This morning, after meeting your guide and driver, you will start with a walking tour of Tirana city center. Having undergone a transformation of extraordinary proportions since the communist fall in the early 1990s, Tirana is now a bustling capital with pedestrian areas, restaurants and museums.
You will first visit the National Historical Museum of Albania, which covers approximately 60,000 years of history. You will also visit the National Art Gallery of Tirana – a small but interesting collection of 19th-century paintings, Albanian socialist realism and temporary exhibitions. Next, your guide will take you to Bunk’Art, a huge Cold War bunker that was converted into a history and contemporary art museum.
Then, you will transfer about 45 minutes north of the capital city and to Kruje – the historic hometown picturesquely situated on a hill and stronghold of Albania’s national hero George Kastrioti – Skanderbeg, who successfully fought the Ottoman invasion for more than two decades. Albanian original buildings and the old bazaar will allow you to move into the past.
Kruje was the center of the Albanian resistance against the Ottomans led by Skanderbeg. Driving along the winding mountain road, you will reach the town’s main square marked by the equestrian statue of Skanderbeg wielding his sword. Continuing uphill and above the town, you will reach the historic fortress and citadel which successfully withstood three Ottoman sieges led by Sultan Murat and later by his son Sultan Mehmed II – the conqueror of Constantinople (now Istanbul). It was only after Skanderbeg’s death that the fortress finally fell, and the Albanian resistance was suppressed.
As you enter the restored fortress, you will visit the Historical Museum, which focuses on Skanderbeg’s life and follows the Albanian struggle against the Ottoman invaders and the historical development of the citadel. With time permitting, just down the hill, you will visit the small Ethnographic Museum, which is housed in the former home of an affluent Ottoman family from the mid-18th century and offers an insight into the life in Kruje centuries ago.