Saint Nicholas Church

Lezhë, Albania

The Church of Saint Nicholas, former Selimije Mosque, is a ruined historic church and mosque where the remains of Skanderbeg are said to be preserved in Lezhë, Albania. It is now used as Skanderbeg's Mausoleum.

Originally, the building was a church, named after Saint Nicholas. Until this day, a fresco of the saint is still present in the remains of the church, although heavily damaged. The Church was located in the interior part of a Illyrian City which was later reconstructed by the Romans, in the 1st century BC. Evidence for this is the 'Gaviarius' Stone in front of the entrance, which was unearthed during the Archaeological Excavations in 1975-1980 by Frano Prendi and Koço Zheku.

When the Ottomans conquered Albania, they plundered the church and turned it into a mosque, by adding a dikka, a mihrab and a large minaret. The mosque was named after the OttomanSultan Selim I. The trouble that Skanderbeg caused to the Ottoman Empire's military forces was such that when the Ottomans found the grave of Skanderbeg in the St. Nicolas they opened it and made amulets of his bones, believing that these would confer bravery on the wearer. The St. Nicolas' Church was rebuilt by the Ottomans elsewhere in return as a gesture of tolerance towards Christians.

The Selimiye mosque was one of the last buildings from the Middle Ages in Lezhë and did not survive during the dictatorship of Enver Hoxha, who destroyed all mosques in Lezhë. The minaret of the Selimie mosque was torn down. In 1981, the Skanderbeg Mausoleum opened here.

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Details

Founded: 1459
Category: Religious sites in Albania

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Gerry Cowan (9 months ago)
Beautiful church well worth visiting
Brian Kennan (10 months ago)
If the gate is locked and you can't access it from the Francis Street side, then follow the side streets around the back and you will be able to get full access.
mary skehill (13 months ago)
Really memorable. So clean and everything cared for. Obviously people very caring of their church. Old and Beautiful
Aine O'Beirne (14 months ago)
Beautiful church with some beautiful statues and artwork. It's a tad hard to find as it's set back from the street. Just look for the tall black railings and it's behind there. The priest who said the funeral mass was lovely. Warm, compassionate and friendly.
Pauline Goodwin (16 months ago)
Lovely church great service
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