Rozafa Castle

Shkodër, Albania

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


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Daan van de Repe (2 years ago)
This castle lies on top of a small mountain and grants spectacular views. Entry fee is reasonable and it's very easy to reach. I just missed a guide who could tell more about the history, or some pictures of how it used to be. Now it's just some impressive old rocks you wander about while having nice views
Ioannis Papageorgiou (2 years ago)
A nice castle, easily accessible with free parking close to the entrance. A ticket of 400Lek (adults) is logical but there is an extra fee (400Lek) to visit a museum within. It doesn’t look right. A kiosk to find ice creams, soft drinks and sth to eat but the prices quite above the average while the toilets disgusting. Avoid them. Amazing 360 view. If you visit the city its worth visiting it.
Margherita Trani (2 years ago)
Only ruins but a beautiful view. The ticket costs 400 lek for adults. Those aged 0-12 enter for free. There's a museum inside ( you have to pay another ticket!). There's also a bar. If you need the toilet into the bar you have to pay another ticket.. you can eat and buy drinks (no prices exposed) but if you ask to use the toilet you have to pay again.... Parking is very small but it's in front of the entrance and it's free.
José Calderón (2 years ago)
This castle is a beautiful monument where you can appreciate unique panorama views from the city, the lake and the river. There are barely restricted areas so you feel free to discover the castle by yourself. It would help if there were more signs describing the history tho. If you come during the day don't forget to bring water, comfortable shoes and maybe some snacks (always take your trash with you) and cash to pay the entrance. Highly recommended to come here and spend some time
Savo Vukoslavovic (2 years 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
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