Castles and fortifications in Albania

Krujë Castle

The Krujë castle was the center of Skanderbeg"s rebellion against the Ottoman Empire. During the Albanian Revolt of 1432-1436 the city was unsuccessfully besieged by Andrea Thopia and Ottoman rule was restored. After Skanderbeg"s rebellion in 1443 the castle withstood three massive sieges from the Turks respectively in 1450, 1466 and 1467 with garrisons usually no larger than 2,000-3,000 men under Skanderbeg&qu ...
Founded: 6th century AD | Location: Krujë, Albania

Gjirokaster Fortress

Gjirokastër Castle dominates the town and overlooks the strategically important route along the river valley. It is open to visitors and contains a military museum featuring captured artillery and memorabilia of the Communist resistance against German occupation, as well as a captured United States Air Force plane to commemorate the Communist regime"s struggle against the 'imperialist' western powers. The ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Gjirokaster, Albania

Rozafa Castle

Due to its strategic location, the castle hill in Rofaza has been settled since antiquity. It was an Illyrian stronghold until it was captured by the Romans in 167 BC. The 19th-century German author and explorer Johann Georg von Hahn suggested that the ancient and medieval city of Shkodër was located immediately south of the Rozafa hill, between the hill and the confluence of Buna and Drin. The fortifications, as they ha ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Shkodër, Albania

Berat Castle

Berat Castle dates mainly from the 13th century and contains many Byzantine churches in the area and Ottoman mosques. It is built on a rocky hill on the left bank of the river Osum and is accessible only from the south. After being burned down by the Romans in 200 B.C., the walls were strengthened in the 5th century under Roman Emperor Theodosius II to protect from Barbarian incursions into the Balkans. They were su ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Berat, Albania

Tirana Castle Ruins

Fortress of Justinian or simply known as Tirana Castle dates is a remnant from the Byzantine-era. The preserved ruins show that the castle was probably founded in antiquity, maybe in the Early Byzantinum (400-600 AD). The fortress is the place where the main east-west and north-south roads crossed, and formed the heart of Tirana. The current fortification has three known towers and it is undergoing a process of restoratio ...
Founded: 400-600 AD | Location: Tirana, Albania

Durrës Fortitied Old Town

The fortified old city of Durrës was built by the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius I (r. 491–518), who came from Durrës. At the time, Anastasius made the city one of the most fortified cities on the Adriatic. The ancient walls were devastated in an earthquake in 1273, and had to be extensively repaired. Currently the medieval walls stand at nearly 4.6 meters in height and the three entrances of some of the fortification ...
Founded: 6th century AD | Location: Durrës, Albania

Porto Palermo Castle

Porto Palermo Castle was probably built by the Venetians as it could be relieved by sea and it has the same triangular plan with round towers found in the Venetian fort at Butrint. At that time the identity of its builders ought to have been clear, from a plaque above the entrance gate. This plaque is now missing but the weathering of the stones clearly shows that it has not been missing for many decades. Almost certainly ...
Founded: 16th century? | Location: Himarë, Albania

Elbasan Castle Walls

Elbasan castle is a 15th-century fortress, initially composed of 26 equidistant 9-metre high towers. The site seems to have been abandoned until the Ottoman army built a military camp there, followed by urban reconstruction under Sultan Mehmet II in 1466. Mehmet constructed a massive four-sided castle with a deep moat and three gates. He named it Elbasan, meaning "conquered country" in Turkish. He had built the ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Elbasan, Albania

Lëkurësi Castle

Lëkurësi Castle is on a strategic hill point overlooking the town of Saranda, southeast of the town centre. From here one can control the whole town as well as the islands of Ksamil. The castle was built in 1537 by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent who had attacked Corfu and needed to control the harbor of Saranda and the road that connected it with Butrint. The region traditionally belonged to the southern part of the r ...
Founded: 1537 | Location: Sarandë, Albania

Venetian Triangle Fortress

The dogal Republic of Venice purchased the area of Butrint including Corfu from the Angevins in 1386; however, the Venetian merchants were principally interested in Corfu and Buthrotum once again declined. The Venetians began to invest in Butrint in the late 15th century, which seems a likely date for the Triangular Fortress construction. Musket ports opened at both ground level and along the parapet walk. Vaulted storero ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Sarandë, Albania

Petrelë Castle

The castle of Petrelë has a rich history, containing a tower which was built in the 6th century AD. It is one of the tourist locations close to Tirana that attracts a great number of visitors. The Castle, the prominent wooden structure is a restaurant, is perched on a rocky hill, above the village with the same name. It has a triangular shape with two observation towers. Although it was first built in ancient times, ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Petrelë, Albania

Rodoni Castle

Rodoni Castle is located on the Cape of Rodon. After the victorious First Siege of Krujë the League of Lezhë decided to increase the fortifications for use against the Ottoman Empire. Skanderbeg chose the cape of Rodon as the location of the castle and construction began in 1450. The walls of the castle that was completed in approximately 1452 had a length of 400 metres. When the Siege of Krujë started in 1466 Skanderb ...
Founded: 1450 | Location: Shetaj, Albania

Kaninë Castle

Kaninë castle was built in the village with the same name which is about 6 kilometres from Vlorë. The castle rises on the side of the Shushica Mountain, about 380 metres above sea level. The castle was built on the site of an ancient settlement, one of the oldest in the Vlora region. The castle is believed to have been erected in the 3rd century BCE. In the 4th century BCE. the castle was transformed into a fortress tow ...
Founded: 6th century AD | Location: Vlorë, Albania

Prezë Castle

The Prezë Castle overlooks the village with the same name and is located on a hilltop. It is a small castle the construction of which started in the 14th century and was completed in the early 15th century and belonged to the Thopias, a local feudal family. During 1443-1468 it was one of the core strongholds of the Albanian resistance against the Ottomans led by Skanderbeg. The castle has been declared a "m ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Vorë, Albania

Drisht Castle

Drisht Castle is a ruined castle above the modern Albanian village of Drisht, medieval Drivastum. The earliest traces of fortifications date to the late Neolithic era. In the 9th century, it was part of the defences of the Zeta principality. Part of castle was built in the 13th century during the Byzantine rule. The current walls and towers date to 1396–1478 during the Venetian era. In the 14th century the castle becam ...
Founded: 1396-1478 | Location: Postribë, Albania

Peqin Castle

In the Roman times the city of Peqin was known by the name of Clodiana, an Illyrian-inhabited territory. The foundations of the castle are thought to date from the Roman period, the time of the construction of the Via Egnatia. Its walls at one point had a height of around 12 metres. The castle was later rebuilt and expanded during the Turkish occupation of Albania, at which time it was passed into the control of the Sipah ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Peqin, Albania

Ali Pasha Castle

Ali Pasha Castle is named after Ali Pasha of Tepelenë who resided there until 1820. The current fortress was rebuilt in 1819 from its surface with 3 towers. Built under Venetian dominion in the late 15th or early 16th century, it provided a stronghold for the Venetians on Corfu to exploit fishing, grazing, olives and timber in and around Butrint. The castle was the centrepiece of numerous conflicts with the burgeoni ...
Founded: 1819 | Location: Sarandë, Albania

Borsh Castle

Borsh Castle (also known as Sopot Castle) dates from Antiquity, and its fortifications follow the trace of an acropolis, with four subsequent phases of reconstruction, ranging from the early Byzantine period to the late Middle Ages. The site is first mentioned in the early 13th century, when archbishop Demetrios Chomatenos wrote of the 'archonship of Sopotos', part of the region of Vagenetia. In 1258, the D ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Borsh, Albania

Gjon Bocari Castle

The castle was built by the Boçari family, one of the principal Albanian families of Tragjas, in the 16th and expanded in the 17th century. Modern members of the family include Markos Botsaris, Katerina Botsari Kito Bocari, Gëzim and Ismail Boçari. The fortification features arrowslits for artillery openings in the walls. The northern and eastern corners of the castle feature large towers. The stone walls form a rectan ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Tragjas, Albania

Ishëm Castle

Ishëm Castle was built from 1572 to 1574 by Ottomans to stop the peasant rebellions. The Albanian painter Ibrahim Kodra was buried in front of it.
Founded: 1572-1574 | Location: Ishëm, Albania

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

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Augustusburg Palace

Augustusburg Palace represents one of the first examples of Rococo creations in Germany. For the Cologne elector and archbishop Clemens August of the House of Wittelsbach it was the favourite residence. In 1725 the Westphalian architect Johann Conrad Schlaun was commissioned by Clemens August to begin the construction of the palace on the ruins of a medieval moated castle.

In 1728, the Bavarian court architect François de Cuvilliés took over and made the palace into one of the most glorious residences of its time. Until its completion in 1768, numerous outstanding artists of European renown contributed to its beauty. A prime example of the calibre of artists employed here is Balthasar Neumann, who created the design for the magnificent staircase, an enchanting creation full of dynamism and elegance. The magical interplay of architecture, sculpture, painting and garden design made the Brühl Palaces a masterpiece of German Rococo.

UNESCO honoured history and present of the Rococo Palaces by inscribing Augustusburg Palace – together with Falkenlust Palace and their extensive gardens – on the World Heritage List in 1984. From 1949 onwards, Augustusburg Palace was used for representative purposes by the German Federal President and the Federal Government for many decades.

In 1728, Dominique Girard designed the palace gardens according to French models. Owing to constant renovation and care, it is today one of the most authentic examples of 18th century garden design in Europe. Next to the Baroque gardens, Peter Joseph Lenné redesigned the forested areas based on English landscaping models. Today it is a wonderful place to have a walk.