Gjirokastër (gyĭrôkäsˈtər) [key] or Gjinokastër gyēnô–, Gr. Argyrokastron, It. Argirocastro, town (1989 pop. 24,207), capital of Gjirokastër dist., S Albania. A commercial center, it produces foodstuffs, leather, and textiles. There are several 18th-century mosques and churches and an old citadel (rebuilt in the 19th cent.) in the town. Dating probably from the 4th cent., Gjirokastër passed to the Turks in the 15th cent. It was captured (1811) by Ali Pasha and was the center (late 1800s) of anti-Turkish resistance. In World War II it was occupied by Italy, Greece, and Germany in succession. Enver Hoxha, the Albanian Communist party leader, was born there.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.