Kruja

KRUJA – ALBANIA

GENERAL INFORMATION

Kruja in Albania

Kruja in Albania

Visiting Kruja, means to give you the privilege of going back into time and to experience the antiquity and the middle age, both at the same moment in time. Walking on the cobbled stoned Kruja, you will feel coeval with Skanderberg, while experiencing his glory, as if it was yesterday. Characteristic paths, shops made out of wood and stone, the magnificent castle and many other elements proudly show the history of a city which nowadays is identified with the history of Albania.

If you walk around the walls of Albanopoli, you might feel a little bit Illyrian and a little bit Alban feeling through the veins of the blood of the early Albanians and taking with you through the centuries the tradition of this beautiful name, Albania.

All these can be experienced by visiting Kruja, the queen of the Albanian history. Welcoming and with inherited traditions, Kruje is a town that you must visit. If you do not visit Kruja, you haven’t visited Albania.

How to reach Kruja: If you set off from Tirana, Kruja is only 32 kilometers away. The adequate infrastructure that brings you to Kruja passes through two segments, the first one from Kamez to Fusherkruje, and the second one from Vlore or Rinas to Fusherkruje. After driving for around 15 kilometers on the national motorway TiraneShkoder, turn to the left of this road and carry on driving for 1 kilometer, on you right, after about half a kilometer, you will reach the small town of Fusherkruje. Once you pass through the town center, you should continue to drive towards the east for about 16 kilometers, where you will finally get to see the enchanting medieval town. At the exit of the town of Fusherkruje, a few hundred meters on your right side, the ancient city of Albanopoli or Zgerdhesi is located, this is one of the most fascinating traces of the Albanian ancient civilization. Once you have left Zgerdhesi, on your right again, you will start to enjoy the view of Krasta Hill, a curved road with maritme pines (Pinus pinaster), which gives you the pleasure of an endless journey. At the entrance to the town of Kruja, some quarries or cement plants that are located nearby might catch your touristic attraction and might not be so pleasant, however, this is not where you will stop. Continue driving into the city, where a memorable experience is waiting for you to explore it.

Holidays in Kruja of Albania

Holidays in Kruja of Albania

Traveling to Kruja by taxi: A taxi from Tirana to Kruja will cost you between 2000 – 3000 lek, it is always better to agree on the taxi fare before getting into the taxi. Buses from Tirana to Kruja cost between 150 – 250 lek and the bus station is right in the middle of the town, minivans cost between 250 – 350 lek and you can also catch the minivans from the bus stop in Tirana. Each transportation manner will follow the same road, the road towards Shkodra from Tirana, then turn right at the turnoff for the Fushe Kruja small town (this town is famous for the George Bush disappearing watch act), remain on the main road that will twist up and lead you through the forest and then to the town of Kruja, right until you see the signs for the “kalaje” (castle).

If you want to rent your own car and travel alone to Kruja, it is best to rent the car in Tirana as there are no rent a car offices in Kruja. The tourist information office of Kruja is located inside the municipality building and can offer many leaflets, maps and guide books of Kruja. You can exchange your money at the Western Union office in the town of Kruja but most shops and restaurants will accept Euros, also.


 

ACCOMMODATION IN KRUJE OF ALBANIA

It is usually easy to find accommodation in most areas of Albania, what we have tried to do is to give you the many many options but to also give our own personal advise of the goods and the bad, as well as the exact location and the facilities of each accommodation choice. We would appreciate it if you would reserve your accommodation via this website and we will be there either in person or with a representative of ours to personally assist you while you are on  your holidays in Albania. 

 

 


 

ACTIVITIES IN KRUJE OF ALBANIA

activities in Kruja of Albania

activities in Kruja of Albania

There are many abilities in Kruja for developing the echo-tourism, curative tourism (for diseases or respiratory ways), climbing etc. Hunting (during the season) and camping are allowed but you should ask the authority about the areas in which hunting is permitted.

You can join in the rafting group and take a trip with a raft down the river!

 


 

SIGHTSEEING IN KRUJE OF ALBANIA

Kruja castle: The Kruja castle is located upon a hill stone, and is thought that before 1617 earthquake was linked with Mount of Kruja. There is a broad view that looks up at mount Tomori (south), Adriatic Sea (west) and to Ulqin (north).

castle in Kruja of Albania

castle in Kruja of Albania

The Tower shape is elliptical and its surface is 2.25 hectares. The walls ranges from 0.8 to 1.5 m.The construction of the castle dates to the VI – Vll century, was rebuilt later by Byzantines (XI XII) and the Ottomans (XVI XVII). The castle has two entrances. The main entrance (north) is a stone tunnel with an arched roof and several grounds. There is also a much smaller second entry (in the western part of the tower). Within the territory of the castle ruins and the remaining part of the castle,the most important are the Clock Tower, the Church of Saint Andrew, Fatih mosque ,baths (medieval baths), a dervish lodge of Dollma, medieval houses, etc.. Inside the castle there are two national museums. All these elements compose an assemble, which is the mos important tourist part of Kruja. That is why the main tourist businesses are placed on this area, including also another important part of the town, which is Old Bazaar.

The Dollma Tekke: The Dollma tekke was set up in the year 1789 by The Dollma family very near to the castle of Kruja, the tekke is a ritual Bektashi cult object, with its architecture following the Byzantine style, while its interior paintings speak of the baroque style of the Middle Ages. The walls are painted and filled with Arab and Persian writings, reflecting the culture of the time of its builders. A number of tombs of the fathers who exercised their rite in this masjid are also found within the walls of the object of worship, which today is a monument of culture.

The Hammam of the castle: Located on the southern west side of the castle, very close to the tekke of Dollma. The facility consists of four rooms. The environment of undressing is preserved until today.

The clock tower: The clock tower is a tower which is approximately 16 meters long, it is a part of the medieval castle and has been used over the years as a watch tower. Its appearance stretching over the horizon, allowing the watcher to control the movements of the enemy forces in three directions, having to defend the eastern side of the mountains of Kruja. Today, the clock tower is a cultural monument and one of the most distinguished elements of the cultural monument assemble.

The monument of Skanderbeg: The Krujë Skanderbeg Monument was the first monument ever to be dedicated to the hero, Skanderbeg in the whole of the country of Albania. The monument features the statue of the national hero Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg, armored, and riding his horse in battle. It is one of the most beloved monuments of the city, and a scenic view, with the Mount Dajti National Park in the background. The monument is located in the main square of Kruja and you are not likely to miss it!

The museum of Skanderbeg: The museum of Skanderbeg was designed by Enver Hoxha’s daughter and son-in-law, this museum opened in 1982, and its spacious seven-level interior displays replicas of armor and paintings depicting the National hero, Skanderbeg’s struggle for the freedom of the nation from the Ottomans. The museum is something of a secular shrine, and takes itself very seriously indeed, the museum is very organized with giant statues and dramatic battle murals.

The National historical museum “Gjergi Kastrioti -Skanderbeg”:  (open 09.00- 13.00 and 15.00-8.00, closed on Mondays, telephone number: + 355 511 22 225 and +35 532 2225). The National museum “Gergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg” was inaugurated on the 1st November, 1982. The museum was built on the left side of the entrance to the castle of Kruja by the Albanian architects Pranver Hoxha and Pirro Vaso. This specific museum was built in Kruja because Kruja was the center of the Albanian resistance against the Ottomans in the 15th century, and the name of Kruja became known all over Europe. Three sieges by the Ottomas failed (in 1450, 1466 and 1467) and the Ottomans finally conquered the castle in the year 1478. The building of the museum has the characteristics of a memorial. The museum is purposely located at Skanderbeg’s home base in Krujë and it contains exhibits chronicling the life and military exploits of the National Hero, with paintings, armor, and other artifacts from his period. A beautiful replica of the hero’s famous goat head-topped helmet is on display, however the original is housed in Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum. A reconstructed traditional bazaar is also part of the complex, which features an Ethnographic Museum (See below). All of the visitors will be introduced to a stunning view of the valley and the city underneath, along with a wide and pleasant terrace for all of the terrific views.

The Ethnographic museum in Kruja: (open 09.00-13.00 and 15.00 -18.00 closed at Mondays). This traditional home in the castle complex below the Skanderbeg Museum is one of the best in the country. Set in an original 19th-century Ottoman house that belonged to the affluent Toptani family, this museum shows the level of luxury and self-sufficiency the household maintained by producing its own food, drink, leather and weapons. They even had their very own mini hammam (Turkish bath) and watermill. The walls are lined with original frescos from 1764.

The Old Bazaar in Kruja: According to the documents, the shopping center was built about 400 years ago and had around 150 stores, which start from the entrance to the Kruja castle until the Eat Picorrit, where the municipality of Kruja town is located today. In the 17th century, the city of Kruja received a financial development and consequently and crafts located in shopping increased in range and quantity. In 1959 the monument of Gjeorgi Kastriti Skanderbeg, the national hero of Albania rises in the center of Kruja town who gave a brilliant reputation to the city of Kruja. A few years later, in 1968, Kruja recieves the naming of the town of the National hero from the Sate of that time. Kruja Bazaar was taken under the auspices of the government in 1961, and in 1966 took the first serious intervention for its reconstruction. The old bazaar of Kruja went through a complete restoration process which was financed by the Albanian – American Development Foundation (AADF). The restoration included the roofs, facades, lighting, signage, underground works and the repairing of the cobblestones. The total value of this restoration costed 400,000 USD. This investment was completed in the month of April, 2015 and was the second renovation of the Bazaar in Kruje since the death of Skanderbeg.

The “Qafshtama” National Park: Located in the region of Kruja, about 25 kilometers northeast of the main city is one of the 15 national natural parks of Albania. The park has an area of 2000 hectares. Mountainous area that is loved by tourists for its outstanding landscape values, aesthetic, recreational and curative. In general, the appearance of this park is circular and very picturesque. Located close to the ancient city, it gives the guests the opportunity to get the shortest to get to know not only about the nature, but also about the history of Albania. In the park, is the fountain of the “Mother Queen” with pure, cold and curative water. Many people visit this fountain for its high curative values as well as the landscape that it offers. On the north border of the park, there is a recreation center. Attention is paid to the development of tourism where the lakes are very attractive that are located at the north part of the park.

 


 

HISTORY OF KRUJE OF ALBANIA

the history of Albania, Kruje town

the history of Albania, Kruje town

The name “Kruje” is considered to have originated from the word “fountain-head” (water source), because the town of Kruja has many water sources. The residents of Kruja call their city and water sources by the same name, which is “Cro” (source). The name themselves “krutone” or “krotone”. In the official Albanian language, the residents of Kruja are called “krutane”. The town of Kruja is bordered by Tirana, Dibra and Lezha districts.

Kruja is a very early settlement dating back three centuries BC. Two Illyrian tribes, Albans and Parthins lived in the towns of Brysaka and Albanopolis, these people were the tribe of Albanians who gave the name to the later country of Albania, the name is well known in the whole world today. In old maps of Illyria and of the Balkans at that time, Ptolemy has noted Albanopolis as the capital city of the Illyrian tribe of Albans. The tribe of the Albanians under the pressure of the war, gradually left the city towards the direction of today’s town of Kruja, they gradually changed the name of the country, which from Alban turned into Arber, Albania from the ancient name Arberia. In the rest of the world, it continued to be known as Albania, as it is still called until today, while the country of Albania itself had not yet finally stabilized its name. Kruja can be considered one of the most historical cities of Albania. The whole story of the legendary leader, Skanderbeg begins here, in Kruja, as well as many other feudal princes, who possessed various regions of Albania and who century after century wrote the history of the sites at the time of the Ottoman occupation. Kruja is the city that has been through three large sieges, from  the Turkish Sultans and their children (Murad, Mehmed etc.), many attacks by foreigners that took place one after the other following the Turkish invasion. Even during the Second World War, Kruja has made many important battles. Kruja has a geographic location, controlling the whole territory at the junction of roads linking to different parts of the country and along with the water resources of fertile lands low area, conditioned the development of life, urbanization and construction of the castle of Kruja as a continuation of the ancient Illyrian population settlements of Albanopolis (Zgerdheshi today, near the Fushe Kruje).

Kruje town in Albania

Kruje town in Albania

Turning back in time, we find a very interesting trail, where Kruja was mentioned for the first time in documents of the year 879, as an Episkopalian center. Kruja has been the epicenter of the first Albanian feudal state, “Principality of Arber” circa 1190 – 1198, having as its leader Progroni and later on, his sons, Gjin (1198 – 1206) and Demetrios (1206 – 1216). It reaches its flourishing periods in XIII – XIV century. In the half of the century XIV, Kruja is the capital center of the Topia tribe, with developed trade and crafts, making the castle rise the place of the oldest neighborhoods. Tanush Topia expanded his holdings and created a great principality, until the period when he was killed by Robert, the King of Naples, and replaced by his son, Kart Topia. The Ottomans capture Kruja for the first time in 1396 and for the second time in 1415,  and give the twon a new name, they called it “Akcer Lsar” (White Tower) . In 1430, an uprising broke out that was organized by John Kastrioti, The father of Skanderbeg (1405 – 1468). On the 28th November 1443, after the returning of Skanderbeg, Kruje became the center of the Albania Epopee of the XV century, making possible the consecutive fail of three sieges (1450, 1466, 1467).   Kruja castle was only taken on the 16th June 1478, ten years after the death of Skanderbeg by Sultan Mehmet II. In the year 1617 and earthquake that struck in Kruja, damaged and then brought down some stone structures of the ancient city, including part of the fort. Again in the year 1832, it falls prey to the devastation along the Albanian uprisings pressure from the Ottomans. Some adjustments were made during the nineteenth century but the fortification could not turn in their luster. During the century XVII-XIX, Kruja had an economic boom and the town took the characteristic shape of Krutane towers. In the second half of the XIX century, it has a new development regarding the return to a genuine civic center. In the period of King Zog, the city had a population decrease. By 4800 residents in 1930, it fell to 4500 in 1938. In 1968 Kruja was titled as the Hero City.

The ancient period

Albanopolis – the city of Albanians

activities in Kruja of Albania

activities in Kruja of Albania

Albanopoli has been a fortified center of the Illyrian tribe of Albans. The ruins of the ancient fortress are located in the western part of Krasta hills (south-west of Kruje). The walls go up on top of the hill and the area of construction is carefully selected (the highest hill). The remains of the ancient city are located just 10 kilometers away from the airport of Tirana “Mother Teresa”. Although it is still undiscovered and not well studied, now, obvious surrounding walls can be seen and some other objects. The first written notes of this ancient city are found in the work of Ptolemy’s “Geography” in the 2nd century BC. It is said that the city was the capital city of the Illyrian tribe of Albans, from which today’s name Albania, derives from. According to the studies, the city has flourished from the middle of the IV century until up to the I century BC. It was originally built on the basis of a fortified settlement of the territories of the Illyrian tribes during the Urban period. Studies of particular excavations known, have been made in this city since the middle of the 19th century by many foreign scholars among whom was the Austrian Georg Hahn. The first survey of the topography of the area of the city was made in June 1919 by the Austrian archaeologist Praschniker and Schober. In particular, they did the surveying of the fortification system, studied the characteristic perimeter walls that were built with very large, squared stones at 1.7 meters long and 0.8 meters wide. Various archaeological expeditions have been undertaken in Zgerdhesh (eg in the year 1969) where various objects have been detected as tools, weapons or brick (marked with “A”). It has been proved that at the time of its prosperity, Albanopolis was one of the most important cities of Illyria and had very strong trading relationships with many other cities and regions. During the excavations, numerous findings have been revealed, among which, many coins of Dyrrah, Apollonia, Lisus, Korkyra, Macedonia etc. Over the centuries, due to the large movement wars in the Balkans and throughout Europe, Albanopoli lost its importance as a city but left a trail that is carved into the ancient civilization to witness the glorious history of the Albanians. Visiting Albanopolis means to take the opportunity to read some of the history of Albania and most certainly will be in front of the traces of an ancient civilization in the Mediterranean area.

Medieval period

Kruja – the capital city of the Princedom of Arber

Kruja town in Albania

Kruja town in Albania

For the continuity of life and social-financial development in late antiquity and the early Middle Ages (the IV-VII), we find items like amphorae, urns, vases etc. in the cemetery of Kruja (near the castle). For the first time, the name of Kruja was mentioned in 1879 as a Byzantine bishop’s center. Kruja takes a great development in the XII – XIII century, when the town serves as the seat of the princes Arberia and the politcial administarative and episcopal center for the principality of Arber. Rulers of the principality will be Progoni (1190 – 1199) and later, his sons Gjini (1199 – 1208) and Demetrius (1208 – 1216). The greater development of Kruja was under the rule of Demetrius. At the XIV century, Kruja was under the rule of the Topias family and will serve as their center at the time of Karl Topia who was called the “Lord of Arber”. Then, at the beginning of the XV century, Kruja will fall under the Ottoman rule.

Skanderbeg period

The region of Kruja was included in the dominions of the family of Kastrioti, precisely by the father of Skanderbeg, John Kastrioti. Skanderbeg, (the name that he was known by since the middle of the Ottoman Empire), will return to Kruje after the battle of Nish (November 1443) and after  the assembly of Lezha (2nd March 1444). Kruja then served again as the center of Arber and in the XV century, will be the center of attention of all of the European Nations that were threatened by the Ottoman invasion. Kruja was encircled three times by the Ottomans (1450, 1466, 1467) with a very large army. The city of Kruja was visited by two of the most powerful sultans of the Ottoman Empire (Sultan Murad II and his son Mehmed II) and in the year 1453 had conquered Constantinople. However, the castle of Kruja resisted and fell under the Ottoman rule in the year 1478, ten years after the death of Skanderbeg. In the later centuries, it will have a decline in the importance in the area of Kruja, which was followed by a displacement of the population. Kruja takes some development in the early XIX century when it becomes distinguished in various fields such as trades and crafts.

We cannot say that much about the National hero of Albania, Skanderbeg on this page, but please read the history of Albania for more detailed description of the hero. We will say however that hundreds of projects, publications, paintings, sculptures and documents have certified the war and Skanderbeg’s efforts for freedom, not only in defense of Albania, which was known as Arberia at that time, but for all of Western and Southwest Europe, which was seriously threatened by the invasion of the Ottomans.  Skanderbeg is therefore described as the “Athlete of Christ” by later researchers of his life. Among the most striking words that we can mention, is the “history of Skanderbeg” of the Albanian priest, Marin Barleti who lived in the period, “Skanderbeg” of Sabri Godo, etc.

The late Medieval period

During the rise of nationalism in the Ottoman empire, Kruja became the battlefield of various anti-Ottoamn rebellions that were also related to the imposing of the new taxes. In the year 1906, the citizens of Kruja revolted once again against the Ottoman Empire. The vali of Shkodra, Sali Zeki Pasha sent four battalions of the Ottoman army stationed in the city against the rebels of Kruja. After prolonged confrontations, the Ottoman official offered to bring negotiations with the rebels. On the 20th September 1906, the leaders of Kruja and the Ottoman diplomats met at the Tallajbe quarter of Kruja to discuss the administrative status of the town, however, the Ottoman army that was under Shemsi Pasha, ambushed the rebel leaders. During the battle that followed, which became known in history as the battle of Tallajbe, about 30 people died, including many un involved civilians.

The Modern period

Throughout the Albanian Revolt of the year 1912, that led to the creation of the Albanian Vilayet and later to the declaration of the Independence of Albania. Kruja, which was captured on the 14th August, was one of the major anti-Ottoman centers. In the year 1914 Esad Toptani, a member of the notable Toptani family of the region and the officer of the Ottoman army, captured the town and incorporated it in the Republic of Central Albania, making it the center of his movement, but in June of the same year, it was reincorporated by Preng Bibe Doda in the Principality of Albania. On the 20th December 1914, the local anti-e sadists, led by Abdi Toptani and Mehmet Gjinali, formed the Union of Kruja, which quickly extended its authority in central Albania.

Following the Italian invasion of Albania, the country became a protectorate of the Kingdom of Italy. Mustafa Merlika Kruja, a native of Kruja, who became the Prime Minister of the new regime ordered the formation of a 300 – man gendarmerie force to defend the town against resistance groups. However, soo afterwards, the resistance leader, Abaz Kupi, another native of the town of Kruja, created one of the first permanent resistance forces of Albania in Kruja and gradually took over the control of the region. In 1943 at the assembly of Tapize, Balli Kombetar proposed to the LNC the creation of provisional resistance government, with Kruja as the capital city, but this proposal was rejected by the LNC leaders. In the end of November of 1944, the last German troops stationed in the area were defeated and the LNC battalions entered into the town of Kruja.

Tradition and culture of Kruja

sightseeing in Kruja of Albania

sightseeing in Kruja of Albania

The city of Kruja is very rich with many monuments of culture and ethnography, due to its history, it is even a rich area as concerns to its archaeological sites. Kruja is declared to be “the Hero city”, because it carries the priceless value and is one of the most famous Albanian cities in the world, even during the period of the communist isolation. The castle of the city and its historical museum, are surely two of the most important, including the characteristic cobble stone street of the Old Bazaar, the ethnographic museum etc. But, also a number of cult objects, arouse great interest to visitors as reflective of an unprecedented religious harmony, as is the case in almost all of the cities of Albania. Kruja has issued a number of other well known personalities, like Karl Topia, a former prime minister Mustafa Kruja, even a well known Italian singer Anna Oxa, is originally from Kruja. Kruja disposes a cultural material and spiritual wealth, ranging from clothes, characteristic weaving, handicrafts in copper, gold and silver, houses and roads feature, rich in folk music and dance, paintings etc.   Also the town is characterized by the existence of a typical bazaar with a rare value in the Balkans. The most distinguished period of this old bazaar, was at the nineteenth century when Kruje when Kruje stood out as the center of trade and crafts (at that time, 130 traditional stores were counted in Kruja, today there are still around 70). These distinguished shopping stores are for the production of copper, wool, jewelry, fez production  etc. The area of Kruja is noted for the development of various crafts, of stone, which appears in the construction of houses and castles. The wood carving that still continues even until today in the town of Kruje, the elaboration of wool was known that long ago and during the XIX – XX century the cotton has been used in the production of clothing for dowry for girls. Also, it made the development on the production of embroidering, hand fabric etc.

 


 

 

USEFUL INFORMATION ABOUT KRUJE OF ALBANIA

the history of Albania, Kruje town

the history of Albania, Kruje town

How to reach Kruja: If you set off from Tirana, Kruja is only 32 kilometers away. The adequate infrastructure that brings you to Kruja passes through two segments, the first one from Kamez to Fusherkruje, and the second one from Vlore or Rinas to Fusherkruje. After driving for around 15 kilometers on the national motorway TiraneShkoder, turn to the left of this road and carry on driving for 1 kilometer, on you right, after about half a kilometer, you will reach the small town of Fusherkruje. Once you pass through the town center, you should continue to drive towards the east for about 16 kilometers, where you will finally get to see the enchanting medieval town. At the exit of the town of Fusherkruje, a few hundred meters on your right side, the ancient city of Albanopoli or Zgerdhesi is located, this is one of the most fascinating traces of the Albanian ancient civilization. Once you have left Zgerdhesi, on your right again, you will start to enjoy the view of Krasta Hill, a curved road with maritme pines (Pinus pinaster), which gives you the pleasure of an endless journey. At the entrance to the town of Kruja, some quarries or cement plants that are located nearby might catch your touristic attraction and might not be so pleasant, however, this is not where you will stop. Continue driving into the city, where a memorable experience is waiting for you to explore it.

Traveling to Kruja by taxi: A taxi from Tirana to Kruja will cost you between 2000 – 3000 lek, it is always better to agree on the taxi fare before getting into the taxi. Buses from Tirana to Kruja cost between 150 – 250 lek and the bus station is right in the middle of the town, minivans cost between 250 – 350 lek and you can also catch the minivans from the bus stop in Tirana. Each transportation manner will follow the same road, the road towards Shkodra from Tirana, then turn right at the turnoff for the Fushe Kruja small town (this town is famous for the George Bush disappearing watch act), remain on the main road that will twist up and lead you through the forest and then to the town of Kruja, right until you see the signs for the “kalaje” (castle).

If you want to rent your own car and travel alone to Kruja, it is best to rent the car in Tirana as there are no rent a car offices in Kruja. The tourist information office of Kruja is located inside the municipality building and can offer many leaflets, maps and guide books of Kruja. You can exchange your money at the Western Union office in the town of Kruja but most shops and restaurants will accept Euros, also.

 

 


 

UNIQUE CULTURE OF ALBANIA

The Albanian culture is an exotic blend of traditions that have evolved over thousands of years. From the ancient Illyrians and Greeks to the Romans and the Ottomans, the language, music, arts, and cuisine of the Albanian people are a rich and vibrant mix of many civilizations. Once you discover our culture, you are bound to fall in love with this new destination on the Mediterranean.

Hospitality is in our nature. Welcoming guests and ensuring their comfort is a hallmark of Albanian heritage and is epitomized by our very own Nobel Peace Prize recipient: Mother Teresa. The spirit of cooperation and friendship thrives in Albania, and it is not uncommon for guests to be invited to eat and drink with curious locals wishing to learn more about you.

Besa is a concept related to the Albanian code of honor and is an idea that is very important to the Albanian people. In the Kanun (a set of traditional Albanian laws), Besa is described as the highest authority, so essential to personal and familial standing as to be virtually a cult. Besa has been the subject of some stories and novels by Albania’s foremost modern novelist, Ismail Kadare, a Nobel Prize Candidate for Literature and winner of several international prizes. Kadare’s work has been published in over forty countries and translated into more than thirty languages, making Kadare the best ambassador of Albanian literature worldwide.

If we are speaking about the food and drinks of Albania, then we must mention the country’s deliciously-unique cuisine. It has many similarities to Turkish and Greek dishes, but offers a healthier, Mediterranean twist. Come try our wide variety of phyllo dough delicacies, including a melt-in-your-mouth sensation called byrek, or the original sweet treat known regionally as baklava.

Albania also has a long tradition of wine craftsmanship, which is lately being revived to its former glory. While you’re here, taste a sampling of our wine, produced from a rich soil that has been under cultivation since the ancient Greeks and Romans. Regardless of your culinary inclinations, we guarantee that our rich history and culinary traditions have created a menu of mouth-watering specialties for you to try.

Each region of Albania likes to specialize in its own brand of music, thus giving the music aficionado an incentive to explore the entire country in search of each community’s sense of style. For example, UNESCO has classified a type of music from southern Albania, known as Iso Polyphony, to have tremendous cultural value to humankind. Our music has even given rise to a few prominent artists of global acclaim, including opera lyric soprano, Inva Mula, and the distinguished violinist, Tedi Papavrami.

In regards to style, when you arrive in Albania, you will notice that the men take great pride in their appearance and will often don a suit and tie when in public. Even if their errands only involve a short trip to the grocery store, the men will dress to impress.

Depending upon the type of festival or time of year, you might even catch a glimpse of Albanian men in traditional folk attire. The National Folk Festival held in Gjirokastra is a prime example. This special autumn event is held once every four years and attracts artists from around the world.

The women of Albania also share a flair for style, especially at traditional Albanian weddings. At these events, the families of both the bride and groom will gather together in their finest dress and celebrate with great fervor. Weddings are often the ideal opportunity to witness the best of Albanian culture all in one event, and if you’re invited to one, the experience will undoubtedly be extraordinary.

Albanian culture is unique in many ways and we hope you’ll visit us to see it firsthand. We say ‘yes’ by shaking our head from side to side, both men and women greet each other with a kiss on either cheek, and our conversations are loud and passionate in an effort to entice others to join in. Visit Albania and discover why our culture is a new Mediterranean love.


 

MAP OF ALBANIA

map of Albania

map of Albania

PHOTO GALLERY OF KRUJA

MAP OF KRUJA