In Tirana and Kruja Day Trip, you will learn about the origins of the Albanians, their history, and culture in one day.
This tour starts with a pick up at Skanderbeg Square, and as we drive towards Kruja you can see typical Albanian buildings. Moreover, you can see Kruja from the town of Fushe-Kruja. The city of Kruja stands proud on the feet of Kruja Mountain. You can see from the entrance that this city is located at a strategic point. From where it overlooks the valley below.
The medieval hero Gjergj Kastrioti (a.k.a. “Scanderbeg”) had a base of operations there. The Albanians consider him a symbol of resistance as well as a savior. Even the Ottomans believed that a supernatural force dwelled in him. Because of this, after his death, they destroyed his tomb in order to take parts of his bones as good luck charms.
However, what makes Kruja amazing is the history which is reflected in each cobblestone of the street. Entering the city is like a dream, the pine trees follow you to the door of this amazing town. Meanwhile, in Kruja you will see how each part of the city owns parts of history. You will encounter the old bazaar which is home to Albanian handicrafts, and everyone is polite and kind. After the visit to the bazaar, you will hike a small path of cobblestones that lead you to the Castle of the Albanian National Hero, Scanderbeg. There you will learn about the history and what this place has to offer.
The Museum of Scanderbeg was designed as an ancient fortress. It is composed of separate pavilions, each representing a piece of Kruja, Albania’s heroic struggle against Ottoman invasion. These include the pavilion of antiquity and early middle age, the Albanian princedom pavilion, the pavilion of the ottoman invasion, the medieval fortress pavilion, and the Albanian resistance pavilion.
Each of these, in their own way, reflect the life and activity of Albania’s most famous national hero.
Kruja Castle was built in the 5th and 6th centuries A.D. Charles I of Anjou rebuilt the walls in the 13th century and the Turks rebuilt them again some centuries later. In 1617 an earthquake caused great damage to the walls, after which they were reinforced with 9 towers. The highest and most well-defended part of the fortress is a clock tower. It used to serve as an observation platform during times of war.
Next, you will return to Tirana where you will learn about the capital of Albania.
It is one of the most beautiful things Tirana has to offer. Located in the heart of Tirana from where you can see 2 of the most important Landmarks of Tirana. On the square is located the Scanderbeg Monument, which is the National Albanian Hero Gjergj Kastrioti and his horse. The monument is part of the heart of Tirana for more than 50 years ago.
The square has got its name from the monument. The square is made up of a side with Tiles that come from every corner of Albania and in them, it’s engraved the city or town it comes from. On the other side, there is the part that is greenish with trees and a small pedestrian walk for you to enjoy. Moreover, trees surround the square.
The everchanging capital that holds a beautiful history of many decades. What happened in Tirana during the communist years?
What happened before that? In this Tirana and Kruja day trip, you will learn about the 100-year-old capital of Albania.
We will pick you up at Scanderbeg Square in Tirana, 8:30 am, and drive you up to Kruja town, where you’ll experience a step back in medieval history by visiting the castle and Scanderbeg Museum. Kruja was the most important town for the Albanians during the 15th century which withstood successfully to at least 3 major sieges by the Ottoman Empire. The medieval hero Gjergj Kastrioti called “Scanderbeg” is considered not only by Albanians as a symbol of resistance and savior but also by ottomans who believed that a supernatural force dwelled in him. Therefore after his death they destroyed his tomb and took parts of his bones to keep them as a charm for good luck. Walk in the Old Bazaar full of old shops that sell traditional handmade items.
Next will drive you to Tirana, the capital of Albania. As you walk around the Scanderbeg square, you’ll see an interesting complex of building which reflect the periods that have influenced Tirana’s architecture. Only the Clock Tower and Et’hem Bey Mosque remain as reminders of the city’s Ottoman past. The communist government left its own footprint by destroying the Ottoman Bazaar and building the new Opera and Ballet House on the site.
The next stop on the itinerary is Et’hem Bey Mosque, where you’ll learn about the difficulties faced by the clergy especially after 1967 when freedom of religious expression was prohibited. The mosque was built in 1821 by Et’hem Bey in a typical Turkish style. Continue to King’s Palace and National Martyrs Boulevard. Here you’ll get to know a piece of daily life of former dictator Enver Hoxha, by visiting the pyramid, meant to be a museum for his life and the “Bllok” zone where he and other communist leaders lived in. The area that was once prohibited for people is now the most favorite neighborhood for young people, businesses and coffee shops. In the end, around 3:30 pm, we will take you back to Scanderbeg square, in the center of Tirana city, where we started our day and here your wonderful tour is over.
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