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Antiquity

Shkodra is one of the oldest cities in Albania, with about 2500 years of history. Archaeological traces and finds belonging to the Middle Paleolithic have been found in Shkodra, while excavations have proved that the city has been inhabited uninterruptedly from the Neolithic. This is because the area has a rare combination of conditions and factors that make it very favorable for the development of human activities. On the south side of today’s city, archaeological materials date back to the Early Bronze Age (2000 BC). The castle is located on the top of a hill at the entrance to the city at a height of 130 m. In the V-IV century p.e.r. the construction of the castle began with cyclopean stones mounted without mortar. At the entrance of the castle is a tract of such a wall with a length of 12 m and a height of 2.2 m. It is the first evidence of the return of Shkodra to a civic center during the V-II centuries BC.

Shkodra has not changed its name for more than two thousand years. There are several theories regarding the etymology of the name. Johann Georg von Hahn (1811–1869) thinks that the name comes from the Albanian word “kodra” which means “hill”. One of the most reliable theories says that the name “Shkodra” is derived from “Shko-Drin” or “Drin shko” in english Drin Go referring to the river Drin. Among the ancient authors, Shkodra is first mentioned in Polybius (208-125 BC), which gives us some of its characteristics, while Titus Livius (64 or 59 BC – 12 or 17 BC), describes Shkodra as “the strongest place of Labeats and a hard place to approach”.

Shkodra and the surrounding area were inhabited by the Illyrian tribe of Labeates and Ardiaei. During this time, the city had a distinct economic development, as evidenced by the issuance of the first coin in 230 BC. In 181 BC, Shkodra became the capital of the Illyrian Empire, under the Illyrian king Gentius, a descendant of Agron. In 168 BC, the city was invaded and occupied by the Roman Empire. After the conquest of Shkodra by the Romans, the Illyrian Kingdom ceased to exist. In 395 CE, after the partition of the Roman Empire, Shkodra became part of the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) and the capital of the Province of Praevalitana, which included Southern Dalmatia and Northern Albania.

In 168 BC, the city was invaded and occupied by the Roman Empire. After the conquest of Shkodra by the Romans, the Illyrian Kingdom ceased to exist. In 395 CE, after the partition of the Roman Empire, Shkodra became part of the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) and the capital of the Province of Praevalitana, which included Southern Dalmatia and Northern Albania.