Geographic area: The Municipality of Gjirokastra is bordered in the North with the Municipality of Tepelenë, in the East with the Municipality of Libohovë, in the South with the Municipality of Dropull and ithe West with the Municipalities of Himarë and Delvinë. The civic center is the city of Gjirokastër.
Population: According to the 2011 Cencus, the municipality has a population of approximately of 25.301 inhabitants. While according to the civic registry she counts 52.054 inhabitants. The Municipality is extends to an area of 469.25 km 2 , with a density of 53.91 inhabitants/km 2 according to the 2011 Cencus and 110.93 inhabitans according to the civic registry.
This Municipality is compounded of seven Administrative Units, which are: Gjirokastra, Cepo, LAzarat, Picar, Lunxhëri, Odrie and Antigone. All Administrative Units are actually part of the district and county of Gjirokastra. The new Municipality has under its administration a city and 38 villages.
Administrative Units of the Municipality of Gjirokastër
The city of Gjirokastër is situated on the site of Gjerë Mountain, on the north western of its slopes on the left site of the Drino valley. In the North the city is bordered with Mashkullorë village, and in the South with Lazarat, in the East with Drino River and with the villages of Lunxhëri and in the West with Gjerë Mountain.
The origin of the denomination Gjirokastër has a mythical explanation and two others with historical connotation. According to the legend, during the final surrounding of the city from the Turks, the Princess Argjiro, the sister of the lord of the city threw herself from the walls of the castle together with her son in order not to be captured alive in the hands of the enemy. From this moment on the label “The Castle of Argjiro” was used. (But it seems impossible as the name of the city is mentioned since the Byzantine era, that is to say before the Ottoman invasion). According to an explanation modtly poetic, the city has acquired the name according to the greek word silver (argjend-ασήμι), Argyrókastron – Αργυρόκαστρον, that is related with the cormorant color of the walls, streets and the stone roofs, which sparkle like silver when wet from the rain. Another explanation is related to the name of a local tribe that used to live near Gjirokastër. Argjirët . For the first time the denomination of Gjirokastër is mentioned in the 18 th century. The beginnings of the city of Gjirokastër according to the researcher Apollon Baçe is thought to be the 18 th century, after the collapse of Hadrianopolis. The construction of the Castle of Gjirokastër is thought to have started from the Albanian headman Gjin Bue Shpata, who also accorded the name to the city, Gjirokastër.
The present city of Gjirokastër includes the Old City, with the Castle (the first nucleus of civilization) and the neighbourhoods of Ottoman style, built on the crests, that start coming away from the Castle until the soles of the valley, where contemporary and university complex are found.
Lunxhëri – former commune, from June 2015 is an Administrative Unit of the Municipality of Gjirokastër. According to the 2011 Cencus the population rises to 1941 inhabitants, settled in 10 villages: Qestorat, Dhoksat, Këllëz, Mingul, Nokovë, Erind, Gjat, Kakoz, Karjan and Valare.
Antigone, former commune, from June 2015 is an Administrative Unit of the Municipality of Gjirokastër. According to the 2011 Cencus the population rises to 998 inhabitants, settled in 6 villages: Asim Zeneli, Arshi Lengo, Krinë, Tranoshishtë and Saraqinishtë.
Cepo, former commune, from June 2015 is an Administrative Unit of the Municipality of Gjirokastër. According to the 2011 Cencus the population rises to 1727 inhabitants, settled in 11 villages: Fushëbardhë, Zhulat, Taroninë, Mashkullorë, Palokastër, Çepunë, Kodër, Plesat, Kardhiq, Prongji and Humelicë.
Odrie, former commune, from June 2015 is an Administrative Unit of the Municipality of Gjirokastër. According to the 2011 Cencus the population rises to 433 inhabitants, settled in 5villages: Andon Poçi, Hundëkuq, Tërbuq, Great Labovë and Small Labovë.
Lazarat former commune, from June 2015 is an Administrative Unit of the Municipality of Gjirokastër. According to the 2011 Cencus the population rises to 2801 inhabitants, settled in 2 villages: Lazarat and Kordhocë.
Picar, former commune, from June 2015 is an Administrative Unit of the Municipality of Gjirokastër. According to the 2011 Cencus the population rises to 937 inhabitants, settled in 5 villages: Picar, Shtëpëz, Kolonjë, Golem and Kaparjel.
The main sources of the urban economy in Gjirokastër are tourism and manufacture with requested material. Over the last few years, because of its status as heritage of UNESCO, tourism has encountered considerable increases. Gjirokastër is also a city with considerable trading activity, especially of what concerns imports from Greece.
The rural area that was attached to the old municipality is known for its cattle breeding and qualitative livestock products.
Gjirokastër is the most affected area from massive emigration of population during the two last decades, a situation that has caused the rapid aging of the population. According to the registration of the population in 2011, the county of Gjirokastër has the highest average age in Albania with approximately 40 years old.