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 have been preserved to date, are mostly of Venetian origin. The castle has been the site of several famous sieges, including the siege of Shkodra by the Ottomans in 1478 and the siege of Shkodra by the Montenegrins in 1912. The castle and its surroundings form an Archaeological Park of Albania.

The castle comprises of three main courtyards, making it easily navigable. Once you enter the fortified 15th-century main entrance, you come to a first courtyard, where the 4th-century tract of the Illyrian wall, the oldest structure in the castle grounds, is found. Along the first courtyard, you’ll also find medieval ruins of cisterns, the towers of the Balshaj, and the former Venetian residences.

In the second courtyard are the ruins of the Church of St. Stephen, which is now a mosque, and is certainly deserving some special attention. Originally the church was built in the romantic style commonly found between the 13th and 15th centuries, and was later transformed into the Sultan Mehmet Fatih Mosque during the reign of the Ottoman Empire, between the 16th and 19th centuries. During this time, the Catholic population abandoned the castle, as the space came to be used as a military base.

Today, the ruins of this church-mosque, which was ultimately abandoned in 1865, symbolize the passage of history that ran through Albania. The third and final courtyard of the castle holds a three-story Venetian building, known as the “Capitol”, which served as the residence of the Venetian ruler. Inside this building, the Castle of Shkodra Museum tells of the 4000-year-old castle, including the most renowned medieval families of the city. Information about the castle is provided in Albanian and English.

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Founded: 15th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Albania

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Savo Vukoslavovic (2 months ago)
A lot of beautiful fortification, a lot of history in one place. One star goes because of the employee at the entrance who stole us for tickets, charged us 3.5e per person and issued us tickets for 1e per person, we of course did not immediately notice only when we went out, it is sad that people who steal tourists work in such a beautiful place and therefore inflict a bad image on their city and country
Na Sa (3 months ago)
There was a very beautiful view there. It's worth going to simply breathe in the delicious air. I went on Saturday but there weren't many people. It is faster to drive to the ticket office. There are few parking space. The ticket was 400 lek per person. It's a difficult road to walk, so it's best to wear it in an easy-to-move style. The male staff at the entrance will welcome you in a friendly manner.
MIDHUN RAJ (3 months ago)
Try to go by 9' o clock in the morning. The view from the top is awesome. You will like it even if you are not a fan of historical architectures.
Tomaz Kopac (3 months ago)
The castle is nice, but since it is not free i would expect a bit more informations or guidance. The road to the top is a bit silly, but it gives the impression of the medieval time. Otherwise the castle is big and it serves good views.
Dave Pickering (4 months ago)
Fascinating place, more extensive than expected. Much of the walls structure in very good condition. Absolutely superb views in all directions. Cobbled 'streets' and paths certainly add to the overall character, but can be very slippery when wet, especially so on sloped section. 400 Lek per person entry fee, with concessions for family groups and students.
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