Durres, formerly Durrazzo, is one of the oldest towns in Albania. The legend says that it was founded by Epidamnos, the Illyrian King of the area, who called it by his own name and named the port area after his grandson - Dyrrah.
In 1627 - 1626 B.C. Greeks from Corfu and Cornith invaded the area and called the town Dyrrachion. In the 4th century B.C. Dyrrachion had become an independent city - state, producing metalwork, pottery, fabrics, leather and ships and its coins were circulating throughout the ancient world. The Illyrians after establishing their own state, tried to place Durres under their own dependence. In this struggle, victory favoured the state of the Taulantes.
The Illyrian King Monunes, minted coins in Durres, with his own name in them and made Durres, the centre of his own state. In 229 B.C. Durres was taken by Rome and under roman rule, the town was called Dyrrachium, which became the starting point of the Via Egnatia, linking roam with the East. The famous Roman orator, Cicero called Durres an admirable city ..., while the poet Catullus called it the tavern of the Adriatic.
After the partition of the Roman Empire, Durres remained part of the Eastern Empire, Byzantium.
During the 10th & 14th centuries, the town was captured by Bulgarians, Normans, Crusaders, Venetians, Angevins and Serbs. In 1501 it was invaded by the Turks. In 1914 - 1920 Durres became the capital of Albania. In 1915 it became the seat of Prince Velhelm Xuvid. In 1916 was temporarily occupied by Serbian forces.
On the 7th of April l939, Durres was occupied by Italians. and then the Germans, during World War Two.