"KRUJA IS A CITY OF HISTORY" Kruje by eni83
Kruje Travel Guide: 39 reviews and 122 photos
The citadel of Kruj' became the scene of one of Europe's most titanic struggles. In May 1450 the Ottoman Sultan Murad II set out from Constantinople with a hundred thousand men to crush once and for all the Albanian army which had been united since 1444 by Skenderbeg's personal recruiting campaign. He aimed to storm the citadel of Kruj' and to hold the Albanian countryside with Kruj' as a capital. Skenderbeg's personal magnetism ensured that those Albanians fit to take up arms were armed and ready for combat, a total of 17,500 at the most, who were thus outnumbered by five to one. Skenderbeg divided his troops into three bands. Fifteen hundred led by Count Uran were provisioned to withstand the siege within the citadel itself. The two major forces of 8 000 each were split up, the first under Skenderbeg to harry the near of the Ottoman army once it had encamped below Kruj', and the other forming small bands of guerrilleros to ambush, raid, and snipe at the Turkish caravan on its cumbersome trail from Macedonia. Since Murad II realised that his troops would mutiny if ordered to withstand the hostile winter encamped in a trap below Kruj', after four and a half months he retreated with loses estimated at more than twenty thousand - that is exceeding the strength of the whole Albanian army. Ragusa congratulated Skenderbeg, "Magnificus et Potens" on his stupendous victory.
Kruja under the direction of Skenderbeg defeated the turkish army lead by the Sultan Mehmet etc. for a quarter of a century. As the British military strategist Wolfe has said Skenderbeg surpassed "all the captains, both ancient and modern, in his ability to lead a small defensive army". After the death of Skenderbeg from natural causes in 1468, the citadel of Kruj' defeated the Turks for more then ten years under the direction of Lek' Dugagjin till at 16 june 1478 when it fell definitively to the Sultan Mehmet.
After the Ottoman took their dearly-won castle of Kruj', they rebuild the walls on the northern side, with openings for firearms, to make Kruj' as impregnable against the Albanians as it had been impregnable against themselves. The earthquake of 1617 caused the cracking and collapse of many hill structures, including the citadel, but in 1832, on the Sultan's orders, the Albanian feudal castles were made useless for defence and a centralised bureaucratic government replaced - at least in intention - the former feudal semi-autonomy of the mountain regions as Kruj'. Half-hearted attempts were made by the Turks to rebuild sections of the castle, after they have tightened their grip on the countryside, for they realised that sudden Balkan uprisings could overwhelm their government, and a defenceless castle is a doubtful asset to a ruling class.
Kruja one of the biggest cities in Northern Albania is a city of 'History'
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