The National Museum of History of Albania was opened in 1981. Above the entrance of the museum is a large mural mosaic titled The Albanians that depicts purported ancient to modern figures from Albania's history. The museum includes the following pavilions, the Pavilion of Antiquity, Middle Ages, Renaissance, Independence, Iconography, National Liberation Antifascist War, Communist Terror, and Mother Teresa.
The Pavilion of Antiquity is the most important and one of the richest with objects in the National Historical Museum, with 585 objects. The displayed objects start with the Late Paleolithic, where prehistoric culture is proved lively and powerful in our lands, and ends with objects belonging to the Early Middle Ages (4th to 8th centuries). The objects of the prehistoric settlement of Maliq represent the Neolithic flourishing since the middle of the fourth millennium until about 2600 BC.
The exhibited objects and the coins of silver and bronze embossed on behalf of the Illyrian kings of the centers of Durrës, Apollonia, Shkodër, Byllis and Amantia, discovered in the provinces of South Illyria of the 4th to 3rd centuries BC, indicate a strong economy and urban Illyrian culture in general. Impressive are sculptures of the Apolloniates school or God Apollo, one of the most beautiful sculptures of the time (6th century BC). Quite interesting are: the mosaic of the 'Beauty of Durres' (4th century BC), the head of Artemis (3rd century BC), the anthropomorphic appearance of river Vjosa (3rd or 2nd century BC), the head of a man of limestone (5th century AD), vases decorated with red figures, and others. The findings of Monumental Tomb of Lower Selca, Pogradec (3rd century AD) occupy an important place.
In the Pavilion of the Middle Ages, visitors have access to the economic, social, political and cultural development of Albanians from the 6th century until the 15th. A special corner in this pavilion is dedicated to the Principality of Arber. The handover of power from Skuraj to Topiaj is expressed in the heraldic emblem of Karl Topia located in the monumental portal of the monastery of John Vladimir in Elbasan. A special object of the Pavilion of the Middle Ages is the Epitaph of Gllavenica, which dates back to the year 1373. With photos, documents and objects is given the resistance against the Ottoman occupation of Albanians, as well as key economic developments, political and social life of the country through maps, engravings of the time and quite original publications, the visitor knows Skanderbeg, who personifies the Struggle of the Albanians against the Ottoman Occupation.
The Renaissance Pavilion is one of the richest with original objects, documents, books, photographs, national flags, weapons, banknotes, and other cultural objects. Most of the objects are unique to the national history and culture of the Albanians. The objects displayed in the showcases of the pavilion during the period from the mid-19th century until 1912. An object with national value is the flag of the patriotic Society 'Desire' of the Albanian colony of Sofia in Bulgaria. Visitors have the opportunity to look closely the desk and the collection of books that are there, of one of the most prominent ideologists of the Albanian national ideology Sami Frasheri (1825-1904).
The Pavilion of Independence reflects the key historical moments after the Declaration of Independence in 1912 until 1939. The Declaration (Proclamation) of Independence of Albania from the National Assembly of Vlora on 28 November 1912 and subsequently the formation of the Provisional Government of Albania constitute two important acts of the Albanian national state. In the areas of this pavilion is reflected the Conference of Ambassadors in London (1912-1913). The short reign of Prince Wied in Albania in 1914 marks an important moment in the history of the establishment of the foundations of the Albanian state. The political clashes between the country's governing elite culminated in the movement of June 1924 led by Fan Noli. In the areas of this pavilion is the corner dedicated the patriotic contribution of Fan S. Noli one of the outstanding figures in the history of the Albanian nation and the state of the 20th century.
A collection of 70 items of the Post-Byzantine art in Albania: icons, a proskynetarion, some pairs of Holy Doors and an iconostasis are on display in this pavilion. These objects belonged to different churches in Albania: Gjirokastra, Elbasani, Fieri, Berati etc., dating from the 16th century until the early 19th century. Almost all the best painters who have left impressive works in the churches of Albania, Macedonia and Greece, such as: Onufri, Onufër Qiprioti, David Selenica, Kostandin Shpataraku, Kostandin Jeromonaku, the Zografi brothers, the Çetiri brothers, and Mihal Anagnosti are represented in this pavilion. The iconostasis (altar screen decorated with icons) comes from the church of the monastery of Saint John Vladimir in Elbasan.
This pavilion, through its 220 objects, reflects the events starting from the War of Vlora in 1920 until the end of World War II in 1945. It shows the reaction of several Albanian intellectuals in the 1920s and 30s against the rise to power in Italy of fascism. Chronologically, the pavilion displays the ensuing events related to the installation of the fascist regime in Albania on 7 April 1939 and the beginning of organized antifascist resistance. The Albanian volunteers who took part in the War of Spain have their place in this pavilion too. There are also many relics from national martyrs and heroes who gave their lives in the war against Fascism and Nazism. Particular emphasis has been given to the contribution of the powerful (British, Soviet and American) allies and their missions in Albania. In this pavilion, there are also documents which reflect the support, sheltering and protection of the Jewish population during the war, an expression of the deep humanism of the Albanian people.
The Pavilion of the Communist Terror was inaugurated in 2012. In this pavilion are displayed documents, photographs and objects, which belong to the period of one-party system in Albania from 1945 to 1990. The historical content of this pavilion is further enriched by film images, provided by the Central Film Archives. An important part of the Pavilion are the documentary and photographic materials which reflect the cleansing operations against the anticommunist forces, a special court against the political opponents during the war as well as the liquidation of the anti-communist opposition. In the showcases are displayed relics which belonged to numerous persons convicted or executed by the regime of that time.
This pavilion is dedicated to Mother Teresa’s family, life and work. The visitors are acquainted with her charitable work for which she has been assigned with many international awards. In the stands of the pavilion there are photos of global personalities who met Mother Teresa as Jacques Chirac, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Ibrahim Kodra etc. Undoubtedly, the personal objects used by her increase the curiosity of thousands of visitors in the National History Museum.References:
The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.
A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.
In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.
In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.
In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.
From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.
In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.
The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.
In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.
The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.