A UNESCO World Heritage town, Gjirokastër is one of the most venerable towns of Albania located in a lush valley between the high Gjerë Mountains and the rushing river Drinos. It is dominated by an Ottoman fortress, said to be the second largest in the Balkans. Crusaders passed by, looting and raping and pillaging, in the 11th century. A tragic legend recounts that when the Ottomans invaded in the 14th century a Princess Argyro jumped from the highest tower of the castle of Gjirokastër with her very young son, to escape seizure by the Turks. The old part of the town, with charming and characteristic Balkan-Ottoman houses, many with roofs composed of expertly-cut shale stone, surrounds the citadel.