Fier, Fier, Shqipëri - Shqipëria
is a city in southwest Albania, in the district and county of the same name. It is located at40°43′N 19°33′E, and has a population of 82,297 . Fier is 8 km (5 mi) from the ruins of the ancient city of Apollonia.
The history of Fier is bound up with that of the oil, gas and bitumen deposits nearby. The presence of asphalt and burning escapes of natural gas in the vicinity was recorded as early as the 1st century AD. Dioscorides, in Materia Medica, describes lumps of bitumen in the adjacent river Seman, and the concentrated pitch on the banks of the Vjosë river Strabo, writing in about AD 17 states:On the territory of the people of Apolonia in Illlyria there is what is called a nymphaeum. It is a rock which emits fire. Below it are springs flowing with hot water and asphalt... the asphalt is dug out of a neighboring hill: the parts excavated are replaced by fresh earth, which in time is converted to asphalt.The name comes from Albanian meaning fern. A hypothesis is that the name of the city comes probably from the Italian word fiera, meaning trade fair in English, because in the 14th and 15th century the location was used by the Venetian traders as a marketplace to purchase agricultural products from the Myzeqe lowlands.The settlement took city status in 1864 when Kahreman Pasha Vrioni, the local governor, asked from some French architects to project a future city as an artisan and trade center. During the 1864-1865 period a market for 122 merchants was built along theGjanica river. The first inhabitants of the city were the servants of Kahreman Pasha Vrioni and members of Vlach families that had lived in the area since the early 19th century period.