Sunday, 14 October 2012

Kruje & Shkodra, Albania (14 Oct 2012)

In the morning we left Durres and headed to Kruje via Vore. It rained off and on all day today. Kruje is located at the foot of Mount Kruje and after driving up the windy narrow road, we were first greeted with a nice view and then the old bazaar.

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Kruje castle sits proudly at the highest point in Kruje. Our first glimpse of Kruje town after parking Our Sorento. That is where we are headed to on foot.

Kruje Old Bazaar

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This one street bazaar has all sorts of interesting items including traditional clothes and even antiques.

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 Wikipedia states “traditional Albanian clothing… includes more than 200 different kinds of clothing in all Albania and Albanian inhabited lands. This is due to the division the Albania principalities in the Middle Ages. To this day, some conservative old men and women mainly from the North wear traditional clothing in their daily lives. Instead, older women from the South usually wear all-black outfits. Almost every region in Albania has its own traditional dress with women clothing being particularly colorful and rich in detail.”

Here are photos of some traditional Albanian clothing seen in the Old Bazaar:

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Qeleshe (traditional hat) made of wool. The shoes are made from wool too.

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Even artifacts from the war are also on sale here.

After the Old Bazaar, we walked to the castle. There are a few places we visited in the castle:
Kruje Ethnographic Museum

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This traditional Ottoman house, built in 1764 by Ismail Pashe Toptani, houses the Ethnographic Museum. So far in our travels across Albania we have seen many traditional houses but have not stepped into one. Almost every major town has an ethnographic museum but we chose to visit this one in Kruje.  Entrance fee is 300 Lek. Unfortunately, a sign at the entrance indicated that photos and videos are not allowed.

This museum provided us with the opportunity to have a glimpse inside a traditional Albanian house as well as their traditional way of life. The house itself has two levels and is jam packed with artifacts and tools used by Albanian in the olden days. The items on display can age from 60-70 to 500 years. All the items are fully functional and most of them are originals. The lower ground is mainly the workshop. Upstairs is the living quarters.

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A well in the compound of the traditional house.

Skanderberg Museum

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This museum honors Albanian national hero – George Kastrioti Skanderberg. Entrance fee is 200 Lek. Photos and videos are not allowed in the museum. The only photos allowed were of the League of Lezhe sculpture. The museum houses artifacts from the Albanian-Ottoman war. At the top of the museum, we had an excellent panoramic view of the city below.

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Museum entrance.

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League of Lezhe sculpture.

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View of Kruje town from Skanderberg Museum

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View of Kruje town from Skanderberg Museum

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View of Kruje town from Skanderberg Museum

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Late 15th century Hammam or Turkish bath. This guy was telling dad a little history as he took mum and dad around.

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Inside the old Hammam

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Inside the old Hammam


In the evening, we left Kruje and headed for Shkodra where we stayed the night. We arrived at Shkodra after dark and walked around in search of a restaurant to have dinner. Unfortunately, there were only a couple of fast food shop and quite a number of pubs and they did not serve food for dinner. Dad did not fancy having fast food so we headed to the restaurant at the Grand Hotel. We were the only customer in the restaurant and the waiter was very attentive. As we waited for our food, he brought along 3 glasses of champagne, on the house. The food, though not very traditional albanian food, was very good. The prices are higher than a normal restaurant, which was expected. After our nice long meal, we turned in.

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