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Discover the castle of the National Hero, Skanderbeg


Kruja attractions

If you ever heard of the national hero of Albania – Skanderbeg and you want to find out more, you need to visit Kruja. This secular city is located only 1 hour drive away from Tirana, the capital, and has something to offer both, nature and history lovers. Whether in nature or walking through the old streets, Kruja is an Albanian must.

Here are the main things you can do when visiting Kruja (Krooya):

1. Visit the Castle of Kruja

Built sometime around year 1190, this elliptical castle with a perimeter of 2637 ft (804 meters), occupies an area of 6.1 acres (2.5 hectares) of land and is built on a rocky hill. In the 13th-14th century, it was the center of the state of Arbri. During the period of Skanderbeg and the defense of the Albanians against the Ottoman occupation, it became the main fortress of resistance.


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Top 10 hotels in Kruje, Albania

2.‘Gjergj Kastrioti Skenderbeu National Museum’

The Castle of Kruja has now been transformed into the ‘Gjergj Kastrioti Skenderbeu National Museum’, where many original objects, documents and bibliographies are exhibited, authentic reproductions that speak clearly about the history of the Albanian people. It includes pavilions such as the pavilion of antiquity and the early Middle Ages, the pavilion of the Albanian principalities, of the Ottoman conquest and facing this conquest, the pavilion of medieval castles, of the Albanian resistance, the chancellery of Skanderbeg, the library, the princes’ hall, and the pinacotheca and finally the heritage and echo pavilion.


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Also for you: Top 10 hotels in Kruje, Albania

3. The old Bazaar

The bazaar is the heart of Kruja, a lively place, full of beautiful souvenirs where it is impossible not to stop when visiting the city. A continuous series of brick roofs, wooden and stone shops, carpets with typical geometric patterns of the Balkans, cobbled streets and picturesque views: a miracle. In addition to the classic fridge magnets, you can make interesting craft purchases, such as household items, jewelry, tablecloths and carpets, many of which are handmade (in some stores you can also see the processing of fabrics in real time) .

4. Ethnographic Museum

This museum was erected in the house of the Toptan family, which is a “porch” type building from 1764. The apartment is a cultural monument of category 1. In the indoor environments, as well as the objects presented in the outdoor environments, a complete picture of the crafts practiced in Kruja and throughout Albania is given, as well as of the way of life starting from 300 years ago. More than 90 percent of the objects in this museum are original and 100% of them are functional.

How to spend 24 hours in Kruje, helpful guide

5. Mount Sarisalltik

The Mountain of Kruja, 3858 ft (1176 meters) high, with a rocky beauty sharpened like nowhere, and with a sharp perpendicular fall over the city. Legend has it that a person named Sari Salltik, who lived in Kruja in 1300s, on the verge of death, had a last will that his body, after passing, to be divided into seven kingdoms: Moscow, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Edirne, Bogdan, Dalmatia, etc. Some say that there are seven of his graves in the world. Today this mountain is called by his name.


6. National Park of  Qafeshtama

Qafe-Shtama National Park is located about 15 miles (25 km) northeast of the city of Kruja. Amidst a pristine and rugged nature, it is the right destination for hiking, cycling through rugged terrain and camping. Climbing to an altitude of up to 5660 ft (1725 m), acquaintance with the diverse fauna, a natural panorama of the Adriatic Sea, Bovilla Lake, Kruja-Dajt ridge, are among the main attractions of this park.


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7. Old city of Zgerdhesh

Among the ruins of the village of Zgerdhesh near Kruja, several brick tombs have been discovered, as well as two burnt structured tombs belonging to the late Roman period. Archaeologists have said that they might have discovered traces of the Ilyrian city of Albanopolis. The site is open for all tourists.


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8. Black River canyons

The Black River Canyon is one of the most interesting canyons in the Fushe-Kruje area. It is located near the village of Nikel. No more than one hour drive from Tirana, you have to continue walking, not far to reach this place not difficult and affordable for those who like walking and nature.


9. The bridge of Abdul Aga

Once you get on the path to the Black River Canyon, you will face a small centuries-old bridge with an arch, which is supposed to have been built during the 17th century. You can rest for a while at the bridge or even continue to sit on the old cobbled road, which connected Kruja with the city of Mat.

10. Try the local desert – kabuni

You will probably not find it in another Albanian city, so you should try it in Kruja. Kabunia is an old rice-based dessert cooked with cinnamon, raisins, sugar and lamb neck meat. Bon appetit!