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More photos from the Butrint Wetland


Total site area 13,500 ha
Coordinates 9 50' N and 20 00' E
Ramsar wetland type dominant Coastal brackish/saline lagoons; brackish to saline lagoons with at least one relatively narrow connection to the sea.
Maximum elevation 845 meters
Transboundary Yes

Site Profile

Butrint Wetland Complex is situated in the Saranda district, opposite the island of Corfu and close to the Greek-Albanian border. The area is largely a wetland site set with lakes and dissected by two rivers, the Bistrica to the north and Pavllo to the south. To the east, Mile Mountain (824 m) separates the wetland complex from the interior of Albania.

The area has an outstanding landscape value with a high variety of natural, semi-natural and artificial habitats. These include oak woodland, typical Mediterranean maquis, the brackish lake of Bufi (Rreza), the saltwater lagoon of Butrint, salt marshes of Alinura, a rocky limestone coast, the outlets of the Bistrica and Pavllo rivers, open halophytic lands and arable lands.

Butrint is famous for its cultural, historical and natural values. In 1948, following fifteen years of archaeological excavations (1928-1943), the main site of Butrint was designated as an Albanian Cultural Monument. In 1992, UNESCO approved the nomination of the main site as a World Heritage Site on the basis of cultural heritage criterion (iii): "The evolution of the old natural environment, which led the inhabitants to abandon Butrinti at the end of the Middle Ages, means that this archaeological site provides valuable evidence of ancient and medieval civilizations on the territory of modern Albania" (text from ICOMOS evaluation, October 1992). Since then the World Heritage Site has been enlarged to incorporate an area of 2500 ha (World Heritage Committee, Dec 1999) and established as a National Archaeological Park (Council of Ministers, April 2000).

On October 2002, Butrint was designated as Ramsar Site. Thus Butrint was nationally and internationally accepted as a wetland site of global importance for its environmental, historical and cultural values.

Recent surveys on habitats and species have concluded that:

   Butrint represents a unique wetland site in the Mediterranean Region, a blend of cultural and historic landscapes, which house a wide variety of habitats and species and offer an outstanding landscape value;

     Butrint supports Species Endangered nationally and internationally;

     Butrint supports a high proportion of biodiversity in Albania and it is particularly important for birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals;

     Butrint's habitats offer an important site for fish stocks either for food, spawning grounds, nurseries and migration paths on which fish;

    Butrint is an important economic resource for more than 8000 inhabitants and a focus for tourism. It is the primary attraction for visitors to the region and potential gateway to other archaeological and natural sites in southern Albania;

      Butrint is an educational resource for schools and the general public. Over 10,000 school children visit the site each year.