Rozafa Castle is one of the most important sights in the south of the northern Albanian city of Shkodra, which is considered one of the oldest localities in the country. The impressive fortress, which was built directly on a rock, sits enthroned on a 130 meter high hill directly between the two rivers Buna and Drin. The castle was built in the 4th century BC. Built by the Illyrians. The area was inhabited until the end of the 17th century, including by the Turks, who were able to take the coveted area at the end of the 15th century. Some buildings on the extensive area and the massive outer wall are still well preserved – of other buildings, however, only the ruins can be visited. The castle grounds can be reached through several gates. In total, the site consists of three courtyards,
Breathtaking view of Shkodra
Today there is a small museum and a restaurant with typical dishes and drinks on the site. The outer wall of the castle can also be climbed in some places. from here you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the city of Shkodra and the nearby Skadar Lake. Every year thousands of locals and tourists from all over the world visit Rozafa Castle, which should not be missing on any trip to the region, to discover the traces of the Albanian past.
National Historical Museum in Tirana – Albania
If you are on a study trip and visit Albania, you will also make a detour to the capital Tirana. A visit to the National Historical Museum is recommended. Located in the heart of Tirana, the building impresses from afar with an oversized mosaic. With a size of 440 square meters, it adorns the outer wall above the entrance. The history of Albania is exhibited here in an impressive manner. It shows the victory of the Albanian people over any occupying powers and their way to independence.
The famous goddess von Butrint and the Belle von Durrës, a huge mosaic of a woman’s head, are exhibited on the lower floor. Both exhibits are among the most beautiful exhibits in the museum. Furthermore, art objects from the prehistoric, ancient and Roman epochs can be viewed on this floor. Grave tablets and amphorae from the Hellenistic period cast a spell over the visitor, as do the valuable icons of Mary and Christ. In total, the museum houses 65 invaluable icons.
Maps illustrate the time in the Middle Ages and the role of Albania in the resistance against the Ottoman Empire. Albania’s national hero Skanderbeg stands majestically in the room as an oversized bronze statue. In the 15th century he defended Albania against the Ottomans and gained world fame. His influence and work at that time is shown on paintings. In the exhibition room for folklore, the visitor can admire the colorful folk costumes of the various minorities of Albania.
On the upper floor, the dark history of the Second World War and the resistance movement of the Albanians are the subject of the exhibition. Another room shows the suffering of the people after the war under the rule of Hodja. Through display boards, personal items and replicas of a prison cell, visitors are shown the time under the communist dictatorship and the mass murder that was carried out at first hand.
A complete exhibition room is dedicated to the life and work of Mother Theresa. Personal objects, photos and display boards about the excellent work of the religious sister of Albanian origin show a very intimate picture of her life.
To the east of Albania’s capital Tirana is the Dajti National Park. It appears as a predominantly wooded, mountainous highland, in the core zone of which the 1,613 meter high Dajti mountain and some of its secondary peaks rise.
The Dajti as Tirana’s local mountain
Dajti has been a popular destination in the area of Tirana since 2005 at the latest. Because this year Albania received its first cable car, which from now on replaces the relatively arduous ascent on foot or a long journey on the narrow and winding mountain road with a 15-minute ride in a cabin of the cable car. The cable car starts on the outskirts of Tirana and after a flat slope overcomes a high rock face. Above this, at an altitude of 1,050 m, is the mountain station of the cable car, which is located on Fusha e Daitit, an elongated plain with a few small restaurants and several barbecue areas. The locals like to call it the “Balcony of Tirana” because of the magnificent view of the city.
Leisure activities around the Dajti
If you are on a trip or study trip to the Tirana region, you can explore the national park around the Dajti on the hiking trails that start near the mountain station of the cable car or climb on a summit adjacent to the Dajti. Unfortunately, its own summit region can only be entered to a limited extent, as a restricted military area around the transmitter restricts freedom of movement. Especially when roaming the forest areas facing away from the city, there is a chance not only of encountering wild boars or a fox, but also of a shy wildcat or a sedate brown bear. While paragliders take off from the mountain slopes in summer, numerous winter sports enthusiasts cavort here in winter.