Built in the center of the city of Berat, the grandiose Bridge of Gorica, one of the most beautiful Ottoman bridges in the Balkan region, connects the city with the neighborhood of the same name. This bridge owes much of its beauty to its very gradual arch, extending ever so elegantly over the bridge’s length of 130 meters and 10 meter height, concluding on both sides of the Osumi riverbed. Composed of a total of seven arches, wooden railings, and several small “windows,” the latter giving the arches whimsical facial features, this bridge is indeed a rare sight. Once spotted, you will find yourself stopping your car by the side of the road in order to admire its beauty close up.
Similar to several of Albania’s most famous monuments, a legend surrounds this bridge as well. It involves a young woman buried alive inside the bridge in order to ensure that its foundations will stand. Especially proud of having this famous landmark among them, the locals are happy to give illustrious details as to why this bridge is such a rare work of art! And scholars seem to agree, knowing all too well the historical significance it holds but also admiring its original design, its equally modern yet traditional architecture. The bridge has possessed a historical appeal for world travelers, who become increasingly attracted to its simple yet complex beauty, usually making records of it in etchings, drawings and photographs. Indeed, the very first official mention of the Gorica Bridge was recorded on the travel journals of the famed Ottoman chronicler, Evliya Çelebi.
The bridge was originally built in wood in 1780, by Ahmet Kurt Pasha of Berat, during a time that the two separate communities on each side of the Osum River sought to connect with one another, especially when the neighborhood of Gorica saw a rise in its population. In 1918, by the end of World War I, the bridge was damaged from several explosions. Fortunately, this gorgeous bridge was quickly reconstructed in the 1920s, this time in stone, giving it the shape that it holds to this day. Especially for the bridge lovers out there: you simply cannot miss this one!