Tuesday

Visiting Rozafa Castle in Albania

It was a nice weather when we visited Albania. From our hotel in Budva, Montenegro, it took us over 4 hours before reaching Shköder, historically also known as Scutari. It is a city in northwestern Albania in the District of Shkodër, of which it is the capital. It is one of the oldest and most historic places in Albania, as well as an important cultural and economic centre.

The entrance to  Rozafa Castle. Taken last April 2013 during our visit there. © www.traveleuroasia.com

According to my travel diary (yes, I am trying my best to note down details of my travels), we departed Budva at 8:00 AM and arrived at 12:15 PM in Scutari. Considering the road condition going to Shköder, in which the roads are narrow and some are not cemented plus the long waiting time we had during the passport control at the border, that drive was really long.
View of Shköder  from the castle top.© www.traveleuroasia.com
We visited first the historical city of Shköder. After our sightseeing there, we had a stopover in Rozafa Castle which is located near this city. Our tour guide who was a very funny one explained to us about the building of the Rozafa Castle. It was quite interesting especially listening to the legend about the building of the castle. I hope to talk about the legend in my future post.

The ruins of Rozafa Castle. © www.traveleuroasia.com
 Rozafa castle known in Albanian as Kalaja e Rozafës/Kalaja e Rozafatit, is a castle near the city of Shkodër, in northwestern Albania. It rises imposingly on a rocky hill, 130 metres above sea level, surrounded by the Bojana and Drin rivers.

Due to its strategic location, the hill has been settled since antiquity. It was an Illyrian stronghold until it was captured by the Romans in 167 BC.  The 19th-century German author and explorer Johann Georg von Hahn suggested that the ancient and medieval city of Shkodër was located immediately south of the Rozafa hill, between the hill and the confluence of Bojana and Drin. The fortifications, as they have been preserved to date, are mostly of Venetian origin.

The castle has been the site of several famous sieges, including the siege of Shkodra by the Ottomans in 1478 and the siege of Shkodra by the Montenegrins in 1912. The castle and its surroundings form an Archaeological Park of Albania.

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