Vlorë is the third largest city and a municipality in Albania. It is also the second largest port city of Albania, after Durrës. Geographically, it has a coastline on the northern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, the Adriatic and Ionian Sea, which forms the Bay of Vlorë.
Vlorë was founded as an ancient Greek colony in the 6th century BC by the name of Aulon and continuously inhabited for about 26 centuries. It became a bishopric (twice) and remains a Latin Catholic titular see. In modern times, the city was briefly the capital of Albania. It is where the Albanian Declaration of Independence was proclaimed on November 28 in 1912. It is also one of the most cultural and economically significant cities of southwestern Albania. Vlorës is home to Albania's second largest port, the Port of Vlorë.
Vlorë is located in southern Albania and the administrative center of the homonymous municipality seat of Vlorë County. It is situated on the Bay of Vlorë, an inlet on the Adriatic Sea, almost surrounded by the ceraunian mountains. The port is closer in proximity than any other to the port of Bari, Puglia in southeastern Italy, and is just 70 nautical miles (130 km) from Salento's coasts. The island of Sazan is nearby, strategically located at the entrance to the Bay of Vlorë. The town is surrounded by gardens and olive groves. Valonia, the mass name for acorn cups obtained in the neighboring oak forests and (because of its chemical derivatives) used by tanners, derives its name from Valona, an ancient name of Vlorë.
A new motorway is being constructed linking the city with Fier and Albania as a whole. One of the most panoramic routes of the Albanian Riviera starts to the south of town stretching up to Sarande in southermost Albania.
Vlorë has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csa) with cool wet winters and hot, dry summers with temperatures exceeding 30 °C (86 °F) in July and August.
The present municipality was formed by 2015 local government reform, which merged these former municipalities: Novoselë, Orikum, Qendër Vlorë, Shushicë and Vlorë; they became municipal units. The seat of the municipality is Vlorë. The total population is 104,827 (2011 census), in a total area of 616.85 square kilometres (238.17 square miles). The population of the former municipality at the 2011 census was 79,621. The new municipality extends from Vjosë river delta near Novoselë up to Llogara Pass including the town of Orikum. The population of the municipality is 104,827.
During the 19th and early 20th century, Albanian speaking Muslims were the majority population of Vlorë while there was a small number of Greek-speaking families and an even smaller number of Catholics. In 1994 the ethnic Greek community of the city numbered 8,000 people. A Greek school was operating in the city in 1741. Most of the population of the district of Vlorë are Muslim and ethnic Albanian, with significant communities of Romani and Balkan Egyptians, Vlachs and Orthodox Christians.
The city of Vlorë remains a major seaport and commercial centre, with a significant fishing and industrial sector. The surrounding region produces petroleum, natural gas, bitumen and salt. The city is also the location of important installations of the Albanian Navy. It has grown in importance as an agricultural center with very large-scale planting of olive and fruit trees, and as a center of the food processing, oil and bitumen export industries. The surrounding district is mainly agricultural and pastoral, producing oats, maize, cotton, olive oil, cattle, sheep, skins, hides and butter. These commodities are exported.
Vlorë is a vibrant coastal city with a well-developed and modern housing infrastructure. The city offers a variety of residential areas ranging from the coast and going inland. Vlorë is divided into three economic zones. The Free Economic Zone TEDA Vlorë has a strategic location, some 151 kilometres (94 miles) away from the capital Tirana. The A2 is part of Pan-European Corridor VIII and adjacent to the Adriatic Ionian Motorway, including a direct exchange with the National Road 8, 4.6 kilometres (2.9 miles) away. The nations only airport, the Tirana International Airport, is only 147 kilometres (91 miles) away from the city and is suitable for transportation of cargo and passengers. There is an existing railway infrastructure passing through the area. Vlorë has access to the Port of Durrës (120 kilometres (75 miles)) and the Port of Vlorë (5.7 metres (18.7 feet)), the two largest ports in Albania. The Land and Environmental Information is located in a flat, saline land, partially covered by Soda Forest. The area is suitable for industrial and environmentally friendly development. The Industrial development inside the zone eligible activities that can be developed in TEDA are: industrial, processing, commercial, goods storage, light industry, electronics, auto parts manufacturing and port related activities. The Labor market: Official data from 2014 set the employable labor force in Vlora at 125,954, of which 84,836 are currently employed. 35% of the labor force in Vlora has a high school degree, while 17% has a university degree. Vlora boasts the second largest university in Albania, Ismail Qemali and several vocational education schools.
According to the World Bank, Vlorë has made significant steps of starting a business in 2016. Vlorë ranks 7 among 22 cities in Southeastern Europe before the capital Tirana, Belgrade, Serbia and Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Tourism has become a major industry in recent years, with many hotels, recreational centers, and vast beaches. It is a pleasant place to relax, to have a coffee and admire the beautiful view over the Bay of Vlorë. A particularity of this bay it is that it is considered as the frontier between the Adriatic Sea and the Ionian Sea. The Island of Sazan is close-by, at the entrance to the Bay of Vlorë. Italy is just 70 nanometres (2.8×10−6 inches) away. With 300 sunny days per year is the perfect location to stay for business or vacations, eating mediterranean diet food, great wine, olive oil, doing mountains and beach and sports.
Along the Riviera are situated also large beaches, created in the spots, where run more powerful streams, which have deposited huge amounts of scrappy material, such as beach of Palasë, Dhermi, Vuno, Himara, Qeparo and Borsh. Along the coast are noted old abrasive tracks due to sea level fluctuations, which are represented by maritime terraces fragments. The bay offers perfect conditions for navigation at sea and anchorage of ships. It communicates easily with other regions of Albania and it has been used as a crossroad of many important routes since ancient times. The Bay of Vlora is remarkable for its rich natural resources, biological diversity and ecological corridors. The harbour of Vlora is positioned in the western part of the bay, opposite the Cold Water.
In the city there are located three functioning museums the Independence Museum, the Historic Museum and the Ethnographic Museum of Vlorë. Each museum discovers different characteristics of the Vloran history. Vlora host also the Shevqet Musaraj Libery. Vlorë is home to different architectural styles that represent influential periods in its history. The architecture is influenced by Illyrian, Greek, Roman, Italian and Communist architecture. In the 21th century, Vlorë has turned into a modern city, with modern new buildings and many green spaces. The Lungomare Vlora Waterfront Project is currently under construction.