Ali Pasha Castle

Tepelene

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The castle described and pictured is popularly known as The Triangular Fortress. Built under Venetian dominion in the late 15th or early 16th century, it provided a stronghold for the Venetians on Corfu to exploit fishing, grazing, olives and timber in and around Butrint. The castle was the centrepiece of numerous conflicts with the burgeoning Ottoman Empire, and changed hands on several occasions. It was finally destroyed by a retreating French army in 1798 to prevent it falling into the hands of Ali Pasha.

The fortification attributed to Ali Pasha at Butrint lies some 2.4 kilometres (1.5 mi) due west at the mouth of the Vivari Channel. This in itself began life in the late 17th or early 18th century as a fortified estate centre belonging to a Corfiote family that farmed land on the plains south of the ancient city. Ali Pasha seized control of the structure around 1804 and carried out a series of defensive improvements including the installation of gun batteries. Given its small size it is unlikely that the fort functioned as anything more than a control over access from the sea to Butrint, and it can not be compared to Ali’s more redoubtable fortresses in the region at Tepelena, Gjirokastra and Ioannina.

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