Inhabited since prehistoric times, Albania is still one of the most underrated and least visited countries in Europe. But this does not mean at all that there are no interesting historical places. Among them are the numerous castles in Albania that will take you back to the old days. The historical range of local castles is much wider than in many, if not most, other Balkan countries, spanning the period from antiquity to the Middle Ages. This is a country with a very rich past, to say the least. So be sure to include one or more Albanian castles on your itinerary when you visit this beautiful southern European country!
Castles in Albania: Castle of Bashtova (Fortress of Bashtovë)
Castle of Bastova, located on the edge of the Via Egnatia, one of the most important trade routes of the Roman Empire, has fascinated locals and visitors for centuries. Located a few kilometers from Kavaje, this five-century-old castle is an excellent testament to the diversity of civilizations that existed on the site of modern Albania. Interestingly, this is the only castle in the Balkans built on a field! It was declared a monument of the highest category in Albania in 1948 and 1971, and remains on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Castle of Kruja (Castle of Krujë)
The castle of Kruja, which is located in the city of the same name, became the center of the rebellion of the national hero Skanderbeg, nicknamed the “Dragon of Albania” against the Ottoman Empire. Built in the 5th or 6th century, this elliptical castle has several attractions such as the ruins of the Fatih Sultan Mehmed Mosque, a Turkish bath, an ethnographic museum, and the impressive Skanderbeg National Museum.
Castles in Albania: Lezhe Castle (Lezhë Castle)
The Illyrian castle of Lezhe is located on a hilltop in the eastern part of the city of the same name. It was rebuilt by the Venetians in 1440 and in 1522, after the Ottoman occupation. The most interesting objects on the territory of the complex are the ruins of Ottoman buildings inside the castle, a mosque and a tower in the southeast wall with a Roman arch and an Illyrian tower in the south wall of the castle.
The fortress of Tirana is the place where the main roads crossed from east to west and from north to south, and formed the heart of the city.
The current fortification consists of three famous towers and is in the process of restoration. Inside the ramparts of the former fortress, there are many buildings to visit, including restaurants, hotels and cultural institutions. Nearly all that remains of the fortress above ground are Ottoman-era ruins covered in vines.
Castles in Albania: Castle of Porto Palermo
The triangular castle of Porto Palermo, built by Ali Pasha, has retained its unusual shape over the centuries. The small island on which the castle is located is worth a short walk itself, but when you climb the castle walls, you can enjoy unforgettably beautiful views of the sea and the coast of Albania.