One of the oldest cities in the country, its first name was Lissitan that generates from the Illyrian old name LIS. This antique city is situated in north-west of Albania, where the River Drin ends its flow path all around Albania, and connects to the Adriatic Sea and forms what is called the Gulf of Drin.
From the geometrical and ecological point of view the city of Lezha constitutes a wonderful kaleidoscope of the nature, where the mountain, the field, the forest, the archaeological and historical monument, the lagoon and the sea form a distinct altogether. In ancient time Lezha was protected by very high and thick fortifications, making the city very difficult to be conquered. A very peculiar fact about this antique city is that the great Roman Emperor, Julius César, during one of his trips, choose Lezha for some rest before starting his journey off.
Due to its favorable coastal position Lezha has functioned as river harbor for trading exchange and to enable shifting of military ship.
Unlike the city of Shkodra Lezha is smaller, but what makes is a great city is its amazing history. In the 15th century Albania national hero, Gjergj Kastrioti Skenderbeu, assembled the Lezha Assembly or otherwise called Lezha Covenant “Beselidhja a Lezhes”, where all Albanian prices pledge to fight hand in hand against the Ottoman occupation. They formed a joint army and a joint budget. Inside the city, close to the river shore you’ll have the chance to get fascinated by the majestic tomb of the National Hero.
Gjergj Kastrioti died and was buried here. The walls of his tomb were in fact the remaining of an old church and the tomb lies beneath the church. A big statue of the hero stands proud at the top of the church’s space. Today the tomb has turned into a pilgrimage site.
What makes Lezha a distinct destination to visit, is its Illyrian Castle situated at the top of a hill, 186 meters high that dominates the whole city. It dates back more than 2000 years BC and overlooks the Drin River, the Adriatic Sea and the field of Lezha.
Since it is a coastal city the beautiful beaches of Lezha, Shengjin and Kune are located 8 km far from the city. They are rich of flora and fauna. What’s so special about these beaches is the healthy sand and crystal water. One of the most frequented beach by locals and many foreign visitors is “Rana e Hedhun” “The thrown sand”.
In spite of being characterized for its religious tolerance, Lezha is also well known as the Poets City, since many prominent Albanian writers are born here transforming the city into as rich intellectual and artistic value for the entire country.