Gjirokastër is a city that looks beautiful at any time of day, from any angle. A timeless sort of gorgeous, it is curvaceous with mountains and celebrated for its cascading mane of stone-roofed houses. Its unique beauty mark is its castle. Its birth mark. Sure, all by itself it's just a solid, harsh mass, but it makes everything around it more beguiling. You can see the castle from basically anywhere in Gjirokastër, which is particularly helpful when trying to navigate your way through the jumble of streets in the Old Town.
"It had given birth to the city, and our houses resembled the citadel the way children look like their mothers."
Having just finished that book, I was extra excited to arrive in town and see Mama Castle with her silvery stone offspring huddled close by.
Amazingly, even after Gjirokastër became a Museum Town and the castle had begun to be used for cultural events, the prisons remained in use. These predictably dank places with special punishment chambers had been expanded and widely used by King Zog, used "with zeal" by the occupying Nazis and then employed right up until 1971 by Hoxha's communists. Maybe in a decade or so, there will be information in the pamphlet about that third stage of the prison's life.