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Shkodr: an albanian city

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Shkodr and Bjeshkt e Nemura seen from Rozafa Castle




4204N 1930ECoordinates:




Shkodr County


Shkodr District


4th century BC

4204N 1930E


Lorenc Luka (PD)


16.46 km2 (6.36 sq mi)


13 m (43 ft)

Population (2011)[1]



5,800/km2 (15,000/sq mi)



Time zone

Central European Time (UTC+1)

Summer (DST)


Postal code


Area code(s)

(+355) 22

Car Plates



Shkodr (definite Albanian form: Shkodra) is a city in northwestern Albania in the District of
Shkodr, of which it is the capital. It is one of the oldest and most historic places in Albania,
as well as an important cultural and economic centre.
During many different epochs it has retained its status as a major city in the Western
Balkans, due to its geostrategic positioning close to the Adriatic and the Italian ports, but
also with land-routes to other important cities and towns in neighbouring regions.
Its importance is heightened by the Lake of Shkodr to the west of the citythe largest in
the Western Balkansthat straddles Albania and neighbouring Montenegro. The
population of Shkodr is 95,907, while Shkodr County has a population of 217,375.[1]


1 Etymology
2 History
2.1 Antiquity
2.2 Middle Ages
2.3 In the Ottoman Empire
2.4 Era of Nationalism
2.5 20th century
3 Climate
4 Culture
4.1 Music
5 Sights
6 International relations
6.1 Twin towns Sister cities
7 Notable people
8 Gallery
9 See also
10 Annotations
11 References
12 Sources
13 External links

The name of Shkodra is first attested in antiquity in the
form Skodra (Latin: Scodra, Ancient Greek: ),[2][3][4] and in the Greek
genitive ('of the Skodrians') found on coins from the 2nd century BC.[5] Its
ultimate origins, from Illyrian, are unknown.[2] The further development of the name has
been the object of some discussion among linguists in the context of the debate over the
linguistic provenance of Albanians and the Albanian language. While Cabej[6] and
Demiraj[7] treat the development from Skodra to modern Shkodra as evidence of regular
development within Albanian, Matzinger [2] argues that it fails to display certain known
phonological changes that would have to have happened if the name had been continually
in use in (proto-)Albanian since pre-Roman times.
The name was adapted to Italian as Scutari; in this form it was also in wide use in English
until the 20th century.[8] In Serbian, Shkodr was known as (Skadar).



Rozafa, an Illyrian fortress.

The town was known as Scodra (Latin: Scodra)[10] during antiquity, and was the capital of
the first kingdom of the Illyrian tribe of the Ardiaei, since the middle of the 3rd century BC.
The town, was first mentioned during classical times as the site of the IllyrianLabeates,
as well as the capital of the kingdom of King Gentius[12]- in which he minted coins - and that
of Queen Teuta. In the year 168 BC, the city was captured by the Romans and it became
an important trade and military route. The Romans colonized[13] the town. Scodra remained
in the province of Illyricum, and later Dalmatia. By it 395 AD, it was part of theDiocese of
Dacia, within Praevalitana.

Middle Ages

Shkodra coat of arms in the 14th and 15th centuries

The dawn of the Middle Ages saw waves of Slavs arriving. De Administrando
Imperiodescribes how Byzantine Emperor Heraclius (r. 610-641) gave the Serbs a territory
in the Western Balkans during the first half of the 7th century. The southernmost, maritime
polity of the Serbian Principality, at Duklja, included the Shkodr region. After the death
of Prince aslav (r. 927-960), the state disintegrated, with Duklja retaining most of it. [14]Khan
Samuel had by 997 conquered all of Thessaly, Epirus, Macedonia, and most of modern
Albania.[14] In the early 11th century, Jovan Vladimir ruled Duklja amidst the war
between Basil II and Samuel. Vladimir allegedly retreated into Koplik when Samuel I
invaded Duklja, and was subsequently forced to accept Bulgarian vassalage. Vladimir was
later slewn by the Bulgars, and received a cult; Shingjon (the feast of St. Jovan Vladimir),
which is celebrated by the Albanian Orthodox Christians. [15]
In the 1030s, Stefan Vojislav from Travunia expelled the last strategos, and successfully
defeated the Byzantines by 1042. Stefan Vojislav set up Shkodr as his capital.
Constantine Bodin accepted the crusaders of the Crusade of 1101 in Shkodr. After the
dynastic struggles in the 12th century, Shkodr became part of the Nemanyid Zeta
province. In 1330 Stephen Deanski appointed his son Stephen Duan as the governor of
Zeta and its seat Shkodr (Serbian: ).[17] In the same year Duan and his father
entered the conflict which resulted with campaign of Deanski who destroyed Duans court
on Drimac river near Shkodr in January 1331. In April they made a truce, [18] but in August

1331 Duan went from Shkodr to Nerodimlje and overthrow his father.[19] During the fall of
the Serbian Empire (14th century), Shkodr was taken by the Bali family who
surrendered the city to Venice, in order to form protection zone from the Ottoman Empire.
During Venetian rule the city adopted the Statutes of Scutari, a civic law written in Venetian,
which also contained Albanian elements such as Besa and Gjakmarrja.[20][21]

In the Ottoman Empire

the Lead Mosque, built in 1773

Main articles: Venetian Albania, Sanjak of Scutari, Pashalik of Scutari and Scutari Vilayet
With two sieges (1474 and 1478-9) it became secure as an Ottoman territory. It became the
centre of the sanjak and by 1485 there were 27 Muslim and 70 Christian hearths, although
by the end of the next century there were more than 200 Muslim ones compared to the 27
Christian ones, respectively.[22]
Military manoeuvres in 1478 by the Ottomans meant that the city was again entirely
surrounded by Ottoman forces. Mehmed the Conqueror personally laid the siege. About ten
heavy cannons were cast on site. Balls heavy as much as 380 kg (838 lb) were fired on the
citadel (such balls are still on display on the castle museum). Nevertheless the city resisted.
Mehmet left the field and had his commanders continue the siege. By the winter
the Ottomans had captured one after the other all adjacent castles: Lezh, Drisht,
andabljak Crnojevia. This, together with famine and constant bombardment lowered the
morale of defenders. On the other hand theOttomans were already frustrated by the
stubborn resistance. The castle is situated on a naturally protected hill and every attempted
assault resulted in considerable casualties for the attackers. A truce became an option for
both parties. On January 25 an agreement between the Venetians and the Ottoman
Empire ended the siege, permitting the citizens to leave unharmed, and the Ottomans to
take over the deserted city.
Shkodr was a major city under Ottoman rule in Southeast Europe. It retained its
importance up until the end of the empire's rule in the Balkans in the early 20th century.
This is due to its geo-strategic position that connects it directly with the Adriatic and with the
Italian ports, but also with land-routes to the other important Ottoman centre,
namely Prizren. The city was an important meeting place of diverse cultures from other
parts of the Empire, as well as influences coming westwards, by Italian merchants. It was a
centre of Islamin the region, producing many ulema, poets and administrators, particularly
from the Bushati family.
In the 18th century Shkodr became the center of the (pashaluk) of Shkodr, under the rule
of the Bushati family, which ruled from 1757 to 1831. Shkodr's importance as a trade
center in the second half of the 19th century was owed to the fact that it was the center of
the vilayet of Shkodr, and an important trading center for the entire Balkan peninsula. It
had over 3,500 shops, and clothing, leather, tobacco, and gunpowder were some of the
major products of Shkodr. 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 Shkodr ever since 1718. Obot and Ulcinjserved as ports for
Shkodr, and later on Shngjin (San Giovanni di Medua). The Jesuit seminar and
the Franciscan committee were opened in the 19th century. It was also the main spot for
transporting 'illegal' things through Montenegro and throughout eastern Europe. [citation needed]

Before 1867 Shkodr (kodra) was a sanjak of Rumelia Eyalet in Ottoman Empire. In
1867, Shkodr sanjak merged with Skopje (skp) sanjak and became Shkodr vilayet.
Shkodr vilayet was split into Shkodr, Prizren and Dibra sanjaks. In 1877, Prizren passed
to Kosovo vilayet and Debar passed to Monastir vilayet, while Durrs township became a
sanjak. In 1878 Bar and Podgorica townships belonged to Montenegro. In 1900, Shkodr
vilayet was split into Shkodr and Durrs sanjaks.

Construction of the Shkodr Cathedral in 1867

After Ottoman domination was secure, large number of the population fled. Around the 17th
century, the city began to prosper and it became the center of the Sanjak of
Scutari (sanjak was an Ottoman administrative unit smaller than a vilayet). It became the
economic center of northern Albania, its craftsmen producing fabric, silk, arms, and silver
artifacts. Construction included two-story stone houses, the bazaar, and the Central or
Middle Bridge (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.

Era of Nationalism
Shkodr played an important role during the League of Prizren, the Albanian liberation
movement. The people of Shkodr participated in battles to protect Albanian land. The
branch of the League of Prizren for Shkodr, which had its own armed unit, fought for the
protection of Plava and Gusinje, Hoti, and Gruda, and the war for the protection of Ulcinj.
The Bushati Library, built during the 1840s, served as a center for the League of Prizren's
branch for Shkodr. Many books were collected in libraries ofCatholic missionaries working
in Shkodr. Literary, cultural, and sports associations were formed, such as Bashkimi ("The
Union") and Agimi ("The Dawn"). The first Albanian newspapers and publications printed in
Albania came out of the printing press of Shkodr. The Marubi family of photographers
began working in Shkodr, which left behind over 150,000 negatives from the period of the
Albanian liberation movement, the rise of the Albanian flag in Vlor, and life in Albanian
towns during the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century.

20th century
During the Balkan Wars, Shkodr went from one occupation to another, when the Ottomans
were defeated by the Kingdom of Montenegro. The Ottoman forces led by Hasan Riza
Pasha and Esad Pasha had resisted for seven months the surrounding of the town by
Montenegrin forces and their Serbian allies. Esad (Hasan had previously been mysteriously
killed in an ambush inside the town) finally surrendered to Montenegro in April 1913,
after Montenegro suffered a high death toll with more than 10,000 casualties. Miss Edith

Durham also notes the cruelties suffered at the hand of Montenegrins in the wake of
October 1913: "Thousands of refugees arriving from Djakovo and neighbourhood. Victims
of Montenegro. My position was indescribably painful, for I had no funds left, and women
came to me crying: 'If you will not feed my child, throw it in the river. I cannot see it
starve.'"[23] Montenegro was compelled to leave the city to the new country of Albania in May
1913, in accordance with the London Conference of Ambassadors.

Newly constructed swing bridge over Buna River

During World War I, Montenegrin forces again occupied Shkodr on June 27, 1915. In
January 1916, Shkodr was taken over 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 Shkodr, and in March 1920, Shkodr was put under the
administration of the national government of Tirana. In the second half of 1920, Shkodr
resisted another threat, the military intervention of the forces of the Kingdom of Serbs,
Croats and Slovenes.

The pedestrian street known as Sheshi or Pjacaon Kol Idromeno Street

Shkodr was the center of democratic movements of the years 19211924. The democratic
opposition won the majority of votes for the Constitutional Assembly, and on May 31, 1924,
the democratic forces took over the town and from Shkodr headed to Tirana. From 1924
to 1939, Shkodr 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, Shkodr had 20,000 inhabitants, the number grew to 29,000 in 1938.
Shkodr was the seat of a Catholic archbishopric 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. In sports Shkodr was the first city in
Albania to constitute a sports association, the "Vllaznia" (brotherhood). Vllaznia is the
oldest sport club in Albania.

During the early 1990s, Shkodr was once again a major center, this time of the democratic
movement that finally brought to an end the communist regime established by Enver
Hoxha. In the later 2000s (decade), the city experiences a rebirth as main streets are being
paved, buildings painted and streets renamed. In December 2010, Shkodr and the
surrounding region was hit by probably the worst flooding in the last 100 years. [24] In 2011, a
new swing bridge over the Buna River was constructed, thus replacing the old bridge

Shkodr has a Mediterranean climate (Csa) that is almost wet enough in July to be a humid
subtropical climate (Cfa); the average yearly temperature in the city varies from 14.5 C
(58.1 F) to 16.8 C (62.2 F). The temperature in January ranges from 1.7 C (35.1 F) to
9 C (48.2 F); in July, from 20 C (68.0 F) to 32 C (89.6 F). The average yearly rainfall is
about 2,000 millimetres (78.7 in), which makes the area one of the wettest in Europe.
[hide]Climate data for Shkodr




































































Avg. precipitation days ( 0.1 mm)






% humidity









Mean monthly sunshine hours









Average high C (F)

Daily mean C (F)
Average low C (F)
Precipitation mm (inches)

Source: Climate And Temperature[25]


Interior of the Shkodr Mosque

Shkodr is an important educational and industrial center. The city produces various
mechanical and electrical components, along with textile and food products. Luigj Gurakuqi
University of Shkodr is one of the more prestigious learning centers of Albania. The public
library of the city contains more than 250,000 books. Several other cultural institutions
exist, such as the Cultural Center, the Marubi Photo Archives, the Artists and Writers
Association, the Migjeni Theatre (named after Millosh Gjergj Nikolla), the Gallery of Arts,
and the Museum of History. Shkodr is the center of Albanian Catholicism and the most
prominent city of Roman Catholics in Albania. Historic cultural architecture includes
the Castle of Shkodr, the Turkish Bath, and the Lead Mosque. The Castle of Shkodr
became famous during the First Balkan War when it was protected by the Turkish general
Hasan Riza Pasha and Esad Pasha. Many festivals take place on an annual basis such as
Carnival, Children Festival, Lake Day, and Shkodra Jazz Fest.
Shkodr is also famous for its Islamic scholarship. The site of the only institution in Albania
which provides high-level education in Arabic and Islamic Studies.

City tunes differ from the rural music of the land, but both enjoy popularity in Shkodra.
Northern music is a refined combination of romantic and sophisticated undertones with
oriental-sounding scales and a constant interplay of major and minor. It bears a significant
affinity with thesevdalinke of Bosnia and the neighboring region of Raska Oblast in Serbia,
but differs from them in their extreme forms while maintaining a typically Albanian quality
through the exceptional fluidity of rhythm and tempo. Early descriptions of such music
groups, which date from the end of the 19th century, suggest use of the violin, clarinet,
saze, defi, and sometimes Indian-style harmonium and percussion (provided by rattling a
stick between two bottles). Today, the accordion and guitar have replaced the more exotic
instruments. Among the most important players are Bik Ndoja, Luije Miloti, Xhevdet Hafizi
and Bujar Qamili.


The Mes Bridge, built in the 18th century

The city and the surrounding area are blessed with a large variety of natural and cultural
elements. The most attractive quarters of the city are commonly thought to be Pjaca,
identifiable as the main city centre between statues of Mother Teresa and Luigj Gurakuqi,
and Gjuhadol, the neighborhood around one of the most scenic streets connecting the
Cathedral on the east side of town with the middle of the city. The most recognizable
memorial is the legendary castle of Rozafa known also as Rozafati.

Rozafa Castle at the top of a hill overlooking the Buna

Lake of Shkodr is the biggest lake of the Balkans peninsula. It is a major summer
attraction for tourists and inhabitants.
Another interesting historical site is the ruins of Shurdhah (Sarda), a medieval town situated
only 15 kilometres (9 miles) from Shkodr. To go out there you must take a motor-boat from
the dam of Vau i Dejs out to the island where Shurdhah is located (about 10 miles, or
16 km). Shurdhah was built atop a hill on the island, roughly 5 ha in area, surrounded by
the waters of the Drini river (which has been rerouted now to form an artificial lake). At one
time it was the summer retreat of the famous Dukagjini Family.
About 5 km (3 mi) east of Shkodr lies the medieval citadel of Drisht.
Many visitors feel that Shkodr is the soul of Albania. The very characteristic appearance of
the city is formed by the juxtaposition of ancient houses and narrow streets joined with
stone walls and modern buildings. After World War II, some of Shkodr was rebuilt with
wider streets to accommodate automotive traffic, and new residential buildings are being
constructed all the time.
Shkodr is also the home of Loro-Borii Stadium, the second biggest stadium in Albania.

International relations
Twin towns Sister cities
Shkodr is twinned with:

- Prizren, Kosovo
Ulcinj (Albanian: Ulqin), Montenegro
- Gjakova, Kosovo
- Cetinje, Montenegro

Notable people
Below are some of the most notable personalities born or long time residents in Shkodr:

Fahrettin Altay Turkish commander as pasha

Marin Barleti, 15th century Albanian historian and priest
Marin Beikemi, 15th century Albanian philosopher, orator, and professor
Masar Bushati, teacher who has opened 13 schools in the area. [26]
Gjergj Fishta, Albanian Catholic poet
Simon Gjoni, composer
Karl Gurakuqi, linguist and folklorist.
Luigj Gurakuqi, one of the leaders of the Albanian national movement

Kol Idromeno, Albanian painter and photographer

Prenk Jakova, author of the first Albanian opera.
Zef Jubani, folklorist and activist of the Albanian National Awakening
Branko Kadija, communist, People's Hero of Albania
Tinka Kurti, famous Albanian actress
Vojo Kushi, Albanian World War II hero and People's Hero of Albania
Jordan Misja, communist, People's Hero of Albania
Vioresin Sinani, legend footballer
Henrik Lacaj, translator and scholar
Zef Coba, composer
Ndre Mjeda, Albanian Catholic romantic poet
Hil Mosi, Albanian politician and poet
Muhammad Nasiruddin al-Albani, Islamic scholar
Ndoc Nikaj, Catholic priest, historian and writer
Millosh Gjergj Nikolla, poet (pen name Migjeni)
Erkand Qerimaj, world champion of weightlifting
Gjergj Radovani, Bishop of Shkodr and later Archbishop of Bar
Ferid Rragami, footballer
Perlat Rexhepi, communist, People's Hero of Albania
Filip Shiroka, Albanian renaissance poet
Hodo Sokoli, leader of the League of Prizren
Ramadan Sokoli, prominent ethnomusicologist
Andrea Suma, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lezh
Ibrahim Tukiqi, Albanian singer.
Lazr Vladanji, Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bar in the 18th
Gjergj Vladanji, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sap in the 18th century
esk Zadeja, composer
Angela Martini, International Supermodel and formerMiss Universe Albania

The Franciscan Church of Shkodra

The Parruce Mosque

The Ebu Bekr Mosque

The Orthodox Cathedral of Shkodra

The Shkodra History Museum

The Municipal building

A Government building

The Migjeni Theatre

The Marubi Gallery of Photography

A traditional house turned into restaurant

An old bridge over Buna

A restaurant near Skadar Lake in Shiroke village

A sculpture of Rozafa and her child

A view from Rozafa Castle

Rozafa Castle Wall

Rozafa Castle Ruins

Rozafa Castle Ruins

Rozafa Castle Wall

See also

History of Albania
Culture of Albania
Lake Koman Ferry
Music of Albania
Tourism in Albania
Drisht Castle
Shkodr Airport
Serbian epic poetry
List of ancient cities in Illyria
2010 Albania floods

a. ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Serbia and the Republic
of Kosovo. The latter declared independence on 17 February 2008, butSerbia continues to
claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. Kosovo's independence has been recognised
by 108 out of 193 United Nations member states.



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