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Saranda

Saranda

Sarandë or Saranda (, Agioi Saranda,) is the capital of the District of Sarandë, Albania, and is one of the most important tourist attractions of the Albanian Riviera. It is situated on an open sea gulf of the Ionian Sea in the Mediterranean, 2 nautical miles from the Greek island of Corfu. The city of Saranda has a population of about 32,000 inhabitants (2008 estimate). Near Sarandë are the remains of the ancient city of Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

City of Saranda

History
In antiquity the city was known by the ancient Greek name of Onchesmos (or Anchiasmos) and was inhabited by the Greek tribe of the Chaonians. Onchesmos flourished as the port of the Chaonian capital of Phoenice (modern-day Finiq). In 552 CE it experienced repeated attacks from the Goths[.Its current name comes from the name of the Byzantine monastery of the  (Agioi Saranta) literally meaning "Forty Saints" in Greek, after the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste, traditionally commemorated by the Orthodox Church on 10 March.

The town was included under the newly formed Albanian state in 1913, under the terms of the Protocol of Florence. It was occupied twice by Greece in 1913 and 1914-1916, by Greek insurgents of the Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus in 1914 and by Italy between 1916 and 1920. Saranda was again occupied in 1939 by Italian forces and was a strategic port for the fascist forces of Italy. It was then temporarily called "Porto Edda" in honor of Edda Mussolini, the eldest daughter of Benito Mussolini, during which time Albania was annexed to Italy. In the meantime, it was also known by the Italian name Santi Quaranta (Forty Saints). During the Greco-Italian War the Greek army occupied a large area of southern Albania (called "Northern Epirus" by the Greeks) and the city came under Greek rule on 6 December 1940 until the German invasion in Greece and the consequent withdrawal of the Greek army in the spring of 1941.

Economy
Given its coastal access and Mediterranean climate, Saranda has become an important tourist attraction since the fall of Communism in Albania. Saranda as well as the rest of the Albanian Riviera, according to The Guardian, "is set to become the new 'undiscovered gem' of the overcrowded Med." Tourism is thus the major economic resource, while other resources include services, fisheries and construction. The unemployment rate according to the population census of 2008 was 8.32%. It has been suggested that family tourism and seasonal work during the summer period help mitigate the real unemployment rate.

Demographics
In 1990 the inhabitants of the city of Saranda were 15,700. This figure has nearly doubled, especially due to uncontrolled movements after 1997. According to municipal sources, approximately 32,000 inhabitants are currently living in the city. According to a survey conducted by the Albanian Committee of Helsinki, currently, the Albanian population numbers about 26,500, while Greeks form the rest of the population about 3,500 (although they counted 7,500 Greeks in 1990). Saranda is considered one of the two centers of the Greek minority in Albania, Gjirokaster being the other.

 
          
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