industrialization of Albania under the Communist regime and drainage of River Gjanica after the Second World War, when the city became one of the most important in the country and the population grew rapidly, from only 2,000 inhabitants living in Fier in those days.
Here are some pictures of Fier:
Fier became a real city at the beginning of 1960, when Kahreman Pashe Vrioni, the historic landowner of the area, called some French experts to design what is now the current city.
Thanks to the advent of democracy Fier was further modernized, but it still keeps some characteristic features of its past, like the city market, which takes place every working day in the city center, where vendors offer local products. The Cathedral of Fier, built in the modern part of the city, symbolizes the rebirth of Albania after the fall of the communism. The modernization of Fier has culminated in 2007 with the construction of a large shopping center, the largest in southern Albania.
Today Fier is the third most important Albanian city from the economic point of view: state and private companies extract the oil. Fier produces an excellent olive oil and alcoholic beverages, as well as highly developed trade of meat, bread, dairy products and sugar. There’s a thriving production activity of textiles and garments.
Within the city a must visit is the historical museum of Fier, where visitors could see copies of archaeological finds in the area. Close to the site of Apollonia there is another museum, showing further finds.