Berat is a city located in south-central Albania and the capital of both the District of Berat and the larger County of Berat. The population at the 2011 census was 32,606. In July 2008, the old town (Mangalem district) was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Berat lies on the right bank of the river Osum, a short distance from the point where it is joined by the Molisht river. It has a wealth of beautiful buildings of high architectural and historical interest. The pine forests above the city, on the slopes of the towering Tomorr mountains, provide a backdrop of appropriate grandeur. The Osumi river has cut a 915-metre deep gorge through the limestone rock on the west side of the valley to form a precipitous natural fortress, around which the town was built on several river terraces.
According to an Albanian legend, the Tomorr mountain was originally a giant, who fought with another giant, called Shpirag over a young woman. They killed each other and the girl drowned in her tears, which then became the Osum river.
Mount Shpirag, named after the second giant, is on the left bank of the gorge, above the district of Gorica. Berat is known to Albanians as the city of “One above another Windows (a similar epithet is sometimes applied to Gjirokastra), or The City of Two Thousand Steps. It was proclaimed a ‘Museum City’ by the dictator Enver Hoxha in June 1961.