The Cathedral of the Resurrection is the Albanian Orthodox Cathedral of Korçë. An old cathedral, dedicated to St. George, was destroyed by the communist regime between 1967 and 1970. The present building is a reconstruction completed in 1992. It is painted in pink, blue, and brown and its interior is dominated by a large wooden iconostasis.
While the religion of the majority of Albanians is Islam, Christianity comes in second, including both Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism. The territory of modern Albania has been influenced throughout history by both the Byzantine empire as well as Italian kingdoms and republics, both of whom spread their respective forms of Christianity and left their marks on the religious heritage landscape. A large number of these sites have faced destruction throughout the years, particularly during the Communist regime of the 20th century, but many still remain. We've put together a list of some of the top churches and cathedrals that can be found across the beautiful landscape of Albania.
The Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos, Labovë e Kryqit is one of the oldest in Albania. The building is typically Byzantine with a high central dome and a cross plan. The main entrance to the church is through a newer narthex. There are at least 9 distinct levels of frescoes painted on the surface of the interior walls. The church, as we see it today, dates mainly from the 13th century, from the time of the Despotate of Epirus, although a first foundation is dated to the time of Emperor Justinian in the years 527-565 e.j.
The Marmiroi Church was first mentioned in 1307, but it is believed to have been built much earlier, possibly in the 12th century. It is likely that this church once belonged to a monastery and that it served as a model for the construction of the church of the monastery of Saint Mary of Zvërnec. From 1971, the church, which was in a dilapidated state, and has since been restored.
The Church of the Holy Trinity is a medieval Byzantine church and one of the cultural monuments that make up the historic centres of Berat and Gjirokastra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The church is believed to have been built in the 13th or 14th century.
The Church of the Sacred Heart of Christ is one of the three Catholic churches in the city dating from the pre-communist era. The Jesuit Church of the Sacred Heart was built from 1938 to 1939 on a basilica plan. It was designed by the architect Giovanni Santi in a neo-Romanesque style. In 1967, during the communist period, the church was closed and transformed into a cinema; the façade was then hidden in order to conceal the religious function of the building, and the frescoes were removed. However, the Catholic faithful used to come here to pray in secret. The church regained its religious function after the fall of the communist regime but lost its status as the city's main Catholic church with the construction of St. Paul's Cathedral in 2002.
The Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ is the Albanian Orthodox Cathedral in Tirana. The original building was built in 1865 on the present Scanderbeg Square and was closed for worship in 1967, during the communist period. During these years, the old cathedral was completely destroyed by the communist regime and the Hotel International Tirana was built in its place. In 2012, after about ten years of work, the new cathedral was completed. It is the third-largest Orthodox church in Europe.
St. Paul's Cathedral is the Catholic Cathedral of Tirana. Built between 1994 and 2002, the cathedral is dedicated to the apostle St. Paul, who is said to have founded the Christian community of Durrës. St. Paul's Cathedral replaces the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Tirana as the seat of the archdiocese. The land of the cathedral was donated by the Albanian state to the Catholic Church during the visit of Pope John Paul II to Albania in 1993. When the new archdiocese was established in 1992, the cathedral was transferred from Durrës to Tirana.
Shkodër Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral dedicated to St. Stephen, built between 1858 and 1867. It was not until 1890 that the bell tower was completed and equipped with three bells, bought in Venice by the philanthropists Filip Parruca and the brothers Mark and Pjetër Pema. With the Cultural Revolution of 1967, the Cathedral was transformed into a Sports Palace.
The Cathedral of the Nativity of Jesus is the Albanian Orthodox Cathedral of Shkodër. The building was completed in 2000, near the site of a wooden church, which was severely damaged by an attack in August 1998. The present stone building consists of a large nave with several domes and a bell tower separate from the main body.