GUIDED • Half Day • €25 per person
I, Florian, am a native Albanian, born and raised in Shkodër, the northern corner of this country. With soaring mountains, pristine lakes and a turquoise ocean nearby, this area is a place of indescribable beauty. As a child, I lived under the communist regime and was forced to worship the Premier, Enver Hoxcha, at school. I lived through the arrival of democracy and the subsequent civil war of 1997, where I, armed with a Kalashnikov, personally guarded my family’s farm through the night against looters. My city is culturally rich, replete with churches and mosques, fortresses and flourishing gardens. Over the past thirty years I’ve watched new cultural layers accumulate. I have a close relationship with the land through our family farm where we keep animals and grow our own grapes to make wine and Rakyi. I’m deeply in touch with the tides of history that course through this city, mirroring the hundreds of tributaries that course into nearby Lake Shkodra; gentle on the surface, but roiling with the currents of the past underneath.
Shkodër is situated on a lush plain that straddles the land between the nearby lake and the mountains, which are both easily reached from the city. The city is 3000 years old and is one of the oldest in Europe. It was occupied successively by the Illyrians, Romans, Slavs and Ottomans, before being won by the Albanians for the first time at the turn of the 20th century. After nearly half a century of oppression under communism, my city emerged bold and vibrant. Sharing the unwritten history of my city – through tours, fables and stories – is my passion. I want to share this with you.
Starting with a pick-up from your hotel or guesthouse, our professional tour guide will take you to the most important sites around the city.
- Rozafa Castle – Set on a rocky hill approximately 130 meters above sea level, this imposing fortress has beautiful views of Shkodër and the surrounding areas from each of its 3 “yards.” It was built by the Illyrians and is more than 1,000 years old.
- Mesi Bridge – Built in the 18th century by Kara Mahmud Bushati, a local Ottoman Pasha. This bridge is often referred to as the “Lord of the Rings Bridge.” It is one of the longest Ottoman bridges in the area and spans the Kir River.
- Communist Jail – During Albania’s Communist Era (1946-1992), numerous prisons and internment camps were created throughout the country confining individuals considered to be a threat to the regime. Like their counterparts elsewhere in the country, most of the prisoners in Shkodër’s Communist Jail were primarily Catholic priests, clergy, Muslim imams, academics and political prisoners. In total, it is estimated that 5,548 individuals were executed in the country during this time. To learn more about life for everyday Albanians during this difficult period of history, visit this website which details restrictions on everything from eating to clothing and transportation.
- Marubi Permanent Photo Exhibition – The first ever photograph taken of Albania is on display at this interesting exhibition. It shares depictions of various Albanian places of importance, events and portraits.
- Lunch Break – We will have a 70-minute break for lunch.
€25 per person
There is a minimum of 3 people required for this tour.
What to Bring
Snacks and Water