Burrel is a town in northern Albania, 91 km from Tirana. At the 2015 local government reform it became a subdivision and the seat of the municipality Mat. It was the seat of the former District of Mat. The population at the 2011 census was 10,862.
The last archaeological researches has explored different trails which demonstrate the population of the area till al the paleolithic and after. The valley of Mati, has been populated during all the historic periods. The main inhabitant were the Illrian Tribe Pirustae. They resisted the Roman invasion until the second century BC.
Burrel is one of the largest districts in Albania. It is also known among Albanians as the “Land of Kings”, as Gjon Kastrioti, the father of Gjergj Kastrioti, better known as Skanderbeg, was born there. He was a hereditary prince of a large district of Epirus that included Mat. Another famous native of Burrel was Ahmet Zogu, first King of the Albanians (born Ahmet Zogolli, later changed to Ahmet Zogu; October 8, 1895 – April 9, 1961), who reigned as King Zog I from 1928 to 1939. He had previously been a Prime Minister of Albania between 1922 and 1924 and President of Albania between 1925 and 1928.
At one time, Burrel was referred to as the “city of apples” because of the apple trees that lined many of the town’s streets, however, during the time of the Communist regime and the unrest following the change of government, the apple trees were cut down for profit or personal use as firewood. There are hardly any apple trees left in the town now.
Burrel was a miners’ town during Communist Albania, but the mines closed, with the exception of a ferrochrome plant still operational near Burrel.
During the Kosovo conflict there was a refugee camp near Burrel for 2,000 people. With food and water and supplies from NATO and United States Armed Forces.