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Shkodër and the legend of Rozafa Castle

Shkodër Lake
Fun facts about the city of Shkodër or Skodra (local name)
1. Shkodër has been around for at least 2200 years! 
2. It’s the fifth largest city in Albania with a comparatively small population of  88,000*.
3. It’s only 90 km (55 miles) from Tirana or 1.5 hours by car.
4. You can hangout at Kolë Idromeno Street or lakeside in the village of Shiroka.
5. If art moves you, there are intriguing sculptures at the city park. Have you seen an artwork made of artillery shells? You’ll find it in Shkodër.
6. If you’re interested in history, there’s a rare collection of photographs from the 1850s onward of the cultural, social and political history of Albania at the Marubi Photography museum.
7. Albania shares Shkodër Lake with Montenegro where 2/3 of the lake ripple under blue skies.
8. The Montenegrin border is just a few miles away from Shkodër and you can get a glimpse of its mountains across the lake.
9. Shkodër is the gateway to the Albanian Alps (Accursed Mountains).
10. According to local legend, Rozafa, the wife of one of three brothers who were constructing Rozafa castle, was buried alive inside the castle in order to appease the evil eye so construction could proceed without any obstruction.

Village of Shiroka
I could sit here for hours for some aqua therapy. This photo was taken in early May when serenity prevailed. The summer season will be more hectic but the landscape will remain a balm to the senses. Beyond the mountains in the background is Montenegro.

Rozafa Castle and Buna River
With one thousand years of history, Rozafa Castle is still around to tell its story. It may not have been completed according to the legend, were it not for the offering of Rozafa as the sacrificial lamb so the curse on the castle could be reversed and construction could continue unhindered.

Kolë Idromeno Street
This lively thoroughfare is the favorite hangout for locals and visitors alike. There are lots of cafés, bars and restaurants to choose from. It’s the perfect place for a drink under the shade while people watching.

Kolë Idromeno Street

Kolë Idromeno Street

Rruga Gjuhadol
Ghujadol Street is an extension of Kolë Idromeno. The newly renovated pastel painted houses add a cool ambiance to this street.

Ebu Bekr Mosque
The Ebu Bekr mosque was built on the site of the Fushë Çela mosque, a progeny of the Ottoman Empire, which was destroyed during the Communist era in Albania. Enver Hoxha, who ruled Albania from 1944 to 1985 declared the country an atheist state and the people were forbidden to attend religious services.

Municipal Hall

Shkodra Flowers is made of decommisioned artillery shells

Anti-Communist Monument
At the Site of Witness and Memory Museum, the history of the persecution of thousands of Albanians during the communist regime is kept alive so future generations will not forget their horrifying past and never let it happen again.

Monument to the Victims of Communist Persecution
Approximately 6,000 Albanian political prisoners were executed during the Communist regime in Albania. Thousands more were sent to labor camps and many were never seen again.

Rozafa from the legend of Rozafa Castle

Monument to Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa (St. Teresa of Calcutta) was an Albanian Catholic nun who founded Missionaries for Charity which helped the poor, the orphans, the sick and the dying, particularly in India. She devoted her life to helping people in need. Mother Teresa is revered throughout Albania, Kosovo and North Macedonia and there are monuments and churches dedicated to her in the region. She was canonized by the Catholic Church in 2016. Behind the statue of Mother Teresa are solar panels built in floral design. 

How to get there:
I took a private tour with Albania on tour with Eddy. As a solo traveler, it’s often difficult to reserve a tour for one person. There are group tours of major cities as well as hop on hop off tours that a single traveler can join but when you’re sightseeing outside the big cities, it has been my personal experience that tours are harder to find and sometimes canceled after payment. I was glad a friend recommended Eddy to me and I was able to travel extensively and comfortably in Albania, North Macedonia and Kosovo. Eddy was always on time, is a careful driver, and eager to show the beauty of his country.  You may reach Eddy through WhatsApp 355 69 919 9085. Or contact him by email at

If you want to go to Shkodër on your own, you can take a bus from Tirana. Check for more information.

Where to eat:
There are many restaurants and cafés to choose from in Shkodër and Shiroka. But my guide took me to a unique restaurant by a lagoon in Lezhe, a neighboring town. The name of the restaurant is Trëndafili Mistik or Mystic Rose and it is a destination on its own. Check my separate article about it here:

Mystic Rose
Travel essentials for Albania:
Albania requires no visa for U.S. citizens for stays up to one year. Passport is required with at least 3 months of remaining validity. Check this link for current information:
Currency is lek. The exchange rate as of this writing is $1=93.45 lek.
Electrical outlet: standard voltage is 230 volts and frequency is 50 Hz. You’ll need a  Type F electrical plug. 

Stay connected


Images by TravelswithCharie 


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