Weekend in Lezhe & Shkoder

From the geographic and ecologic point of view, Lezha consists in a wonderful kaleidoscope of nature, almost an ecologic dynasty where the mountain, the land, the forest, the monuments, the lagoon and the sea compose an expressed unity.

The city of Lezha is located 47 km south of Shkodra. It is one of Albania’s ancient cities, and in the historical documents it is mostly referred by the name Lissus. In 1398, after the construction of its castle, the city was under direct control of the feudal family of Lekë Dukagjini, but was eventually conquered by Venice. One of the most important historical events for Lezha, and indeed for all of Albania, was the famed “the League of Lezha” on March 2nd, 1444, where under the leadership of national hero Skanderbeg, the Albanian princedoms united against the Ottomans. The Memorial Grave of Skanderbeg is here, at the ex-Cathedral of Shën Kolli, where he was buried in 1468. The Castle of Lezha, another Illyrian monument, is situated on the top of the hill overlooking the city below. Inside the castle, ruins of an Ottoman mosque Roman Arch, and an Illyrian Tower all rest together for the ages. Only a few minutes from the city, at the foot of the Mount Renci, it is found the sandy beach of Shëngjin. The sunny beach. Shëngjini boasts a long and colorful history, known as both “Cesarean” and “Nympheum” in past centuries. It was here that the Roman general Marcus Aurelius embarked with his fleet in order to chase Pompey during the civil war that he and Julius Caesar engaged in.

Apart from being a historic centre, Shkodra has always been a centre of education, culture and trade. It has always developed and maintained links to the West, especially to Italy and Austria. Shkodra is also the centre of Albanian Catholicism as well as a fine example of tolerance between religions, with the city comprising all the major faiths found in Albania.

Shkodra known as the “capital of north Albania” is one of the oldest cities in the country, founded in the 4th century B.C. as the center of the Labeat tribe of Illyrians. Shkodra has been occupied several times throughout history. First by the Romans (168 B.C.), then the Serbians (1040), the Venetians (1396), and finally by the Ottomans (1479). The city returned to Albanian control as the feudal principality of the Balshaj during the 14th century and served as the municipal center of the Bushatllinj Pashallëk from 1757 to 1831. Shkodra is rich with cultural heritage; the city itself as well as the people bears the pride that the large number of artists, musicians, painters, photographers, poets, and writers born here strove to create. Shkodra’s main tourist attraction is Rozafa Castle. Rising majestically upon a rocky hill west of the city, the outcroppings and battlements paint a blazing picture against the setting sun. It is surrounded by the waters of three rivers; the Drini, Buna, and Kiri. Much like the town it protected, the castle has Illyrian origins. According to the historian Tit Liri, “it was the strongest area of the Labeats.”

Highlights of the tour

  • Lezha Castle
  • Scanderbeg Mausoleum.
  • Rozafa Castle.
  • Shkodra Lake.
  • Shkodra’s Old Quarter
  • Drini & Buna Rivers Intersection

Itinerary

Meeting and greeting with the group at hotel lobby and then drive to Lezha, approx. 60 km from Tirana. We start the program with a visit to the castle of Lezha,, with a panoramic view of the city below, the lagoon and the Adriatic coastal line. Then we proceed to Scanderbeg’s Mausoleum and then departure to Shkodra. Stop for lunch on the way to Shkodra. Accomodation at hotel and free time to explore the city’s old streets, characteristic shops and the famous church and mosque of Shkodra. Overnight in Shkoder. Next morning we start the program with a visit to Rozafa Castle, famous for its legend. The view from the castle covers the intersection of Drini and Buna rivers. Then we depart for lunch by the lake side, in one of the characteristic fishermen villages of Shkodra. After lunch departure to Tirana. End of the program.

Price includes: Transport with comfortable couch, hotel accomodation, professional guide throughout the program.

Entrance fees, where applicable, are not included. Food, drinks and tips not included.

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