Shkodër: Wikis

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Shkodër
Shkodër is located in Albania
Shkodër
Coordinates: 42°04′N 19°30′E / 42.067°N 19.5°E / 42.067; 19.5Coordinates: 42°04′N 19°30′E / 42.067°N 19.5°E / 42.067; 19.5
Country  Albania
County Shkodër County
District Shkodër District
Founded 4th century B.C.
Government
 - Mayor Lorenc Luka (PD)
Population (2008)
 - Total 86,200
Time zone Central European Time (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 4001-4007
Area code(s) 022
Car Plates SH
Website www.shkodra.gov.al

Shkodër (Albanian: Shkodër or Shkodra; see the etymology section for other names), is a city located on Lake Skadar in northwestern Albania in the District of Shkodër, of which it is the capital. It is one of the oldest and most historic towns in Albania, as well as an important cultural and economic centre. Shkodër's estimated population as of 2004 is 90,000; if the surrounding region is included the population is 110,000. As of 2008 the current population is 228,000 including the surrounding region, villages and mountains.

Contents

Etymology

The origins of the city's name remain shrouded in mystery. The name on coins minted in Hellenistic Scodra (during the rule of Genthius) have the legend (Greek: ΣΚΟΝΔΡΙΝΩΝ)[1]. Some believe the name has a Latin root, while others that the name it was Illyrian. In early 20th century, Shkodër was referred to in English by the Italian name Scutari.[2] In Greek, it is known as Σκουτάριον (Scutarion) or Σκόδρα (Skodra), in Serbian, Croatian Montenegrin and Macedonian as Скадар (Skadar), and in Turkish as İşkodra. Some scholars believe that the name derives from "Shko-drin" which in Albanian means "where Drin goes", Drin being the Drin River that connects with the Buna River next to the castle of Rozafa.

History

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Antiquity

The town was know as Scodra (Greek: Σκάρδον)[3] (Latin: Scodram)[4] during the antiquity, and was the capital of the first kingdom of the Illyrian tribe of the Ardiaei, since the middle of the 3rd century BC[5]. The town, was first mentioned during classical times as the site of the Illyrian Labeates, as well as the capital of the kingdom of King Gentius[6]- 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[7] the town. Scodra remained in the province of Illyricum, and later Dalmatia. By it 395 AD, it was part of the Diocese of Dacia, within Praevalitana.

Middle Ages

View of the Rozafa Castle

The dawn of the Middle Ages saw waves of Slavs arriving. De Administrando Imperio describes how Byzantine Emperor Heraclius gave the Slavs the city of Shkodër and the surrounding territories during the first half of the 7th century. The Slavs soon formed the Byzantine sponsored Principality of Duklja there. Shkodër was a major city of the medieval Montenegrin state. Duklja was subjected to its northern neighbor, the Principality of Rascia, forming the Grand Principality of Rascia. Its rulers recognized Bulgarian Czars as their supreme rulers during the first half of the 10th century.

Soon Grand Prince Časlav of the House of Klonimir gained control of the local Serbian lands previously under Byzantine and Bulgarian rule. Shkodër soon became Duklja's capital during the reign of Saint John Vladimir in the second half of the 10th century who defended the city from an uprising of the Arbanas tribes. John had to briefly surrender Duklja to the Bulgarian ruler Samuil.

The Byzantines later incorporated the region directly into their empire, forming the Theme of Serbia governed by Strategos Constantine Diogenes. Stefan Voislav from Travunia expelled the last Strategos of Serbia Theophilos Erotikos and fought the Byzantines successfully during the first half of the 11th century, keeping its independence. It soon became a major city of a revived Duklja. King Constantine Bodin of Duklja and Dalmatia accepted the crusaders of the Crusade of 1101 in Shkodër. After numerous dynastic struggles, in the 12th century Shkodër became a part of Zeta, which was a part of medieval Serbia. It later fell to the hands of the House of Balšić followed afterwards by the Dukagjini control who surrendered the city to the Venetian rule, forming a coalition against the Ottoman Empire with many neighboring Albanian tribes.

Shkodër and surrounding area

15th to 19th centuries

Shkodër (under Venetian rule) resisted a major Ottoman attack in 1474. In 1478 the city was again entirely surrounded by Ottoman forces. Mehmed the Conqueror personally laid the siege. About ten heavy canons were cast on site. Balls heavy as much as 380 kg 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: Lezhë, Drishti, Zhabjak. This, together with famine and constant bombardment lowered the morale of defenders. On the other hand the Ottomans 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 that would save some honour and more lives, 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.

After the Turkish occupation a large number of the population fled. Around the 17th century, the city began to prosper and it became the center of a sanjak, 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.

In the 18th century Shkodër became the center of the (pashaluk) of Shkodër, under the rule of the Bushati family, which ruled from 1757 to 1831. After the fall of the pashaluk, the people of Shkodër had a number of uprisings against the Ottomans (1833–1836, 1854, 1861–1862, and 1869). During this time, many of the Serbian families had to emigrate.

Shkodër became an important trade center in the second half of the 19th century. Aside from being the center of the vilayet of Shkodër, it was an important trading center for the entire Balkan peninsula. It had over 3,500 shops, and clothing, leather, tobacco, and gun powder were some of the major products of Shkodër. 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 Shkodër ever since 1718. Obot and Ulcinj served as ports for Shkodër, and later on Shëngjin (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]

Shkodër played an important role during the League of Prizren, the Albanian liberation movement. The people of Shkodër participated in battles to protect Albanian land. The branch of the League of Prizren for Shkodër, 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.

In the 19th century Shkodër 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 Shkodër. Many books were collected in libraries of Catholic missionaries working in Shkodër. 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 Shkodër. The Marubi family of photographers began working in Shkodër, which left behind over 150,000 negatives from the period of the Albanian liberation movement, the rise of the Albanian flag in Vlorë, and life in Albanian towns during the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century.

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

20th century

During the Balkan Wars, Shkodër 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 that 10,000 casualties. Montenegro was compelled to leave the city to the new country of Albania in May 1913, in accordance with the London Conference of Ambassadors.

During World War I, Montenegrin forces again occupied Shkodër on June 27, 1915. In January 1916, Shkodër 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 Shkodër, and in March, 1920, Shkodër was put under the administration of the national government of Tirana. In the second half of 1920, Shkodër resisted another threat, the military intervention of the forces of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Shkodër was the center of democratic movements of the years 1921–1924. 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 Shkodër headed to Tirana. From 1924 to 1939, Shkodër 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, Shkodër had 20,000 inhabitants, the number grew to 29,000 in 1938.

Shkodër 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 Shkodër 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, Shkodër 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.

Climate

The climate is Mediterranean climate; the average yearly temperatures varies from 14.5C to 16.8C in the city of Shkodra. The temperature in January ranges from 1.7C to 9C; in July, 17-18C to 26.6C. The average yearly rainfall is about 2000 mm, one of highest in Albania.

Climate data for Shkoder
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 20
(68)
21
(70)
24
(75)
27
(81)
34
(93)
39
(102)
45
(113)
44
(111)
36
(97)
31
(88)
26
(79)
22
(72)
45
(113)
Average high °C (°F) 9
(48)
11
(52)
15
(59)
19
(66)
24
(75)
28
(82)
32
(90)
32
(90)
27
(81)
21
(70)
15
(59)
11
(52)
20.3
(69)
Average low °C (°F) 1
(34)
3
(37)
6
(43)
9
(48)
13
(55)
17
(63)
20
(68)
20
(68)
16
(61)
11
(52)
7
(45)
3
(37)
10.5
(51)
Record low °C (°F) -14
(7)
-12
(10)
-7
(19)
-4
(25)
-1
(30)
7
(45)
10
(50)
9
(48)
1
(34)
-1
(30)
-6
(21)
-10
(14)
-14
(7)
Precipitation mm (inches) 191
(7.52)
168
(6.61)
160
(6.3)
144
(5.67)
90
(3.54)
64
(2.52)
38
(1.5)
66
(2.6)
122
(4.8)
166
(6.54)
240
(9.45)
213
(8.39)
1,662
(65.43)
Source: weather.com[8] 2010-03-13

Culture

Traditional house in Shkodra

Shkodër 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 Shkodër 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" Theater (named after Millosh Gjergj Nikolla), the Gallery of Arts, and the Museum of History. Shkodër is the center of Albanian Catholicism and the most prominent city of Roman Catholics in Albania. Historic cultural architecture includes the Castle of Shkodër, the Turkish Bath, and the Lead Mosque. The Castle of Shkodër become famous during the First Balkan War when it was protected by the Turkish general Hasan Riza Pasha and Esad Pasha.

Mosque in Shkodra

Shkodër 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, having produced well-known Muslim personalities as Shaykh Nasirudin Albani.

Music

Migjeni Theater in Shkoder

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 the sevdalinke of Bosnia and the neighboring Sandžak, 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 nineteenth 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, Luçije Miloti, Xhevdet Hafizi and Bujar Qamili.

Sights

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.

Built during the Illyrian reign, the castle has sprouted a legend explaining the keeping of a promise. Rozafa, the bride of the youngest of three brothers, was walled up alive in the mortar of the walls of the castle to ward off evil that was destroying them each night. The calcareous water passing through the stones at the main entrance is connected in the folk fantasy with the milk of the bosom of Rozafa, which she requested be left available to nurse her newborn baby boy. She also requested that one foot be used to rock his cradle and one arm to lull him to sleep. Inside the ancient walls is a museum dedicated to the history and legends of the castle.

Lake Skadar 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 Sarda, a medieval town situated only 15 km from Shkodër. To go out there you must take a motor-boat from the dam of Vau i Dejës out to the island where Sarda is located (about 10 miles, or 16 km). Sarda 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 in the east of Shkodër lies the medieval citadel of Drisht.

Many visitors feel that Shkodër 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 Shkodër was rebuilt with wider streets to accommodate automotive traffic, and new residential buildings are being constructed all the time.

Shkodër is also the home of Loro-Boriçi Stadium, the second biggest stadium in Albania.

Notable people

Below are some of the most notable personalities born or long time residents in Shkodër:

See also

Gallery

See also

References

  1. ^ The Illyrians by John Wilkes,ISBN 0631198075,1992,page 177 & 179
  2. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th edition (1911), "Scutari" article.
  3. ^ Polybius
  4. ^ Titus Livius
  5. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica 2002 page 680
  6. ^ The Illyrians by John Wilkes,ISBN 0631198075,1992,page 172,"...Gentius among the Labeates around Scodra/"
  7. ^ The Illyrians by John Wilkes,page 213,"The list of Roman settlements includes some of the... Scodra..."
  8. ^ http://www.weather.com/outlook/travel/businesstraveler/wxclimatology/monthly/graph/ALXX0001

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Shkodra article)

From Wikitravel

Europe : Balkans : Albania : Shkodra

Shkodra is the fourth largest city in Albania.

Understand

History

Queen Teuta' Illryan kingdom was based here in the 3rd century BC. The Ottamans seiged it in 1473 and 1479, and lost 14,000 and 30,000 men in these raids, respectively. Shkodra changed hands with Montenegro numerous times during World War I. Shkodra was badly damaged in a 1979 earthquake.

Get in

By bus

Buses between Shkodra and Tirana leave approximately every hour. The 2 hour, 116km journey costs 300 leke.

To/from Ulcinj in Montenegro, regular buses cost €8. If not available, you can take a taxi to the border at Muriquani (€10) and after crossing the border, take another taxi to Ulcinj (€8).

From Podgorica, take public buses to Tuzi, then hire a taxi either to the border or to Shkodra.

Minibuses to/from Hani i Hotit (the Montenegro border on the way to Podgorica ) run around 300 Lek. Taxis for this journey cost €15.

Get around

By bike

Shkodra is the bike capital of Albania, because its flat. This is a heritage from the Hoxha-era.

  • Rozafa Fortress, (2km southwest of Shkodra, near the southern end of Lake Shkodra). Founded by the Ilryans, rebuilt by the Venitians and the Ottomans. Rozafa is a woman buried in the ramparts, who supports the structure. Bring a torch and go exploring. There are amazing views from the highest point. 200 lek.  edit
  • Statue to 5 Heroes, (In the Center of Shkodra). Homoerotic statue of 5 men holding hands gazing down the 5 streets that intersect in the square.  edit
  • Fototeke Marubi, Muhamet Gollesha. First ever photograph taken in Albania (1858) is here. 130 lek.  edit
  • Lake Shkodra. The largest lake in the Balkans.  edit
  • Buna River.  edit
  • Velipoja Beach.  edit
  • Camping in the Mountains.  edit

Buy

"Skanaderbeu" Kognak

Eat

Shkodra is famous for its numerous patisseries where you can eat delicious sweets.

  • Hotel Colosseo, [1]. 14 rooms. Single: €50; Double: €60; Suite: €70.  edit
  • Hotel Rozafa, (Rruga Marin Barleti close to the Five Heroes). Old communist style hotel. 91 rooms. 8 stories. From €15.  edit
  • Grand Hotel Europa, Sheshi 2 Prilli, +355 222 4 12 11. Prestigious luxury hotel. 50 rooms. From €123.  edit
  • Hotel Argenti, + 355 224 39 09. new and modern hotel in Velipoja area where you can find commode ambient and a quality service. Hotel “Argenti” has comfortable rooms furnished with air conditioned, TV, bathroom and showers. At the restaurant of the hotel you will taste the delicious traditional Albanian and European cuisine.  edit
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