"A historical city among waters and mountains" Top 5 Page for this destination Shkoder by njonjo

Shkoder Travel Guide: 144 reviews and 297 photos

History and Actuality

Shkodra, 100.000 ca. inhabitants, is the most important city of North Albania.

The history of this town start in IV century BC, it was an Illyrian city named Scodra, in II cent BC it became the capital of the Illyrian Kingdom and was known since as Scutari.

In XIV century Scutari was under the protection of Venetians and under continued attacks from the Ottoman Empire. In 1479 it was the last Albanian town to be occupied by Ottomans. Thousands moved to Italian cities and there has always been a strong feeling between Shkodra and Italy, they still use some Italian words in Shkodra (example, butter is called 'burrofresco')

Shkodra was an important center of trade in XVIII century and a wellknown city in all the Balcans. Its importance as strategic point of trade transport diminuished with the creation of Yugoslavia and Kosovo province becoming part of this new state. Shkodra was a very important center of Albanian culture during XIX-XX centuries.

The communist regime tried to make of Shkodra an industrial center, but without any big success.

Shkodra was the town where the anti communist manifestations first started in 1989.

The actual situation is pitiful: unemployment, poverty, high crime rate (read further on 'dangers' tips). And it seems that Shkodra and the Albanian Electroenergetic Corporation (KESH) are the worst enemies of each other :), the citizens do not pay for the energy, the Corporation answers with looong black-outs, damaging the city weak economy and therefore making people more poor and more unwilling to pay.

Many families from Shkodra have moved to Tirana or abroad in the last 15 years, meanwhile thousands from nearby villages have built their new homes around the city.

Spirit of Shkodra

...but despite this gloomy transitory reality you will love the city and the people of Shkodra (Shkodran).

Shkodrans are famous in all Albania for their sense of humour. During communist regime, Shkodra was the origin of hundreds of jokes against the regime spreading mouth to mouth all over the country.

Hospitality is very strong in Shkodra, so do not be surprised if someone you don't know at all orders to the waiter to bring you a drink. They love to act as gentlemen.

If you walk through secondary streets of the town you will see beautiful old houses, try to imagine how Shkodra was 60-80 years before.

Three religious communities live side by side in reciprocal tolerance in this city. Muslims are the majority, Catholic community is the strongest in Albania, there is also a minor Christian Orthodox community formed by families with slavic origins.


If this country would be a normal one (and my hope is that this is going to hapen one day), Shkodra would be the greatest tourist center in Albania.

The town itself is worth a visit to see the tradition, history, architecture, handicrafts, culture etc.

Rozafa castle, with its beautiful and drammatic legend is a must.

Lake of Shkodra is the biggest in Balcans and beautiful.

Shkodra is the gate to Albanian Alps, one of the most wonderful parts of Albania with peaks well over 2000m, the Albanian name is Bjeshket e Namuna (Accursed Mountains).

Velipoja beach, on Adriatic coast, is only 32 km west of Shkodra, the beach is excellent, 14 km long from Buna river to Viluni lagoon.

Shkodra is very rich in waters, two main rivers Buna and Drin join under Rozafa castle.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Magnificient scenery, history, legend of Rozafa
  • Cons:bad secondary roads
  • Last visit to Shkoder: Feb 2005
  • Intro Updated Jan 31, 2006
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Reviews (8)

Comments (9)

  • Sep 22, 2008 at 4:51 PM

    My house is to the left of that mosque, about half a mile or so. I live in US now but I used to play soccer with other peers by the mosque. where the water is to the left of it. brings the good ol memories.

  • budapest8's Profile Photo
    Sep 18, 2008 at 8:50 PM

    I just loved Shkodra, we walked late at night back from the castle and I was with a blonde female travel companion. felt a lot safer than in many Western cities.That was Sept 2008, it seems to change every year!

  • dlandt's Profile Photo
    Apr 19, 2008 at 7:16 PM

    Is there anything here that recalls the life of Skanderbeg? You were referred as an expert in the forum. Dave

  • sennaya's Profile Photo
    Jan 11, 2008 at 1:24 PM

    Interesting. Is there smth inside?

  • Azri_Azmi's Profile Photo
    Oct 4, 2006 at 6:15 AM

    You shared such a great mosque picture, the Lead Mosque.

  • DPando's Profile Photo
    Feb 22, 2006 at 2:56 PM

    i passed by your hometown going to ulcinj (Montenegro) it was amazing..more iun my newest shkodra page !!

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    Jan 30, 2006 at 7:30 AM

    I enjoyed looking at your page! We had a great day trip (too short) from Ulcinj to Skhoder last summer and I consider Rozafa as an absolute must see. We should come back in 2006 and go further south.

  • jckim's Profile Photo
    Mar 27, 2005 at 6:52 AM

    Very impressive Caslte pics! there are my interesting place! nice job edvin! Best wishes from Korea!


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