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Posts Tagged ‘Iskander Beg’

Kruja

Kruja is a town in the mountains about 45 minutes from Tirana. It is the home of the Skanderbeg Museum and the location where Skanderbeg, the national hero of Albania, held back the Ottoman forces from his citadel during the 1400s. Born Gjergj Kastriotis, he was sent to fight in the Ottoman army as most boys from the region were forced to do, but he later came back to Albania to fight against the Ottomans. During his time in Turkey, he earned the name Iskander, which is the Turkish form of Alexander and a reference to Alexander the Great. Beg or Bey means general, and Skanderbeg is the combination of Iskander and Beg. I learned all this and more from an English-speaking historian who worked at the museum, who was kind enough to discuss some of the history with me even though I was there alone and they normally only offer guides for groups of 8. The museum itself does have enough signs in (poorly-written) English that it’s worth a visit even if you can’t get a guide—assuming you are interested in history. As a bonus, the terrace of the museum gives you a great view of the valley below.

A statute of Skanderbeg in the entrance hall of the museum

The museum is the newer-looking building in the middle; you can see parts of the old fortress on either side.

Down the hill from the museum is the Ethnographic Museum, which features a 200-year-old Ottoman style house, with over 90% of its contents the originals, according to the English-speaking caretaker. This is a neat experience because you get to see how people in Albania lived during this time.

The rooftops of Kruja in the foreground, Tirana in the background

The Ethnographic Museum

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