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Shkodra, one of the largest and most important cities of Albania, lies in the north-western part of the country. It is also one of the most ancient, established in the 4th century B.C. During the reign of King Gentius, Shkodra became the capital of the Illyrian state. In the 14th century Shkodra was the centre of the principality of the Balsha family. The city was originally named Scutari.

Shkodra nowadays is one of the main centres of Albanian culture and history. The main attraction of the city is the Rozafa Castle, which belongs to the Illyrian period. The legend of a woman, who was immured on its foundation, speaks of its antiquity. In Shkodra, there are a great number of natural and architectural places surrounding the city to be visited, such as Velipoja beach, the Shkodra Lake with the picturesque villages. Shiroka and Zogaj are two places nearby, where one can enjoy the unique cooking of the carp dish.
Shkodra is the gateway to the magnificent Alps of Albania. The Albanian Alps named Bjeshkët e Namuna (The Cursed Mountains) shared between Albania, Kosovo, and Montenegro are one of the most beautiful regions of the entire Balkans, and one of the last hidden treasures of Europe. The whole area is a natural paradise, famous for the beauty and grandeur of its mountains, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, valleys, glaciers and abundant thermal springs, and for the wide variety of fauna and flora, including many endemic and threatened species.

Shkodra (alb. Shkodër), the largest city in the north of Albania (87,500 inhabitants, 2008 estimate), is located on the east side of Shkodra Lake, on the southern part of the Mbishkodra plain, between the rivers Drini and Buna. The city is one of the oldest in Albania and it is also an important cultural and economic center.

Walking pavement in the center of Shkodra, called “Piazza”

Shkodra has been inhabited continuously since its foundation in the 4th century BC. It was the chief town of Illyrian tribe of Labeats and later on during the reign of King Gent and Queen Teuta the chief centre of the Illyrian state. In the year 168 BC, the city was taken by the Romans and it became an important trade and military route for them. In 1040 AD, Shkodra was captured by the Serbs and became an important economic and administrative center. In 1396, the city came under Venetian rule, forming a coalition against Ottoman Empire. Despite resisting attacks for some years, Shkodra fell under Turkish rule in 1479. Many inhabitants fled shortly after the occupation that devastated the city. It did not gain its prosperity until about the 17th century.

During its long history the city has played important role in Albanian culture and history. In the southerly part of the city rises the Castle of Rozafa, and in the surrounding neighbourhood there are prehistoric burial grounds and both ancient and medieval fortified settlements.

Rozafa Castle
Today the city and the area around it is blessed with numerous different natural and cultural objects. The city retains its characteristic appearance with narrow streets with tall stone walls on both sides and tall gates. After World War II, Shkodra rebuilt with wider streets and new residential buildings. These were built in several new quarters.

Apart from being a historic centre, Shkodra has always been a centre of education, culture and trade. It has always developed and maintained links to the West, especially to Italy and Austria. Shkodra is also the centre of Albanian Catholicism as well as a fine example of tolerance between religions, with the city comprising all the major faiths found in Albania.

What to see
Rozafa Castle (fortress of Shkodra) – at the entrance of the town, 3km south of the city centre, located on rocky hill 133m high. It is one of the biggest and most famous castles in Albania. The Rozafa castle has a fascinating history, that relates to one of the most beautiful of Albanian Legends. Archaeological excavations have yielded finds extending from the early Bronze Age until the present day. Within its massive defensive walls stand the Church of St. Stephen, several Venetian administrative buildings, a belfry and some medieval rooms. There is also small museum and traditional restaurant. Open 08:00 – 22:00. Admission 200 lek.

St. Stephen’s Church – stands in the principal court of Rozafa Castle. It was constructed in two phases at the end of the 13th and in the 14th century, and was later converted into a mosque.

Leaden Mosque – stands below Rozafa Castle in a medieval quarter, once old bazaar area. It was built in 1773 by Mehmet Pasha Bushati on the model of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, and is roofed with lead.

Nowadays used folk costumes
Historical Museum – Ottoman-era building (1815) with archaeological and ethnographic collections.

National Photo Gallery “Marubi” – is located in the centre of the town and is the richest and most important photographic archive in Albania. It contains more than 500,000 negatives, of which the earliest go back to 1858.

Catholic Cathedral (Kisha e Madhe) – one of the biggest catholic cathedrals in Balkans dedicated to St. Stephen. After it’s reconstruction in 1991, the cathedrait was inaugurated by Mother Theresa and two years later it was visited by Pope John Paul II. Inide of the cathedral is a copy of the Turin Shrout. Free Access.

Albanian Alps – Guri i Kuq
Mesi Bridge
Mes Bridge (Ura e Mesit) – is 6 km north of Shkodra, near the village of Mesi, builded in 1768, over the Kir river. This is the largest and best preserved Ottoman bridge in Albania, built along the ancient trade route from Shkodra to Kosovo. The bridge is 108m long, 3m wide, with 13 asymmetrical archs. The Kir river it crosses has incredibly blue, clear mountain water and the bridge is located in a picturesque landscape.

Shkodra Lake
Shkodra Lake – on the border of Montenegro with Albania is in fact a former sea bay that was cut off from the Adriatic when the sea levels dropped, thousands of years ago. The lake is the largest in the Balkans at 41km long and with surface between 370-530 km2. As its depth is up to 60 metres, the bottom of the lake is well below sea level, making it a so-called cryptodepression. Shkodra Lake is one of the largest bird reserves in Europe, having some 240 bird species inhabiting its shores, including some of the last pelicans in Europe, and thus popular with birders.

Albanian Alps – embrace roughly 2240 km2 and lie in the prefectures of Shkodra and Tropoja. Thirteen peaks exceed 2500 m in height and the principal rivers are the Valbona, Shala, Cemi and Kiri. There is a great diversity of fauna and flora, particularly in the Thethi National Park. Centres of Alpine tourism are Boga, Thethi, Vermosh and Valbona.

Lezha Castle
Lezha Castle
Lezha – town 59 km south of Shkodra founded in ancient times. Lezha was the site where Gjergj Kastrioti Scanderbeg united the Albanian princes in the fight against the Ottoman Empire. Skanderbeg is buried in the cathedral of Lezha which is dedicated to Saint Nicholas. Skanderberg museum has also the outer sector – archaeological environment with objects from Lezha ancient and medieval period, found around the museum.To the east of town on top of a 186m high hill is located Lezha Castle, which bears traces of Illyrian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman architecture.

Shkodra Area in Photos
Rozafa Castle and Shkodra City – 42 pictures from one-day trip to Shkodra during holiday in Montenegro, 09/2008
Country of Flying Saucers – everyday life in Albania – Shkodra, 09/2008
Albanian Mountains – 73 images of different mountains, mainly Albanian Alps

More Information
Shkodra In Your Pocket – essential city guide, the newest issue 2006-2007 (pdf, 3,75MB)

Tourist Information Centre – a small privately-run office accessed from the Hotel Rozafa lobby, with a few brochures, maps and postcards. The staff can give basic information and help organise trips and tickets.
Address: Hotel Rozafa, Open 07:00-15:00, 19:00-20:00, E-mail:

There are also two other hotels in Shkoder, which are mentioned for their service and hospitality like:

Grand Hotel Europa
Hotel Colosseo

Shkodra in centuries…

DEDas Strafrecht im “Kanun von Lekë Dukagjini” – Das albanische Gewohnheitsrecht von Zef Ahmeti
ENThe criminal law in the “Kanun from Lekë Dukagjini” – Albanian customary law by Zef Ahmeti

Lekë Dukagjini – by Tonin Çobani
The immured woman
Archdiocese of Scutari
Our Lady’s legend
Historia e ‘Rozafës’
Historia e Oso Kukës

Shkodër, Shkodra or Scutari (ancient Scodra)

A city in northwestern Albania, capital of Shkodër District. One of Albania’s oldest cities, an important economic and cultural center.
Shkodra lies on southern part of the plain of Mbishkodra, next to the Shkodra Lake (Liqeni i Shkodrës), between the rivers Drin and Bunë, the mountain of Tarabosh, and the Rozafa Castle.

Shkodra is a trading and industrial center of northern Albania. Manufactures include tobacco, textiles, cement, leather products, and building materials.

The city is dominated by a 15th-century Venetian citadel built on a hill.

In former times, Shkodra (pronounced: Shko-drah) was known as Scodra. It was founded around the 4th century B.C. on the hills around the Castle of Shkodra (Rozafa). It was the center of the Illyrian tribe Labeat, and during the rule of Gent it became the capital of the Illyrian kingdom. It was taken by the Romans in the year 168 B.C. One of the most important trade and military routes that came down from the northern part of the Balkan peninsula, passed through Shkodra, continuing to Kosova and further. In 1040, Shkodra was captured by the Serbs and became the center of Zeta. During the 14th century it became the center of the Balsha feudal family. In 1396 it was taken by the Venetians.

Shkodra resisted two major Ottoman attacks, in 1474 and 1478-1479, when the city was entirely surrounded by Ottoman forces. It fell under Turkish rule after a heroic struggle in 1479. After the Turkish occupation the city was devastated, and a large number of the population fled. Around the 17th century, the city began to prosper and it became the center of the ‘sanjak’, Turkish administrative units smaller than ‘vilayets’. It became the economic center of northern Albania, its craftsmen produced fabric, silk, arms, and silver artifacts. Two story stone houses were built, the bazaar, and the Bridge of Mesi (Ura e Mesit) over the Kir river, built during the second half of the 18th century, over 100 meters long, with 13 arcs of stone, the largest one being 22 meters wide and 12 meters tall.

In the 18th century Shkodra became the center of the pashallek of Shkodra, under the rule of the Bushati family, which ruled from the year 1757 to 1831. After the fall of the pashallek, the people of Shkodra had a number of uprisings against the Ottomans, in the years 1833-1836, 1854, 1861-1862, and 1869.

Shkodra became an important trade center in the second half of the 19th century. Aside from being the center of the vilayet of Shkodra, it was an important trading center for the entire Bakan peninsula. It had over 3500 shops, and clothing, leather, tobacco, and gun powder were some of the major products of Shkodra. A special administration was established to handle trade, a trade court, and a directorate of postage services with other countries. Other countries had opened consulates in Shkodra ever since 1718. Obot and Ulqin served as ports for Shkodra, and later on Shëngjin. The Jesuit seminar and the Franciscan committee were opened in the 19th century.

Shkodra played an important role during the League of Prizren, the Albanian liberation movement. The people of Shkodra participated in battles to protect Albanian land. The branch of the League of Prizren for Shkodra, which had its own armed unit, fought for the protection of Plava and Gucia, Hoti and Gruda, and the war for the protection of Ulqin.

In the 19th century, Shkodra was also known as a cultural center. The Bushati Library, built during the 1840s, served as a center for the League of Prizren’s branch for Shkodra. Many books were collected in libraries of Catholic missionaries working in Shkodra. Literary, cultural, and sports associations were formed, such as “Bashkimi” and “Agimi.” The first Albanian newspapers and publications printed in Albania came out of the printing press of Shkodra. The Marubi family of photographers began working in Shkodra, which left behind over 150,000 negatives from the period of the Albanian liberation movement, the rise of the Albanian flag in Vlora, and life in Albanian towns during the end of the 19th and the begining of the 20th century.

During the Balkan Wars and World War I, Shkodra was sought by Montenegro and Serbia. The people of Shkodra had resisted for seven months the surrounding of the town by Serbian and Montenegrin armies. The occupiers finally entered the town in April, 1913, and severely damaged the town and set the bazaar on fire. The Serbian and Montenegrin armies were compelled to leave in May, 1913, in accordance with the London Conference of Ambassadors, which allotted Shkodra to the new country of Albania.

During World War I, Montenegrin forces once again entered Shkodra on June 27th, 1915. In January of 1916, Shkodra was captured by Austria-Hungary and was the center of the zone of their occupation. After World War I, the international military administration of Albania was temporarily located in Shkodra, and in March, 1920, Shkodra was put under the administration of the national government of Tirana. In the second half of 1920, Shkodra resisted another threat, the military intervention of the forces of the Yugoslav kingdom.

Shkodra was center of democratic movements of the years 1921-1924. The democratic opposition won the majority of votes for the Constitutional Assembly, and on May 31st, 1924, the democratic forces took over the town and from Shkodra headed to Tirana. From 1924 to 1939, Shkodra had a slow industrial development, small factories that produced food, textile, and cement were opened. From 43 of such in 1924, the number rose to 70 in 1938. In 1924, Shkodra had 20,000 inhabitants, the number grew to 29,000 in 1938.

Shkodra was the seat of the Catholic archiepiscopacy and had a number of religious schools. The first laic school was opened here in 1913, and the State Gymnasium was opened in 1922. It was the center of many cultural associations, such as “Vllaznia“.

Shkodra was a major center of the democratic movement of 1990 and 1991. Many demonstrations and clashes with the police occurred here, when the population demanded an end to the brutal communist regime of Albania. Shkodra is one of the major industrial centers of Albania. The mechanical and electronic industries are the most developed, preceding are the food and building materials industries. Some of the major manufacturing facilities are the factory of electric wires and cables, wood processing plants, factories of leather and clothing, tobacco, and food.

Shkodra is a major cultural center of Albania. The University “Luigj Gurakuqi” has several branches. The main library has over 250,000 titles. The Cultural Center, the branch of the Artists and Writers Association, and the “Migjeni” Theater are other major cultural institutions of Shkodra. The Museum of History, Museum of Education, the House of the Shkodra Branch of the League of Prizren, the Gallery of Arts, are some of the museums of Shkodra.

The city retains its characteristic appearance, with narrow streets with tall stone walls on both sides, and tall gates, but a large part of it has been transformed after World War II, with straight wide streets and tall residential and public buildings. The city expanded with several new quarters, and the industrial zone was built north of the city.

Some of the cultural monuments of Shkodra are the Castle of Shkodra (Rozafa), the Turkish Bath (hamam), the Mosque of Plumbi, and many old houses with an appearance characteristic to Shkodra. The city lies next to the lake and the residents use te beach of Shiroka for recreation. Population (1990 estimate) 81,900.

Painters from Shkodra

[ Piktorët shkodranë ] – faqe në shqip

P a i n t i n g

Kolë IDROMENO (1860 – 1939)

architect, sculptor, photographer, scene-painter, engineer and painter

Kol Idromeno - painter and architect Idromeno is the most distinguished painter of the Albanian National Renaissance period. He was born in Shkodra, where he learned the first elements of photography from Pjetër Marubi. In 1876 he stayed for some months at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice, and then worked in the studio of an Italian painter. When back in Albania (1878), he engaged himself in a number of different activities, working as an architect, sculptor, photographer, scene-painter, engineer and painter. He was the initiator of the first art exhibition in Shkodra (1923) and was represented in the first national art exhibition at Tirana (1931).

He established a very active photographic studio. Idromeno was the first to show moving pictures in Albania (1912). He had kept up a correspondence with Lumiere brothers in Paris.

Idromeno: Sister Tone
His painting is very rich in details and of a highly artistic value. He created a number of ethnographic compositions. The portrait “Sister Tone” is not only his masterpiece, but also one of the best pieces of the whole Albanian fine arts. Idromeno also stands out as the first landscape painter in the modern Albanian painting school (“Courtyard of a House in Shkodra”) and as the pioneer of the realistic secular painting. His name became known abroad as well, with works represented in international exhibitions, e.g. in Budapest (1900), New York (1939) etc. His paintings are now housed in the Gallery of Fine Arts at Tirana, in Shkodra etc.

Other renowned painters emerged, such as Ndoc Martini (1880-1916), Simon Rrota (1887-1961), Andrea Kushi (1884-1959), Zef Kolombi (1907-1949)

Zef KOLOMBI (1907 – 1949)

Zef Kolombi - talented painter

Kolombi is one of the most eminent figures among the old generation of Albanian painters. Born in Sarajevo into a family of Shkodra origin, he became an orphan in early childhood and grew up under the care of his grandmother in Shkodra. In search of work, he wandered about the streets of Italian and Yugoslav towns.
With the help of his compatriots he was registered as a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, wherefrom he graduated in 1933.

Upon his return to Albania, he was given a post as a teacher of drawing in Elbasan and later in Shkodra. A part of the new generation of Albanian painters learned from him the first skills of this art.

Kolombi: Grapes and peaches
His artistic work includes portraits, landscapes, still lifes and a small number of compositions. He is one of the most renowned painters of still life in Albanian painting. A transparency of colours, an artistic refinement and a beautiful materialization of objects mark them. Foreign specialists have appreciated his still lifes and they could stand meritoriously in the best galleries anywhere. Kolombi has also created some portraits and landscapes, penetrated by grief, expressing the author’s emotional state and the humours of his time. His works have been shown in exhibitions in various countries. They are now housed in the Gallery of Fine Arts at Tirana, Shkodra etc.

Andrea KUSHI (1884 – 1959)

Andrea Kushi: Bariu me shkop

Kushi is one of the most eminent figures among the old generation of Albanian painters. Born in Shkodra, where he spent his childhood, the first impulses to a creative work he received in his birthplace, where the paintings of Idromeno were well-known. For some years he was a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade but thereafter, during the years of the First World War, he was obliged to interrupt his studies. Upon his return to Albania, he worked as an art teacher in Elbasan. He dedicated himself to the training of young painters. In 1931 he opened the first drawing course in Tirana, which some months later became a vocational school, the first fine arts school in Albania. A. Kushi was one of the organizers of the first national art exhibition in Albania (Tirana, 1931). He has been represented in a number of national exhibitions. His works include portraits and landscapes.

The portraits tend to characterize the figure so as to reflect the character’s inner life, in which the painter often exhibits an anxiety produced by the difficulties of his time. His works are housed in the Gallery of Fine Art at Tirana and the galleries at Elbasan and Shkodra.

Taken from: Albanianculturalheritrage

The District of Shkodra I


Kalaja RozafaThe history of Shkodra has been an ongoing struggle for independence and selfdetermination. Shkodra is the most ancient and largest city in Northern Albania. It was founded in 4 BC. In 2 BC. it became a capital of the Illyrian Empire under the name Scutari.

Scutari became an active urban center with traders, and shopkeepers. In 168 BC, the Illyrian Empire fell to the Romans. Shkodra became a Roman colony until the intoduction of the Byzantium Empire. Shkodra remain a strategic city and often the center of struggle among various empires. In 1396 AD Shkodra came under the protection of Venice, forming a coalition against the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire was succesful in seizing Shkodra twice in 1474 and 1478, but was not able to hold it. Finally in 1479, Shkodra fell to Ottomans. In the same year, the first large scale immigration of Albanians left for Calabria, Venice, Trieste and other modern day Italian cities. For the next 500 years, Shkodra would remain under Ottoman Empire and became the capital of the sector knouwn as “Bushatllinjve”.

In the 19th century, Shkodra had 50,000 inhabitants, with over 3,500 shops and a local government. Throughout, Shkodra continued to develop economically and culturally. It used to be the link for the Mediterranean merchants.

In the ate 19th century, Shkodra became one of the Albania’s center for the National Renaissance movement against Ottomans. During this time the League of Prizren was formed. The League of Prizren with Shkodra’s representative, Daut Boriçi, fought for independence and the protection of the Albanian cities. The League assisted Shkodra in protecting the North. The National Renaissance was further raised with writtings of such notable Shkodra citizens as: Jubani, Vasa, Shiroka, Gurakuqi, Fishta, Mjeda and Sokoli. Between 1912-1920, Shkodra became the rallying center for indipendence from the Ottomans. During World War II, Shkodra fought against the fascists. In 1990, Shkodra once again became one of the first cities to begin the movement for democracy and against the Communism.


Qarku i Shkodrës The district of Shkodra is one of the largest districts in Albania. It stretches from the Northern Alps to the costal lowlands. It spans from 42 50′ (Boks, Velipojë) longitude and from 19 54′ (Dukagjin) to 19 17′ (the lake of Shkodra) latitude.

Boundary line length is 304 km, which 149 km are with Montenegro. Nearly 80% of the district is mountains. The highest peak is Jezerca (2,694 m).

The climate is Mediterranean; the average yearly temperatures varies from 7.5C in Vermosh to 14.8C in the city of Shkodra. The temperature in January ranges from -2.7C to 5C; in July, 17-18C to 24.6C. The average yearly rainfall is about 2000 mm, one of highest in Albania.

The district of Shkodra is distinguished for its rich hydrographical sources. There are rivers such as Drini, Buna, Shala, Kiri, Gemi, streams and water sources.

West of the city is Shkodra lake, the largest in the Balkans, 368 km quarter of which 169 km quarter belongs to the Albanian territory.

The climatic factors have influenced the growth of rich vegetations with more then 1,700 species. Nearly 30% of the surface is occupied by forests, mostly pine trees and beach forests. There is also a variation of wild animals.

Demographic data

The district of Shkodra has a population of 253,225 inhabitants, the forth highest in Albania. During the last 50 years, the population has grown very rapidly. Since 1938, the population has increased more than 3 times.

Bashkia e Shkodrës

The rise of population is due to natural growth. The number of births is 23 per 1,000 and deaths 5 per 1,000. The density of population is 101.5 inhabitants per km2.

Ura e Mesit
Nearly 32.2 % of population lives in the city of Shkodra. Shkodra is the largest political and administrative center of the district, and has a population of 83,436 inhabitants. The people of Shkodra are distinguished for their vitality: nearly 31.9 % are children; 57.8 % are employed and only 11.3 % are retired. The proportion of male-female: 104-100.

The average age of population is 28.1 years old. (It’s used the 1991 year statistic.)


The ancient city of Shkodra is located in the Northwestborder on Adriatic coast, surrounded by Drini, Kiri and Buna rivers, and Shkodra lake. The magnificent Albanian Alps provide a scenic backdrop that hide small picturesque villages.

Velipoja beach, 32 km south and 14 km in length, is a natyral and pristine sandy beach. Its warm water and sea air are continuous to be used for medical purposes.

West of Shkodra lake, at the foot of Tarabosh mountain, is the picturesque village of Shiroka, known not only for it beach but its fresh air and sweet smell of flora. Zogaj village, adjacent and borderng Montenegro, has a beautiful beach and a rich tradition for carpentry. North of Shkodra, 41 km, is the village of Razma, where mountain climbing and skiing are ideal. In the heart of Albanian Alps is Theth village, 76 km from Shkodra, with magnificent waterfalls and towering mounain peaks well over two 2000 m. The remaining villages in the area, Vermosh, Boga and Vukli are each nique.

In the center of Shkodra is ‘Rozafa Hotel’, an 8 storey structures with 91 rooms and 161 beds. It offers a panoramic view of the city and entertainment. Additional accommodations can be found at private local hotels. Gift shops can be ound at every corner.

NOTE: The information is taken from the folder of “Shkodra District Council” 1993.
For more information, please contact: Tel. 00355-224-3506, Fax: 00355-224-3720 / 2737.

The District of Shkodra II

The Municipal Organization

The city of Shkodra is divided in two administrations. The District of Shkodra and the District of Highlands
(Malësi e Madhe). The District of Shkodra includes 15 smaller districts (communes) which represent 135 villages. The district of Highlands’ municipality is located in the town of Koplik and includes 5 communes, which represent 55 villages.
The Council for the District of Shkodra has 35 committee members, which includes a Chairman and a Vice Chairman. The Council members are elected by the district and are charged with the responsibility of governing the District. The Chairman is the Executive Branch of the government.

The Mayor of Shkodra is elected by the Shkodra citizens. The city of Shkodra has its own Council of Municipality, which has the right of decision.

Social Life

Shkodra is considered the cradle of the Albanian culture. This honorable distinction is due to the outstanding literary figures the city has produced: Marin Barleti, Zef
Jubani, Pashko Vasa, Gjergj Fishta, Kol Idromeno, Kasem Taipi, Kolë Kamsi, Migjeni, etc.

There are more than 90 cultural monuments, the most prominent being : Museum of the City, Rozafa Castle – with its own museum, the Lead Mosque, the Large Church – the largest church in the Balkans, Mes Bridge, and Migjeni Theater.

The City Library, located in the center of the city, has over 150,000 volumes, including rare historical works. In 1905, the first football in the history of Albania was held in Shkodra. The people of Shkodra, known as “Shkodrans” are well-known for their sense of humor.

The University “Luigj Gurakuqi” of Shkodra, has the faculties of Philology, History and Geography, Biology and Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics, and the College of Teacher Training. Most
recently the faculty of Jurisprudence has been formed and a business college is being planed. It is the only University in Northern Albania.

Pre-elementary school
Kinder garden – 174
Children – 5,844
Teachers – 278
Elementary School(8-years)
Schools – 122
Pupils – 38,858
Teachers – 871Secondary school
Schools – 37
Pupils – 10,682
Teachers – 753
University – 1
Faculties – 2
Students – 2970
Teachers – 97
Hospitals – 9
Beds – 1,118
Maternities – 26
Doctors – 259
Chemists – 39
Dentists – 68

Economic Overview

Shkodra, like the rest of Albania, has now just begun to introduce a free market economy. Fifty years of commanded economy was not able to take advantage of Shkodra’s rich natural sources, specifically the production of electricity and chrome.

Most notably:

HYDROELECTRIC PLANTS, located on Drini river:

  • Koman Plant with an output of 600,000 kwh
  • Vau i Dejes Plant with an output of 250,000 kwh.
electric wire


Total land
Agricultural fields
Natural pasture
Olive grove
Cultivated pasture
252,830 ha
94,105 ha
45,584 ha
38,903 ha
22,847 ha
3,541 ha
1,800 ha
1,300 ha
1,054 ha
486 ha
Total number of phones
Government and business


The main foreign languages spoken in Shkodra are: Italian, English, German and French.

NOTE: The information is taken from the folder of “Shkodra District Council” 1993.
For more information, please contact: Tel. 00355-224-3506, Fax: 00355-224-3720 / 2737.

Our Good Lady’s Legend

Our Lady of Shkodra
It is an icon from 5-th century. The legend says that this icon has been shown up in the church of
Zoja e Shkodres for many centuries, but after the Turkish invasion on the 15-th century…

More History…
The immured woman
Archdiocese of Scutari
In Albanian
Historia e ‘Rozafës’
Historia e Oso Kukës

Zoja e Shkodrës

Zoja e Shkodrës

Our Good Lady’s Legend
… the icon ‘flied‘ to Genazzano, Italy, where it is still there.

A copy of it, was donated to the Big Church of Shkodra, by Pope himself, when He paid a visit to Shkodra on 25 April 1993. The church Zoja e Shkodres has been restored by help of Vatican and now has a great mission for the spiritual life of people in Shkodra.

* * *

The legend says that on the Feast of St. Mark, 1467, during a festival in Genazzano, Italy, a cloud descended upon an ancient 5th century detiorated church dedicated to Our Mother of Good Counsel. When the cloud disappeared, the festive crowd found a small, fragile picture of Our Lady with Her Child on a paper – thin sheet of plaster; the painting stood without support, floating, on a small ledge.

The church was restored and the painting was placed in it. The painting is believed to have been recovered from Scutari (Shkodër), Albania. Much of the church was destroyed in World War II, but the picture remained intact and in place.

Many pilgrims visit the church in Genazzano, and many take part in the annual spring procession of spectacular beauty. The miraculous image is still, to this day, and has been for more than 500 years, suspended in the air by itself. Countless miracles have been attributed to the prayerful intercession of Our Lady of Good Counsel.

Zoja e Shkodrës is a symbolic icon of the town of Shkodra.

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Media from Shkodra

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Rozafa – the immured woman (video)

— by Arben Çokaj

The first beginning of an ancient city. Everything begins as a legend, everything continues like in a legend. Rozafa was there, before Christ was born, she is there right now.

For those who know the legend of Rozafa, the fortress of Shkodra, it’s probably clear that on its walls there is the “live-body” of a mother.

– essay –

The woman ‘Rozafa’ begs for letting her breast out, to feed with milk her little son. With her body, Rozafa gave birth to a child, and with her sincerity and her self-sacrifice, she gave birth to a town. Upon her body were build a fortress, and the three brothers of the legend found afterwards the good will over immuring this woman. As always happen, something must be sacrificed to give life to something much bigger.

Gjekë Marinaj


Under the illusion
that a woman’s value is less than a man’,
They immured me.

Under the idea
that it was feeded by my blood,
Castle found strength to remain standing.

Under the embarrassment
that it can be called as a witness,
River Drin continues its way.

Under the emblem
of human self-sacrifice,
They turned me in legend.

Under the pretext
that all of them were right,
I immured in myself the word “murder”

And this way, Shkodra could live over this legendary sacrifice. The human history in its self, in its in-conscious turbulence, has proven the paradoxical unreason: Something sacred must be given – something sacred will be gained. Life is sacred. And the coming generations are able to use what was gained over the loss. Rozafa, this naive woman, could have died like any other woman – forgotten, but she died, without knowing it, to live as a legend.

This paradox of the human reason brings us to a beginning: The old man as an ‘oracle’, tells to the brothers that they must immure one of the women, to make possible the wall standing. Is it possible that this philosophic lesson of the oracle, this unique symbolic action, is made to tell us, that when you loose something valuable, you begin to give value to what you have built over the loss?… And this has happened very naturally in the time of Rozafa, the woman who was immured, because of giving life. She was immured because the oracle said it. She sacrificed her life for common traditions. This constitutes the philosophic power of the legend: Sacrifice as necessity, without discussion.

But, a question comes naturally to our mind: are the most of people ready to sacrifice something? No, but in another way, yes! Everyone loose something, someone more, and someone less, without desiring it, without knowing the reason. This happens as usually and naturally, as it happened with Rozafa. But our loss are small, individual losses, meanwhile the loss of Rozafa was for the global interest’s sake: building a protecting wall for Shkodra.

The University of Shkodra

[ The Official HomePage of the University “Luigj Gurakuqi” of Shkodra ]

Rector of the University of Shkodra is Prof. Dr. Artan HAXHI (in the photo).

The University “Luigj Gurakuqi” of Shkodra has long been the major institution of higher education in the region, especially in the technical and scientific disciplines. However, the university has a complete void in the field of market economics and management. In 1992, the university received permission from the government to initiate the development of the Faculty of Economics, with responsibilities for emphasizing market economics, management, and business administration.

University of Shkodra – Head building
Mr. Menduh Derguti, Rector of the University of Shkodra in 1992, specifically asked the University of Nebraska – Lincoln to help develop its curriculum in market of economics and business management. Rector Derguti attended the training seminars provided by the UNL team in September, 1992. As a result, the current Rector, Dr. Gjovalin Kolombi, is quite enthusiastic to establish quality programs at the Faculty of Economics.

The Faculty of Economics

Kolec Traboini – writer and publisher

[ Culture & Arts ]

Read also:

Reference of Traboini colorful Work:

In Albania:
1975 Bachelor of Journalism, University of Tirana, Albania.
1975-1991 scriptwriter for Kinostudio Albafilm Tirane. My work included writing of scripts for documentary films.
I recived 1-st National Price for the film “Asdreni”, 1976, first for the film “Keshtjella e Kengeve” (The Castle of Songs), also won the best Film of the Year 1990 for the film “Deshmi nga Barleti” (Witness from Barleti) – a war history of 1468-1478, in my hometown Shkoder, North Albania.

In Greece:
1991-1995 immigrat in Athens-Grecce, worker and later Publisher and Editor of “The Egnatia” newspaper in two languages, Albanian and Greek.

I moved to USA on July 1995. For over than three years, I published a non profitable Albanian Buletin as a contribute to the new Albanian Immigrant Community in Boston.

Free-lance Author:
I have authored several books, which have been published, such as “Petalet e Bajames se hidhur”, 1973 (trans. Leaves of Wild Almonds), “Balada e largesive” 1995 (Ballads from Afar), “Rapsodi Ushtore” 1995 (Rhapsodies reverberate-Satiric poems), “Gjurme ne histori” 1995 (History’ Tracks), “Katerkendeshi i mundimeve” 2001 (Quadrangle of Fatigue), “Mos vdis dashuri” poems 2002, (Don’t die our love).

Boston, May 2, 2002


Kosova, 1998

In difficult desperate situations
we raise eyes towards the sky
and cry
Oh God!
We don’t know if this is a revolt or a call for mercy
But, despite he horrible state of affairs,
hope always remains
as a ragtag faded flag
in the frigid heart of Old Lady Europe
as a skull of a horse at Waterloo.
I join with the pain and the hope
with damnation and hate
with love and mercy
with the aspiration and fate of every human being
there in the depths of the black well
of human hell.

Despite living in a free world
our spirit is broken by the darkness
broken by this tyrannical and hypocritical century
that does not feel remorse
in the face of massacres against humanity
in the face of slitting the angels’ throats
in the face of the blood streams and the splitting
of the skulls
in front of tanks that smash the fragile bones
of doves

Faced with the Middle Ages’ darkness
rising out of the
Balkan trenches
to wipe out and annihilate a nation.
With eyes towards the sky in revolt
do I have the right to say
now that man has fallen:
Where are you oh God?!

— K. Traboini, Boston, August 13, 1998

Translated by:
Ferhat Ymeri
Kent – Washington

This poetry has been published on the Anthology of the International Library of Poetry, 1999 – page 108, under the title “OF MEMORY’S BLESS”, on the section of the writers from USA and other authors from the world.


I would like to remind all the contributors of the discussion on” racism and intolerance” that what our college Alush Kola has stated is nothing when compared with the reality of what has happened to the Albanian emigrants in the Greek territories. Such a long and endless discussion over the words of Mr Kola who has his own point of view, seems to me more like a passionate attempt to defend Greece than to discuss the ethics of discussion on this list. When I talk about Greece and Greek politics I am in no way referring to the Greek People , for which I have the greatest love and respect, but to certain sectors of its society which are responsible for the aggressiveness in Greek Politics. It is not racism to hate and denounce the destructive, violent and genicidal policies of political sectors of a state, but it is racism when you feed a people with hate towards another.

I would like to ask some of you if you know history in detail or even with approximation. Are you aware of the human fate of entire communities in Greece, which does not recognize any ethnicity except for the Greek?
Do you know that there are Turks in Ksanth whose ethnicity is not recognized? Are you aware that there are hundreds of thousands of Arvanites (ethnic Albanians) to whom the right of Albanian schooling has been denied and who are not even allowed to form clubs, while due to indirect attacks from the media they have stopped declaring their identity?

Do you know that on new year’s eve of 1993 , while the world was celebrating the coming of the new year, the Greek police forces, engaged in a witch hunt, where chasing down Albanians emigrants during the night under the eyes of their sensational cameras?

Let us ask the Albanian embassy in Athens how many Albanians were killed by the police , and how many disappeared without a trace. They are in the thousands. Let us look through the pages of the Greek newspapers “Elefterotipia”, “Tanea”, “Kathimerini”, “Apogjematini”, “Athens News” and others to find the terrible facts of how the Micotaki government has promoted racism. You have not seen ,and could not even in dream, the heads cut open, the burnt bodies of 18 year old boys, the adolescents killed by Greek landlords in black watered canals in Crete, and therefore you feel indignation with the words of Mr. Kola. I who write this to you , love the Greek People for their spiritual values of the simple people, for the beauty of their culture and all other things, for their marvelous poetry a part of which I have translated in the Albanian language for the newspaper for emigrants which I directed, but I could never forget the suffering of the Albanian emigrant, the chases, the killings, the public beatings the groups of 30 to 50 people tied together in the streets of Athens , reminiscent of the methods of medieval times, which I have witnessed during my sad 5 years stay in Greece.

And if I continue to ache in my soul for the lost and the murdered of my People (for which each of you should hold a minute of silence in your soul), this ,sirs. Does not mean that I am a racist or intolerant. I have lived through racism and intolerance during the 5 years which I have lived In The Shadow of the Acropolis.

5 years emigrant in Greece
Boston, September 17, 1997