Saranda or Sarandë is the capital of the District of Sarandë, Albania, and is one of the most important tourist attractions of the Albanian Riviera. It is situated on an open sea gulf of the Ionian Sea in the Mediterranean 2 nautical miles from the Greek island of Corfu. The city of Saranda has a population of about 30,000 (2001 estimate). Near Sarandë are the remains of the ancient city of Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Saranda’s current name derives from the name of the Byzantine monastery of the Agioi Saranda (Greek: Άγιοι Σαράντα), meaning the “Forty Saints” and honoring the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste. Under Turkish rule, this became Aya Sarandi and then Sarandoz. Owing to Venetian influence in the region, it often appeared under its Italian name Santi Quaranta on western maps, This usage continued even after the establishment of the Principality of Albania, owing to the first Italian occupation of the region. During the second occupation in World War II, Benito Mussolini changed the name to Porto Edda, in honor of his eldest daughter. Following the restoration of Albanian independence, the city employed its Albanian name Saranda.