Vlorë is one of the biggest towns and the second largest port city of Albania, after Durrës, with a population of about 94,000 (2008 estimate). It is the city where the Albanian Declaration of Independence was proclaimed on November 28, 1912. The city was for a short time the capital of Albania. Founded as an ancient Greek colony in the 6th century BC by the name of Aulon and continuously inhabited for about 26 centuries, Vlorë is home to the Port of Vlorë and University of Vlorë as the most important economical and cultural city of southwestern Albania.
Vlorë is situated on the Bay of Vlorë, an inlet on the Adriatic Sea, almost surrounded by mountains. The port of Vlorë is closer in proximity than any other to the port of Bari, Italy, and is just 70 nautical miles (130 km) from Salento’s coasts. The island of Sazan is nearby, strategically located at the entrance to the Bay of Vlorë.
The town is surrounded by gardens and olive groves. Valonia, the mass name for acorn cups obtained in the neighboring oak forests and (because of its chemical derivatives) used by tanners, derives its name from Valona, the ancient name of Vlorë.
Vlorë remains a major seaport and commercial centre, with a significant fishing and industrial sector. The surrounding region produces petroleum, natural gas, bitumen and salt. The city is also the location of important installations of the Albanian Navy.
Vlorë has grown in importance as an agricultural center with very large-scale planting of olive and fruit trees, and as a center of the food processing, oil and bitumen export industries.
The surrounding district is mainly agricultural and pastoral, producing oats, maize, cotton, olive oil, cattle, sheep, skins, hides and butter. These commodities are exported.
Tourism has become a major industry in recent years, with many hotels, recreational centers, and vast beaches. It is a pleasant place to relax, to have a coffee and admire the beautiful view over the Bay of Vlorë.