City of a Thousand Steps may well be an understatement: the town has been build against the hillside, and in between the houses many of the passageways are in the form of stairs. Like Berat, much of the town is an impressive collection of well-maintained Ottoman houses, with attractive niches and balconies, although in the Gjirokaster of the 1990s quite a few of the houses needed repairs inside.
Above town towered the citadel, somehow also well-maintained, because this structure apparently served as one of the main political prisons during the communist era. On our tour of the building we visited some of the prison cells, as well as the upper courtyard, which had been used as execution range, where firing squads regularly shot those prisoners sentenced to death. This must have been clearly audible all over the town below, of course.