Kruja (alb. Krujë) is a medieval town located 32 km northwest of Tirana and 20 minutes by car from the international Airport of Rinas. It is built 560 meters above sea level, on the slopes of Sari -Salltiku mountain.
Kruja’s castle offers breathtaking views over the mountains. If you are looking for relaxation and quiet, this is the place to be. Kruja is not crowded like Tirana, it is surrounded by beautiful mountains and, although a bit touristic, it is not frequented like the main destinations located on the coast. So keep it in mind.
Kruja Castle – was built during the 5th and 6th centuries and has an elliptical shape with a total area of 2,25 hectars. The surrounding walls are reinforced by nine towers, which served as an observation and signaling post during times of war. Within the walls of the castle there can still be found the remains of a few houses.
Museum of Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg – inside of Kruja Castle.
Ethnographic Museum – inside of Kruja Castle.
Traditional Bazaar – on the way to the castle, a medieval – type bazaar with traditional handicrafts such as filigree, alabaster, silver, copper, wooden made objects, wool carpets, etc. Its main pecularities are that all the shops are made of wood.
The name of Kruja derives from the Albanian word krua, meaning ‘water spring’. The citadel have become the main Illyrian fortress in the area in the 4th century AD. In the year 879, Kruja was mentioned for the first time as a Christian religious center, (bishop see). The first Albanian feudal state was created here circa 1190.
The ottomans occupied Kruja two times, in 1396 and 1415. Town reached its zenith on the 28th of November 1443 when the Kruja castle was taken by Gjergj Kastrioti (Skanderbeg), who then organized the long anti-Ottoman resistance. From this time on, under the leadership of Skanderbeg, Kruja repelled three Ottoman sieges in 1450, 1457 and 1466. Only ten years after the death of Skanderbeg, in 1478, were the Ottomans able to capture the castle and destroy the town.