Monasteries in Albania

Ardenica Monastery

Built by Byzantine Emperor, Andronikos II Palaiologos in 1282 after the victory against the Angevins in the Siege of Berat, the Ardenica Monastery is famous as the place where, in 1451, was celebrated the marriage of Skanderbeg, the national hero of Albania, with Andronika Arianiti. In 1780 the Monastery started a theological school to prepare clerics in Greek Orthodoxy. It had an important library with 32,000 volumes tha ...
Founded: 1282 | Location: Qarku i Fierit, Albania

St. Mary's Church

The St. Mary"s Church is an Eastern Orthodox church and monastery in Elbasan, Albania. The church"s building started in 1483, but it ended almost a century later: the church had its first religious services only in 1556. It was built entirely in stone in a completely particular way, with stones carved in the shape of a cross, which can still be seen today. The church was frescoed by Onufri and restaured by David ...
Founded: 1483 | Location: Elbasan, Albania

Shirgj Church

The Shirgj Church was built in 1290 by Helen of Anjou, queen consort of the Serbian Kingdom, wife of Serbian king Stefan Uroš I, and mother of kings Dragutin and Milutin. Apparently the monastery was constructed on top of an existing structure: according to apocryphal documents, the original monastery is mentioned as erected by Justinian, whereas in other sources its existence is mentioned as an abbey starting from 1100. ...
Founded: 1290 | Location: Shkodër, Albania

St. John the Baptist's Monastery

According to the donor"s inscription, the church inside the St. John the Baptist"s Monastery was built in 1632 and painted in 1659. Today the monastery is declared a Cultural Monument of Albania. The monastery includes the church as well as two other buildings which were part of the monastery. The church has dimensions of 17m x 7.65 X 9m. The frescoes are preserved and in a good afresket and worked with componen ...
Founded: 1632 | Location: Moscopole, Albania

Dhuvjan Monastery

The Dhuvjan Monastery is traditionally dated to the 6th century, however, this has been contested due to notes left by a former monk working in the monastery, who alleged that the monastery was built in 1089. The monastery is devoted to the Virgin Mary. It underwent restoration in the 1960s and was elevated to the status of cultural monument by the Albanian government in 1963. However, another restoration project is nee ...
Founded: 1089 | Location: Dhuvjan, Albania

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hochosterwitz Castle

Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.

The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.

In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.

Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.

About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.

Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.

A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.