The city was returned to Albanian control as the feudal principality of the Balshaj during the 14th century and served as the municipal center of the Bushatllinj Pashallëk from 1757 to 1831. Shkodra is rich in cultural heritage; the city itself as well as the people bears the pride that the large number of artists, musicians, painters, photographers, poets, and writers born here strove to create. Shkodra’s main tourist attraction is Rozafa Castle. Rising majestically upon a rocky hill west of the city, the outcroppings and battlements paint a blazing picture against the setting sun.
It is surrounded by the waters of three rivers; the Drini, Buna, and Kiri. Much like the town it protected, the castle has Illyrian origins. According to the historian Tit Liri, “it was the strongest area of the Labeats.” Like all ancient works, the castle comes with a popular local legend.
Historians tell us a less enchanting and more scientific background of the castle’s characteristics. It reflects the dominion of the Balshaj family but passed through enough other ruling periods that each left their own signs and markings on the grounds, including a distinct Venetian flare, some Ottoman architecture from the 16th and 17th centuries, and even a few modifications from the Bushatllinj family during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Within the castle walls is a museum where a discerning lover of antiquities could spend a comfortable afternoon reading more of the history, and a restaurant has been added to showcase local food and traditional dress.
There’s a specific neighborhood in Shkoder named “Gjuhadol” (pronounced as Ghiuhadol), located right behind the main pedonale street, where authentic elements of the architecture of the city are still present. It is also one of the oldest neighborhoods, but recently has become a hip destination, due to the fact that some hipster bars and hostels are located there.
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||Hotel Pick Up & Drop Off, Tirane, Albania|
|DEPARTURE TIME||Multiple departures times & locations available from Monday to Sunday|
|RETURN TIME||4-6 Hours Daily Tour|
Kafja e Madhe (Grand Cafe) is an old building located in the center of the city. It is a creation of the artist Kole Idromeno, but has been closed for restoration for the last couple of years. Nevertheless, it is an artifact that testifies for the uprising cultural level of the city.