The Rozafa Castle was probably founded by Illyrians. Later it was rebuilt several times by Romans, Venetians and Ottomans. The castle ruins consist of 3 courtyards and a few buildings.
The oldest still standing structure on the castle grounds is the St. Stephen's Church, which dates back to 1319. One of the main reasons to visit the castle is its location on a 130 m high hilltop, which offers panoramic views of Shkoder, the Buna and Drini rivers as well as the southern end of Lake Shkodra.
In 2010 admission to the castle was 200 Leke (less than 2 Euro).
The Rozafa Castle is located on a small hill about 2,5 km southwest of Shkoder's city centre.
As we were a bit short on time, we took a taxi to the castle (500 Leke), but walked back to town. The walk led along a new promenade at the river Buna and was therefore quite pleasant.
Another option to get to the castle is the public bus which stops somewhere at the main road below the castle. From there you still have to climb the hill to the entrance of the castle.
Beside the dominating Ebu Bekr Mosque, there is a second large mosque in the city centre of Shkoder. Its name is Parruce Mosque (Xhamia Parruces) and it was the very first sight which we spotted when we got off our bus coming from Ulcinj in Montenegro.
The Parruces Mosque is dedicated to the family of Haxhi Sait Jakup Fishta and it was completed in 2006.
The Parruces Mosque is situated near the north western end of the square Sheshi Parruce, just opposite to the Lulishtja e Parruces Park.
The large Ebu Bekr Mosque, which is the focal point of the local Muslim community, dominates Shkoder's city centre.
Also known as Al-Zamil Mosque, it was built in 1995 with funds from Saudi Arabia and Egypt. It stands on the site of an even earlier mosque. The Ebu Bekr Mosque has been extensively renovated in 2008.
The Ebu Bekr Mosque is surrounded by a large garden. It stands somewhere between the Rozafa Hotel and the Colosseo Hotel; right in the heart of Shkoder.
Address: Ebu Bekr Mosque, Rruga 13 Dhjetori, Shkoder
The history of the multiple-domed Lead Mosque (Xhamia e Plumbit) dates back to 1773, when it was built in Ottoman style by Mehmet Pasha Bushati.
The name Lead Mosque derives from the material which was used for the roof and the cupolas.
In 1948 the mosque was declared a Cultural Monument, which probably also saved it from destruction during the communist years. In 1967 the minaret was destroyed by lightning.
The Lead Mosque is situated just a short walk down from the Rozafa Castle, which is located about 2,5 km south west of Shkoder's city centre.
This area was once a lively bazaar, but due to too many floods it was abandoned. We actually didn't really visit the Lead Mosque, but the best views of it can probably be enjoyed from the entrance to the Rozafa Castle anyway.
One of the newest statues in Shkoder is a statue of Mother Teresa (Nene Tereza). Despite several protests of Muslim groups, it was decided to erect this statue in 2006.
Mother Teresa was a Catholic nun, who was born in neighbouring Macedonia to an Albanian family. In 1979 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Mother Teresa Statue stands in the eastern corner of the square Sheshi Nene Tereza (former: Sheshi Gurakuqi). The square can be found just behind the Ebu Bekr Mosque.
Shkoder always has been one of the most Catholic cities in Albania. This is not only proved by the Catholic Cathedral, but also by the Franciscan Church (Kisha Franceskane).
During the communist time, which was a period of atheism in Albania, the church was used as a cinema and auditorium. Last restorations at the tower took place in 2007.
Inside the church a few very unusual church paintings can be seen.
The Franciscan Church can be found at the street Rruga Ndre Mjeda, right in the heart of Shkoder's city centre.
Address: Franciscan Church, Rruga Ndre Mjeda, Shkoder
After the theatre in Tirana, the Migjeni Theatre is considered the second most important theatre in Albania.
First performances took place in 1879 and during the communist years many plays of Bertolt Brecht were shown here.
Up to 1919 women were not allowed to perform on stage, which meant that men had to play the female characters.
The Migjeni Theatre stands at the square Sheshi Demokracia (former: Sheshi 5 Heronjte), right in the heart of Shkoder's city centre.
Shkoder's Catholic Cathedral is dedicated to Saint Stephen and also known as the "Great Church" (Kisha e Madhe).
It was constructed in the late 19th century and transformed into a sports hall in 1967. The reopening as a church and inauguration by Mother Teresa took place at the beginning of the 1990's.
The Catholic Cathedral is located at the street Rruga Skenderberg; a 15 minutes walk east of the city centre.
Address: Catholic Cathedral, Rruga Skenderberg, Shkoder
The beautiful Orthodox Cathedral (Kisha Orthodokse) was built in 2000 on the site of a former wooden church.
Its full name is Nativity of Christ Orthodox Cathedral and it consists of a main building with several domes and cupolas as well as a separate tower.
The church grounds are totally fenced in and unfortunately during our visit the courtyard was always locked.
The Orthodox Cathedral can be found a few hunded metres north east of the square Sheshi Demokracia (former: Sheshi 5 Heronjte), right in the heart of Shkoder's city centre.
Address: Orthodox Cathedral, Rruga Vaso Kadia, Shkoder
When I built that tip, I had been unable to find any information on that person and why he had a monument built in 1993. Looking at his clothes and look, it should have lived at the end of the 19th or beginning of the 20th. I know that Shkodër played an important role during the League of Prizren (1878-1881), the Albanian liberation movement. The branch of the League of Prizren for Shkodër, fought for the protection of various places, including Ulqin (Ulcinj). My wild guess would be that he has been a prominent member of the Shkodër branch of the League of Prizren. This is a wild guess and nothing substantiates it. Anybody has a clue on that point ?
Thank you VT Scutariredi for giving me a link with information about this man. I was almost right about my guess!
The statue represents Luigj Gurakuqi (1879 – 1925). Luigj Gurakuqi was born in Shkoder. He studied in Shkoder and in Naples where he was a student of Jeronim De Rada. He became a poet and a nationalist like his master. At the age of 29, he went back to Albania where he soon took an important role in the Albanian movement for independence (Prizren ligue). Gurakuqi was assassinated in Bari, Italy in 1925 by his cousin, Baltjon Stambolla
Luigj Gurakuqi was given the titles of Hero i Popullit (Hero of the People) and Mësues i Popullit (Teacher of the People). The university of his hometown, Shkodër, was named after him.
Is the symbol of the city of Shkoder. Built in the 4th century b.c. it rises on a hill 130 meters above the sea level. From there u can see the whole city, the rivers of Buna and Drin and also the lake. A fantastic view...
The legend about this place is amazing.
this is the main mosque of Shkoder, and one of the most beatiful in Albania... like the mos tpart of mosque sin the Balkans, it was made during Ottoman rule
it is a mix of Ottoman with local Albanian architecture
Shkoder was a huge enigma with horendous potholed tracks as you enter the city from the North then suddenly you come across collosal monuments like the 5 heroes one here, spotted about this sometimes semi derelict looking city.
This little church stands on the outskirts of Shkodra, along the road to Tirana and just where the second track that leads to Rozafa castle begins. It looks modern and I do not know its name. I am not an expert but I feel this is a Catholic church, which would make sense as in Albania, catholics are mostly found in the north, in and around Shkodra.
The first photo was taken close to Muriqan, a small town 10 km from Shkodra and 2 km from the border. It shows in the background the Rumija (Montenegro) or Taraboshit (Albania) ridge with the road that we followed when driving along Skadrarski Jezero (see my Veliki Ostros page). If you enlarge it, you can clearly see the road.
Look at the point where it reaches the ridge, before going on the other side. This is from where was taken the second photo. Shkodra cannot be seen but must be in the plain, at the end of the ridge while Muriqan (not seen neither) should be in the foreground, on the right, out of the frame ! Sorry !