Albania – from Tirana to Lezha and Shkodra

On my third day in Albania we travel from Tirana to Shkodra. Let me share a few impressions.

The Roman mosaics in Tirana

First we visit a small Roman excavation site in Tirana. The entry is free.

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I like the Roman mosaics…

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… and the fine reliefs.

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Driving to Lezha in the north west

Lezha is the place where in 1444 Skanderbeg united the leaders of North Albania to fight the Ottomans for 25 yeras. He has been buried here in St. Nicolas church. The church has decayed and is a memorial for him.

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Inside is a bust of Skanderbeg…

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… and along the walls are the emblems of the leaders that allied with him.

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Shkodra, surrounded by water and protected by the Rozafa castle

There is a nice legend about the Rozafa castle. A young mother agreed to be buried to support the construction, but not totally – with one eye she watched her baby, with one breast she fed it, with one hand she touched it and with the leg she moved the cradle. Ben buys a souvenir plate showing that for me.

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From the top there is a great view of the rivers joining here and of the lead mosque, now a ruin.

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Shkodra is overlooked by mountains.

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In a small restaurant on the border of the lake we eat carps.

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The mosque, the orthodox and the roman catholic churches are within 30m distance. This is religious coexistence which is usual in Albania.

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The first fotos of the Marubi museum are from 1858. Marubi had emigrated from Italy to Shkodra and founded the Marubi studios that were later taken over by locals.  The museum will soon move to the pedestrian zone and show more of the 500’000 fotos.  This is Marubi.

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After having visited the Marubi museum, we turn left, and are fined with 1000 Lek. There may be no sign, but turning left is forbidden here. We pay 800 Lek t the post office later. Paying immediately entitles for a discount. Interesting.

While Ben is paying I notice this sign… and I am proud to understand the second part: The clients are king. This is what the post strives for.

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We stay in the Hotel Tradita Geg&Tosk. The ambiance is a bit folksy. They are roasting a lamb in the fireplace. The garden is full with guests, the meals seem to be good.

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The guest are from all Europe. Some are from France and they came in their Deux Chevaux, driving all the way through Italy, Croatia and Montenegro.

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The Mesi bridge north of Shkodra is a masterpiece of Ottoman architecture.

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It stands next to a concrete bridge built in communist times… an ugly piece of architecture with a broken railing and iron “needles” standing out.

In the evening we visit the  pedestrian zone, with beautifully renovated houses  in the Italian and Austrian style, obviously with European funds.

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Matching the Italian style is the restaurant San Francisco that serves pasta. We finish the day enjoying the meal and the view from the balcony.

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