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Visit Kruje castle, where the Dragon of Albania ruled

Christian Fernsby ▼ | August 3, 2020
Just one hour by car from Albanian capital Tirana there is Krujë, one of the most important cities of Albania. One of its must-visit attraction is Krujë Castle.
Kruje, Albania
Albania   Krujë castle
Krujë castle in Albania was built in the 5th century above the Krujë city. At the time of the Ottoman threat, it was the headquarters of Gjergj Kastrioti, the Dragon of Albania, who was a military commander back then after being a hostage to the Ottoman court early in his life, later he led a rebellion against the Ottoman Empire in Albania.

Under his command, the elliptical castle, defended by a small army usually no larger than 3,000 men, fought off multiple massive sieges from the Turks, beginning in 1444. Ottoman forces could not break the castle’s defences.

The Ottoman Turks gave that brave man the name Iskender bey, meaning Lord Alexander, compared him to Alexander the Great. That name was later changed to Skanderbeg.

Krujë castle now contains a museum dedicated to Skanderbeg and the exhibits of have been arranged in a way that chronicles Skanderbeg’s life and military achievements. An important display is the replica of the Arms of Skanderbeg: his famous goat head topped helmet and sword.

In front of the museum are the remains of an Ottoman era mosque and its minaret, Sultan Mehmed Fatih mosque, named after the man who finally broke down the castle’s security in 1468.

A traditional home in the castle complex, below the Skanderbeg Museum, houses the Ethnographic Museum. The home’s luxury is well presented with the walls lined with frescoes, intricately carved woodwork, colourfully painted furniture and the house’s own mini Turkish bath.