"A historical city among waters and mountains" Top 5 Page for this destination Shkoder by njonjo
Shkoder Travel Guide: 144 reviews and 297 photos
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.
...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:Magnificient scenery, history, legend of Rozafa
- Cons:bad secondary roads
Shkodra is not considered as one of the most calm cities of Albania. Murder is not a rare crime. But in most of the... more travel advice
If you take a walk through the streets of Shkodra you may see some interesting buildings of XIX century. In the late... more travel advice
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