Weekend in Lezhe & Shkoder

Posted By : Niku/ 490

The city of Lezha is located 47 km south of Shkodra. It is one of Albania’s ancient cities, and in the historical documents it is mostly referred by the name Lissus. In 1398, after the construction of its castle, the city was under direct control of the feudal family of Lekë Dukagjini, but was eventually conquered by Venice. One of the most important historical events for Lezha, and indeed for all of Albania, was the famed “the League of Lezha” on March 2nd, 1444, where under the leadership of national hero Skanderbeg, the Albanian princedoms united against the Ottomans. The Memorial Grave of Skanderbeg is here, at the ex-Cathedral of Shën Kolli, where he was buried in 1468. The Castle of Lezha, another Illyrian monument, is situated on the top of the hill overlooking the city below. Inside the castle, ruins of an Ottoman mosque Roman Arch, and an Illyrian Tower all rest together for the ages. Only a few minutes from the city, at the foot of the Mount Renci, it is found the sandy beach of Shëngjin. The sunny beach. Shëngjini boasts a long and colorful history, known as both “Cesarean” and “Nympheum” in past centuries. It was here that the Roman general Marcus Aurelius embarked with his fleet in order to chase Pompey during the civil war that he and Julius Caesar engaged in.

Apart from being a historic centre, Shkodra has always been a centre of education, culture and trade. It has always developed and maintained links to the West, especially to Italy and Austria. Shkodra is also the centre of Albanian Catholicism as well as a fine example of tolerance between religions, with the city comprising all the major faiths found in Albania.

Shkodra known as the “capital of north Albania” is one of the oldest cities in the country, founded in the 4th century B.C. as the center of the Labeat tribe of Illyrians. Shkodra has been occupied several times throughout history. First by the Romans (168 B.C.), then the Serbians (1040), the Venetians (1396), and finally by the Ottomans (1479). The city 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 with 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.”

Highlights of the tour

  • Lezha Castle
  • Scanderbeg Mausoleum.
  • Rozafa Castle.
  • Shkodra Lake.
  • Shkodra’s Old Quarter
  • Drini & Buna Rivers Intersection

Itinerary

Meeting and greeting with the group at hotel lobby and then drive to Lezha, approx. 60 km from Tirana. We start the program with a visit to the castle of Lezha,, with a panoramic view of the city below, the lagoon and the Adriatic coastal line. Then we proceed to Scanderbeg’s Mausoleum and then departure to Shkodra. Stop for lunch on the way to Shkodra. Accomodation at hotel and free time to explore the city’s old streets, characteristic shops and the famous church and mosque of Shkodra. Overnight in Shkoder. Next morning we start the program with a visit to Rozafa Castle, famous for its legend. The view from the castle covers the intersection of Drini and Buna rivers. Then we depart for lunch by the lake side, in one of the characteristic fishermen villages of Shkodra. After lunch departure to Tirana. End of the program.

Price includes: Transport with comfortable couch, hotel accomodation, professional guide throughout the program.

Entrance fees, where applicable, are not included. Food, drinks and tips not included.

Full Day Tour of Kruja

Posted By : Niku/ 362

Kruja (alb. Krujë) is a medieval town located 32 km northwest of Tirana and 20 minutes by car from the international Airport of Rinas. It is built 560 meters above sea level, on the slopes of Sari-Salltiku mountain. The name of Kruja derives from the Albanian word krua, meaning ‘water spring’. The citadel have become the main Illyrian fortress in the area in the 4th century AD. In the year 879, Kruja was mentioned for the first time as a Christian religious center. The first Albanian feudal state was created here circa 1190.The ottomans occupied Kruja two times, in 1396 and 1415. Town reached its zenith on the 28th of November 1443 when the Kruja castle was taken by Gjergj Kastrioti (Skanderbeg), who then organized the long anti-Ottoman resistance. From this time on, under the leadership of Skanderbeg, Kruja repelled three Ottoman sieges in 1450, 1457 and 1466. Only ten years after the death of Skanderbeg, in 1478, were the Ottomans able to capture the castle and destroy the town.

Highlights of the tour

  • Kruja Castle.
  • Scanderbeg Museum.
  • Ethnographic Museum.
  • Old Town Bazaar.
  • The Old Hamam.
  • The Sari-Saltik Holy Site.

Meeting and greeting with the group at the hotel lobby and then drive to Kruje, approx. 30 km from Tirana. The program starts with a visit at the Scanderbeg Museum and the remaining parts of the old castle. We continue with the Ethnographic Museum and after that, free time to explore the old bazaar to buy souvenirs. Then we drive to the top of the mountain, to Sari Saltik holy place to enjoy the scenery. Lunch on the way back down the mountain. End of the tour.
Entrance fees, where applicable, are not included. Food, drinks and tips not included.

Full Day Tour of Berat

Posted By : Niku/ 359

Berat – 2400 year old town located in southcentral Albania is known as “the town of a thousand windows, also the Museum City”. It is one of the oldest and most beautiful towns of Albania, with a settlement having existed there since at least the 6th century BC, when it was a fortress-settlement of the Greek Dassaretae tribe on the old border between Illyria and Epirus. The old town was inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage List in July 2008. Berat lies on the right bank of the river Osum, a short distance from the point where it is joined by the Molisht river. The Osumi river has cut a 915-metre deep gorge through the limestone rock on the west side of the valley to form a precipitous natural fortress, around which the town was built on several river terraces. It is remarkable Ottoman town, with a wealth of beautiful buildings of the highest architectural and historical interest. According to legend, the Tomorr mountain was originally a giant, who fought with another giant, called Shpirag over a young woman. They killed each other and the girl drowned in her tears, which then became the Osum river.

Highlights of the tour

  • The Old Quarters of Mangalem and Gorica.
  • Berat Castle.
  • Ethnographic & Onufri Museum.
  • The city’s beautiful mosques and churches.
  • The Bridge of Gorica.

Meeting and greeting with the group at the hotel lobby and then drive to Berat, approx. 70 km from Tirana. The program starts with a visit at the old quarters of Mangalemi and Gorica where we will see the famous old bridge of Gorica too. We stop for a short break to enjoy the scenery and the thousand windows of the old city. Then we proceed to the castle where we will visit the Ethnographic Museum, the Onufri Museum, the various churches and the mosque. Then we will visit the rest of the castle. After that, we descend toward city center where we will visit the city’s cathedral and to finish this amazing tour with a meal from the traditional tasty cuisine of Berat. End of the tour.
Entrance fees, where applicable, are not included. Food, drinks and tips not included.