Hotels, motels and where to sleep
Restaurant, taverns and where to eat
Cultural (and not so cultural) events
Interesting information and useful tips
Krujë Castle or Kruja Castle became famous as the last
resort of Christian resistance against invading Ottoman Turks. A small
garrison of Albanians was headed by an Albanian lord George Kastrioti
Skanderbeg. Krujë Castle (Kalaja e Krujës) became known in the
country as the last Christian fortress that fell before the
onslaught of the Ottoman army. Surprisingly, the small fortress
offered strong resistance. During the Albanian uprising of
1432-1436. Krujë Castle was unsuccessfully besieged by Andrea Topii,
and Ottoman rule was restored. After the uprising of Scanderbeg in
1443, the castle withstood three major sieges of the Turks,
respectively, in 1450, 1466 and 1467, with garrisons usually not
exceeding 2000-3000 men under the command of Scanderbeg. Mehmed II
the Conqueror himself could not break down the castle’s defenses
until 1478, 10 years after Skanderbeg’s death.
Krujë Castle is located at an altitude of 557
meters (1,827 feet) above sea level. Today it is a center of tourism
in Albania and a source of inspiration for Albanians. It houses a
small museum dedicated to the struggle for the independence of the
Albanians. Krujë castle is depicted on the back of the Albanian 1000
Lek banknote in 1992-1996 and on the 5000 Lek banknote issued since
Medieval Hamam (on the southwestern edge of the castle). The steam
bath is another legacy of medieval life in Kruja. The hamam was
built at the end of the 15th century, and consists of four areas:
the changing room, the middle room which has remnants of a tank, and
two separate bathing areas with water supplied by the well of the
square. In the middle of the main room is the kettle where water was
heated. This hamam was used by the city’s elite. In 1963, it was
proclaimed a first degree cultural monument.
Church of Skanderbeg
(The church in the Castle of Kruja). This church dates to the 15th
century. It is built over the ruins of an older church from which is
saved a part of its frescos. Its existence was found in the 80s
(20th century) during excavations.
The Tower Houses of Kruja.
They are Krutan Buildings qualified as tower-houses because besides
living, they have served also for protection against any possible
aggressor. Such houses can be found in the old neighborhoods of
Faith Mosque (near the Skanderbeg Museum). It is thought
to have similarity with the mosque in the Castle of Preza. It dates
in the end of the 15th century.
Old Bazaar. The Old Bazaar of
Kruja dates to the 17th century and is known by the locals as
Derexhiku. It was built approximately 400 years ago and had about
200 shops starting from neat Kruja City Hall to the entrance gates
of Kruja Castle. The first shops are thought to have started next to
the castle entrance and over the years the shops expanded towards
what is now the center of town. The shops line the street on both
sides creating roads of roof-covered storefronts whose sloping roofs
create an arcade along its length. The main crafts and trades in
these shops have been leather working, silk, kitchen utensils,
furniture, tailoring, pottery, carpentry, cafes, wood carving,
butchers, barbers, shoemakers, blacksmiths, and wool workers. In the
Old Bazaar today you can find objects and handmade items from
traditional artisans as well as antiques collected from Kruja and
the surrounding areas.
Merat Beut Mosque (in the Old Bazaar).
The Mosque was built in 1533 during the Ottoman invasion. It's
unique architecturally, and matches in harmony with the Old Bazaar.
It is also considered a cultural monument. During the Communist
times, the mosque was closed and its minaret reopened once again in
1991, and is visited by locals and foreign tourists alike.
of Sari Salltëku (at the top of Mount Krujë). The cave of Sari
Salltëku is considered sacred within the Bektashi faith.
Skanderbeg Monument (in the center of town). a monument for the
national hero, Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg. The statue was erected
on November 28, 1959 and was designed by sculptor Pascal Odysseus.
It was officially declared to be a national cultural monument in
1963. The statue depicts Skanderbeg charging into war atop his
stallion with sword drawn.
Albanopolis (in the village of
Zgerdhesh, 5 km away from Fushe-Kruja). an Illyrain city and the
capital city of the Albans, an Illyrian tribe which used to live in
the zone. It is thought to be the city from which Albania and the
Albanians inherited this name.
Outise of the city
Qafë-Shtamë National Park This national park, established
in 1996, is 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) northeast of Kruja. The
bottled drinking water of the same name is found here and is famous
because it was historically delivered daily to the royal family in
Tirana due to its curative properties. Its location is 1,100m above
sea level nestled in the mountains. The park is comprised largely of
black pine forest and is famous for its curative water, special
atmosphere, fresh air, natural beauty and the unique landscape that
it offers. Here at the park you will be able to enjoy popular
outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, picnics, yoga, etc.
Accessing the park is easiest by car.
Hurdha e Kecit (The pond of
the nanny-goat) This toponym is present in the territory of Kruja
where there are springs and waterfalls. The Pond of Nanny-goat is
located in the village of Noje, 6km in the east of Kruja, in one of
the ramification of the Dro River. It is a waterfall with a length
of 15-20m and with a scenic view. The ledgend of this waterfall
states that: Here has lived the beauty of the water (an Albanian
myth) which went out every morning in the coast by drying and
combing her hair under the sun and would dive again in the
afternoon. The residents of this region have used this waterfall as
a pilgrimage place because they believed in the curative powers of
|Lake Bovilla lies in between two mountain ranges
with opportunities for walking, hiking, mountain biking, and
climbing on the rocks. From any view of the lakeside mountains you
can enjoy the beautiful view of the landscape.
Cave of Bovilla:
in the southern part of the Gami Mountain, in the gorge of Bovilla,
which divides Kruja from the Tirana district. This cave is not
exposed for visitors. Based on researchers this cave is the
continuation of the Cave of Pellumbasit of the Dajti Mountain. It is
thought to have been inhabited around the 12th and 11th century
B.C.E. A distinction of this settlement is the presence of
prehistorical pictures which show scenes from that time.
Agës Bridge The Abdyl Agës Bridge is between Mount Krujë and Mount
Kurçajt in the southernmost part of Krujë and spans the Black River.
It is believed to have been built in the early 1800s and is
constructed entirely of limestone. The bridge is part of a medieval
road that once led through this region and provided a safe crossing
for the caravans that passed through.
Kurçajt Bridge is to the
south of the Krujë region in the village of Kurçaj. It stretches
over the Black River and served as an integral part of an old
caravan trail connecting Krujë with Tirana. It was constructed in
the late 1700s and is made from staggered stones raised gradually by
concrete portions. The bridge was made with a unique asymmetric
shape that reaches up to the opposite side like a staircase.
Weeping Gorge 2 km (1.2 miles) from the north of Krujë, along the
road that leads to Qafë-Shtama national park is a memorial for
martyrs of the Ottoman invasion. The memorial hangs at the edge of a
massive gorge overlooking an expansive valley. Historical evidence
shows that below these stones are the remains of 90 girls that chose
to be thrown into the abyss rather than succumb to the Ottomans on
June 16th, 1478.
Black River Canyon between Kruja Mountain and
Gamnit Mountain, the Black River Canyon offers a walking and hiking
trail with views of waterfalls, rivers, and old ottoman bridges.
Within the canyon are the Abdyl Agës Bridge, Black Gorge, Bridge of
Kurcajt, and Medieval Steps. This area is thought to have been an
important passageway around the 15th century and traces are readily
seen in the area today.
"Path of Skanderbeg" The
hike, which can be done my any age, goes 1265m to the highest peak
(the Lake Peak is 1725m. Along the trail, there are numerous streams
flowing from the highest peak of this mountain with icy and
crystalline water. The hike takes about two hours and thirty minutes
and has a 3.71 km climbing distance. At Skenderbeg Mountain, there
are views of the long coastline of the Adriatic, and the visibility
goes to Burrel in Mali i Dejës.
Hiking to Shrine of Sari-Saltik
It is accessible by road, but also by a wonderful hiking
trail.Hiking the entire path from the city center to the temple will
take approximately an hour or an hour and a half depending on speed.
Once at the top you can enjoy the historical temple as well as a few
cafes and restaurants within walking distance, some of which offer
Droja River Canyon HikeThis trail is
approximately 1.5km long and takes around 25 minutes to reach the
end. At the end of the primary and secondary trails are beautiful
water features including some waterfalls. The beginning of the trail
can be accessed by car.
During the Albanian Revolt of 1432-1436 Krujë was unsuccessfully
besieged by Andrea Thopia and Ottoman rule was restored. After
Skanderbeg's rebellion in 1443 the castle withstood three massive
sieges from the Turks respectively in 1450, 1466 and 1467 with
garrisons usually no larger than 2,000-3,000 men under Skanderbeg's
command. Mehmed II "The Conqueror" himself could not break the
castle's small defenses until 1478, 10 years after the death of
Skanderbeg. Today it is a center of tourism in Albania, and a source
of inspiration to Albanians. Krujë Castle is situated at an
elevation of 557 metres (1,827 ft).
There are many buses to Kruje from Tirana. The trip
lasts about one hour. The town is easily accessible by direct bus
from Tirana. The trip takes approximately 45 minutes, costs 100 Lek
each way, and departs from the bus station North Stacioni Autobusave
Zona e Veriut, 15 minutes walking distance from Skanderberg Square.
Current bus departure times from Tirana are 10AM, 11AM, 1PM, 4PM,
5PM, 6PM, but are subject to change. From Shkodër and Durrës take a
bus or furgon to "Fushë Kruje" which is directly at the motorway to
Tirana. From there is a local bus every 15 minutes to Kruje (running
from 6 AM to 9 PM, costs 30 Leks, as of 2013).
Kruje is small enough to get around on foot very easily. It is built
on a mountainside, with the one-street bazaar the central
attraction, and the renovated castle just above and to the south.
Hotel Panorama (Near
the Old Bazaar). Rooms have a view over the city and restaurants are
on the property.
Bar Restaurant Panorama located near the castle features typical
local dishes such as Pule me Qull (village chicken), and Kabuni.
Taste local Raki made from cornelian cherry and blackberries.
Restaurant Bardhi. Restaurant Bardhi, situated near the National
History Museum G.K. Skanderbeg, offers traditional Albanian dishes
for lunch and dinner along with spectacular views. Outdoor and
indoor seating is available
Restaurant Alba. Restaurant Alba is
located across from the GK Skanderbeu National History Museum.
Traditional local and Italian dishes are served in an ambient
setting with indoor and outdoor options available
Restaurant. Located within the castle, Merlika offers a local menu
and pizza in traditional-styled dining.
Eli Bar Restaurant
Located in the Old Bazaar, Eli Bar Restaurant offers a wide menu of
traditional Albanian foods.
Restaurant Kalaja. Sit on
the second floor and enjoy a beautiful panoramic setting while
tasting a wide range of Albanian wines.