About Krujë Castle
Krujë Castle is located in the north central Albanian city of Krujë. It was most famously ruled by the Albanian feudal lord Skanderbeg following his 1443 rebellion against the Ottoman Empire.
History of Krujë Castle
The first construction on the site of Krujë Castle likely dates to the early Middle Ages. By the Albanian Revolt of 1432-1436, it was in control of the Ottoman Empire.
During this revolt, which was motivated by the replacement of local nobilities with Ottoman landowners and the implementation of Ottoman governance and taxation, Andrea Thopia led an unsuccessful siege of the castle.
Within the decade, Krujë Castle became the centre of Skanderbeg’s rebellion against the Ottomans. Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbej, known as Skanderbeg, was educated as a hostage in the Ottoman court. He was eventually appointed as a governor of the Sanjak of Dibra, part of which is in present-day Albania.
During the Battle of Niš (1443), where Christian crusaders defeated three Ottoman armies in Serbia, Skanderbeg deserted the Ottomans with 300 loyal Albanians. He captured Krujë Castle and embarked on a 25-year long rebellion against Ottoman rule.
Skanderbeg seems to have captured the castle using a forged letter from the sultan. Under the command of Skanderbeg, Krujë Castle withstood three sizable sieges from Ottoman forces. In 1450, 1466 and 1467 Ottomans failed to take control.
For his resistance, Skanderbeg has been celebrated as a national hero in Albania. The castle houses the Skanderbeg Museum, one of the most visited museums in Albania. The castle itself is depicted on the reverse of the 5000 lekë banknote.
The minaret and lower walls of the Sultan Mehmed Fatih mosque of Krujë remain on the site of the castle and were built some time before 1481. Krujë Castle also contains the remains of the Dollma Tekke, a Bektashi place of worship which was diminished during the Communist dictatorship.
Krujë Castle today
Krujë Castle is one of the most visited historical sites in Albania. There are multiple museums located at the site of Krujë Castle, including the Skanderbeg Museum and the Ethnographic Museum. These collect materials related to Albanian history in the 15th century and objects related to the history of Albanian daily life.
Getting to Krujë Castle
Krujë Castle is located in the city of Krujë, which is about 12 miles north of the Albanian capital of Tirana. The city is small and can be walked. Buses and taxis can be caught from Tirana to Krujë. The bus to Krujë departs from the bus station serving the northern religion on Dritan Hoxha Street.