Vlora is not only a major port but of great historical importance. For it was here in 1912 that the Assembly was convened which first national government headed by Ismail Qemali. In recognition of this, it was proclaimed a “Hero City” in 1962. The city’s main square is Sheshi I Flamurit (Flag Square).
The oldest traces of civilization in the area of Vlora date back to the 6th century B.C. The ancient name of Vlora was Aulona. It was and it is still known for its wine, olives, salt etc. During the Medieval Age, the town’s fate was linked with the Castle of Kanina. Beaches in Vlora are nearby, and at the mouth of the bay is the island of Sazan, the biggest island of Albania.
Vlora is Albania's second largest port, having regular ferry boat connections with Italian ports of Bari and Brindisi. The capital of Vlorë District, the city exports petroleum (from the Kuçovë oil field), bitumen, olives, olive oil, and fruit. Industries include tannin extracting, rice milling, olive oil refining, fishing, and the manufacture of cement, soap, and dairy products.
The city has a museum, a theater, and technical schools; the medieval Kanina Château is to the southeast.