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.References:
The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.