In the southern entrance of the city, at the top of Valdanuz hill, 130 m above sea level, Rozafa Castle is the is the most impressive sight in town. With the spectacular views over the city, Shkodra Lake and conjunction of three rivers is a very important attraction of the city. Due to its strategic location, the hill has been settled since antiquity. According to local legend, it has been founded by three brothers, who walled the youngest brother’s bride, Rozafa, in the foundations as an offering to the gods so that the construction would stand.
Constructed and ruled by Illyrians from the fourth century b.c and rebuilt much later by the Venetians and then the Ottomans. The medieval walls, built of stones and mortar, have been erected over the more ancient Illyrian walls and follow the irregular alleys of the ground. Along the walls stand also eight defensive towers. The interior of the castle, which encloses an area of 4 hectares, is divided into three courtyards communicating with each other by small doors.
A winding cobbled path leads to the main entrance of the castle and to the first courtyard where you can see the oldest castle walls. Following the same path, and after passing the second entrance, the second courtyard opens up. The second courtyard offers a breathtaking view of fields below and in particular of Shkodra lake and Buna river. In this courtyard you can see the church of St. Stephen, converted into the Sultan Fatih Mosque (Mehmet II), water deposits and wells, storage of weapons, prison etc. Following the same path that leads to the third courtyard, which is the most important part of the castle that served as the residence of the governor of the city. A large building dating back to the fifteenth century, built by the Venetians, now houses the museum of the castle. The castle is very easy to reach, only 3 km south of the city centre. You can go there by bike, public transport or with a taxi. The taxi costs around 700 lekë or 5 Euros.
Hours: 9 am – 8 pm Apr – Oct, 9 am – 4pm Nov – Mar
Admission 400 lekë, 3.5 Euro
The Mesi bridge is only 6 km from the city. The bridge is crossed by the river of crystal clear water Kir and represents a symbol of the city both for its beauty and its history.
Built in 1769 by Kara Mahmud Pascia to connect the city of Shkodra with Drisht, Dukagjin and eventualy Prishtina, what was the ancient caravan route that connected Albania to Kosovo, it is now an attraction for tourists. The bridge is about 3,4 m wide, 108 m long and 12,5 m high, composed of 13 arches with the largest central arch and other 12 non-symmetrical arches of various sizes. The spectacular thing about this bridge is the fact that it does not follow a straight line but has folds, one of which is 14 degrees.
In the summer under the bridge people take advantage of the beautiful running water to bathe. Usually, after crossing the Mes Bridge, tourists continue to hike towards the ruins of Drishti Castle, which offers a fantastic view of the surrounding area. The Mesi Bridge overlooks the Kir River which is known for its crystal clear waters that create a beautiful panorama, and during hot days, groups and families gather under the bridge to enjoy its fresh water.