Albania - What to see in Kruje

Kruje: A town steeped in Albanian history and culture

Kruje is a small town in north-central Albania, located about 20 kilometres north of the capital, Tirana. It is a popular tourist destination, known for its historical significance, cultural attractions, and scenic beauty. Kruje is a charming town with a lot to offer visitors. With its historical significance, cultural attractions, and scenic beauty, it is no wonder that Kruje is one of the most popular tourist destinations on a tour of Albania.

Kruje Castle

The most iconic landmark in Kruje is its castle, which played a vital role in Albania's resistance to the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century. The castle was commanded by Skanderbeg, Albania's national hero, who successfully defended it against three Ottoman sieges. Today, the castle is a museum dedicated to Skanderbeg and Albania's medieval history.

Visitors to the castle can explore its well-preserved walls and towers, visit the Skanderbeg Museum, and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding area. The museum houses a collection of artifacts from the Skanderbeg era, including weapons, armour, and clothing. It also tells the story of Skanderbeg's life and his heroic resistance to the Ottomans.

The Old Bazaar

Another popular attraction in Kruje is its Old Bazaar. This lively market is a great place to experience Albanian culture and shop for souvenirs. The bazaar is lined with stalls selling a wide variety of goods, including traditional Albanian clothing, handicrafts, and food. Visitors can also find several cafes and restaurants in the Old Bazaar, where they can sample traditional Albanian cuisine. One of the most popular dishes is tavë kosi, a baked lamb dish with yogurt and rice.

Cultural attractions

In addition to its historical and cultural attractions, Kruje is also home to several other interesting places to visit. One of these is the Ethnographic Museum, which houses a collection of traditional Albanian artifacts, including furniture, clothing, and tools. Another interesting place to visit is the Sarisalltik Cave, which is located about 5 kilometres from Kruje. This cave is a popular pilgrimage site for Albanians, as it is believed to have been visited by the Prophet Muhammad.

Additional highlights

In addition to the highlights mentioned above, here are some other things that Kruje has to offer visitors:

  • Traditional Albanian cuisine: Kruje is a great place to sample traditional Albanian cuisine. Some of the most popular dishes include tavë kosi (baked lamb with yogurt and rice), qofte (meatballs), and byrek (savory pastries).
  • Handicrafts: Kruje is known for its traditional Albanian handicrafts, such as filigree jewellery, hand-woven carpets, and woodcarvings. Visitors can find a wide variety of handicrafts for sale in the Old Bazaar.
  • Hiking: Kruje is surrounded by beautiful mountains, which offer opportunities for hiking and trekking. One of the most popular hiking trails leads to the Sarisalltik Cave.
  • Day trips: Kruje is a convenient base for exploring other parts of Albania. Day trips can be taken to the capital city of Tirana, the coastal city of Durres, and the northern city of Shkodër.

Tips for visiting Kruje

  • Best time to visit: The best time to visit Kruje is during the spring or fall, when the weather is mild. Summers can be hot, especially in the afternoon, and winters can be cold and wet.
  • How to get there: Kruje is easily accessible by bus from Tirana. The bus journey takes about 30 minutes.
  • What to wear: Comfortable shoes are recommended, as there is a lot of walking involved in exploring the town and castle.
  • What to bring: Be sure to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat if you are visiting during the summer.
  • Language: Albanian is the official language of Albania. However, many people in Kruje speak English, especially in the tourist areas.
  • Currency: The currency of Albania is the Albanian lek (ALL). Money can be exchanged at banks and currency exchange bureaus in Kruje.

With its rich history, culture, and scenic beauty, Kruje is a town that has something to offer everyone. Whether you are interested in history, culture, food, or hiking, you are sure to have a memorable visit to Kruje.