Gjirokastra is a city in southern Albania, on a valley between the Gjerë mountains and the Drino, at 300 metres above sea level. Its old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, described as "a rare example of a well-preserved Ottoman town, built by farmers of large estate". The city is overlooked by Gjirokastër Fortress, where the Gjirokastër National Folklore Festival is held every five years. It is the birthplace of former Albanian communist leader Enver Hoxha and notable writer Ismail Kadare.
The city appears in the historical record dating back in (Phone number hidden by Airbnb) by its Greek name, Αργυρόκαστρο - Argyrokastro, as part of the Byzantine Empire. It became part of the Orthodox Christian doecese of Dryinoupolis and Argyrokastro after the destruction of nearby Adrianoupolis. Gjirokastër later was contested between the Despotate of Epirusand the Albanian clan of John Zenevisi before falling under Ottoman rule for the next five centuries (Phone number hidden by Airbnb) Throughout the Ottoman era Gjirokastër was officially known in Ottoman Turkish as Ergiri and also Ergiri Kasrı. During the Ottoman period conversions to Islam and an influx of Muslim converts from the surrounding countryside made Gjirokastër go from being an overwhelmingly Christian city in the 16th century into one with a large Muslim population by the early 19th century. Gjirokastër also became a major religious centre for Bektashi Sufism. Taken by the Hellenic Army during the Balkan Wars of (Phone number hidden by Airbnb) 3 on account of its large Greek population, it was eventually incorporated into the newly independent state of Albania in (Phone number hidden by Airbnb) This proved highly unpopular with the local Greek population, who rebelled; after several months of guerrilla warfare, the short-lived Autonomous Republic of Northern Epiruswas established in (Phone number hidden by Airbnb) with Gjirokastër as its capital. It was definitively awarded to Albania in (Phone number hidden by Airbnb) In more recent years, the city witnessed anti-government protests that lead to the Albanian civil war of (Phone number hidden by Airbnb)
Along with Muslim and Orthodox Albanians, the city is also home to a substantial Greek minority. The city together with Sarandë is considered one of the centers of the Greek community in Albania, and there is a consulate of Greece.