Medieval castles 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

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

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

Bashtovë Fortress

The Fortress of Bashtovë is a medieval quadrangular fortress located on a fertile flat ground east of the mouth of the Shkumbin River.  Previously in the Middle Ages, the region of Boshtovë was known as a trade harbor and otherwise centre for the export of grains. The origin of the fortress has been for some time a matter of dispute among historians. The initial fortress was constructed during the time when the region ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Vilë-Boshtovë, 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

Kardhiq Castle

Kardhiq Castle is a ruined hill fortress first mentioned in the 1431–32 register of the Sanjak of Albania. The castle has five towers, two of which are of polygonal form and similar to other castles of Ali Pasha. The width of the walls, which feature turrets, is about 1.7 metres.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Kardhiq, Albania

Lezhë Castle

Lezhë Castle dominates the city of Lezhë, northern Albania. The castle originates from Illyrian times. In 1440 it was reconstructed by the Venetians, and in 1522, after the Ottoman conquest, it was also rebuilt by the latter. The castle bears traces of Illyrian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman architecture. Interesting places to visit are the ruins of the Ottoman buildings inside the castle, the mosque, the tower of the s ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Lezhë, Albania

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Stavanger Cathedral

Stavanger Cathedral is Norway's oldest cathedral. Bishop Reinald, who may have come from Winchester, is said to have started construction of the Cathedral around 1100. It was finished around 1150, and the city of Stavanger counts 1125 as its year of foundation. The Cathedral was consecrated to Swithin as its patron saint. Saint Swithun was an early Bishop of Winchester and subsequently patron saint of Winchester Cathedral. Stavanger was ravaged by fire in 1272, and the Cathedral suffered heavy damage. It was rebuilt under bishop Arne, and the Romanesque Cathedral was enlarged in the Gothic style.

In 1682, king Christian V decided to move Stavanger's episcopal seat to Kristiansand. However, on Stavanger's 800th anniversary in 1925, king Haakon VII instated Jacob Christian Petersen as Stavanger's first bishop in nearly 250 years.During a renovation in the 1860s, the Cathedral's exterior and interior was considerably altered. The stone walls were plastered, and the Cathedral lost much of its medieval looks. A major restoration led by Gerhard Fischer in 1939-1964 partly reversed those changes. The latest major restoration of the Cathedral was conducted in 1999. Andrew Lawrenceson Smith is famous for his works here.