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C + 1 : Suleyman's Harbour

This morning we set sail at seven for Vlore and shipped around the Karaburun Peninsula which was dotted with hundreds of Enver Hoxha's mini bunkers I talked about yesterday.

Hundreds of Hoxha bunkers dot the peninsula of Karaburun

Once we entered the Bay of Vlore, the mountains receded and the country opened up. It was in the Bay of Vlore where Suleyman the Magnificient in 1537 assembled an army of 300’000 men to invade Italy and march on Rome. He had already landed an advance party in Castro. The idea was to attack Rome in a pincer movement with the Turks pushing from the south and the French from the north.(see blog C - 24)

Sultan Suleyman - the turban was real said Rubens who painted him But the plan came to naught because King François 1er did not keep his word and invaded Northern Germany instead. After waiting a while Sultan Suleyman sailed to Corfu and unsucessfulloy tried to take the Venetian town and fortress. When the automn storms arrived and without success he returned to Istanbul. Corfu stayed Venetian.

Francois 1er, the French King

Despite the ambitious French-Turkish plans, Rome was never attacked and Pope Paul III’s new walls around the Vatican never tested. With his 10% share of global church revenue he could continue to finance the Holy League (Spain, Austria, Venice and the Papal State) and build a fleet that eventually would defeat the Turks in Lepanto in 1571.

Pope Paul III

But back to today. After some swimming and canoeing we decided to visit the Fortress of Kanine which dominates Vlore. The Captain brought us with the tender to the shore where we found two Italian speaking taxi drivers who would take us to the Kanine Castle and back for € 25 each - they said they can now afford to stop working for the day!

Our Italian speaking taxi drivers - they learnt Italian watching soap operas on Italian TV

Castle climber group on the top

The Kanine fortress was rebuilt by Byzantine Emperor Justinian (the guy who built the Hagia Sophia and canonised Roman Law). The castle protected the Vlore Harbour below until the Ottomans conquered it in the late 15th century

Magnificient view over Vlore’s fertile hinterland

Vlore and its harbour where Suleyman the Magnificent assembled his army for Italy's invasion

The Dragonfly is visible half left as a small spot

Returning to the boat after an interesting afternoon - ready for dinner!



Happy campers returning back to our boat



Next activity is dinner!

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