Shpirti i Shqiperisë
Home -|- History -|- News -|- Feedback -|- -Archæology




The National Anthem


An Albanian Folk Tale

An Albanian Actor

Anthony Weir

An Irish poet

Edith Durham

"Queen of the Mountains"

Ivanaj Brothers

The remarkable albanian writers

King Zog

The Albanian Modern King

The Legend of Rozafa

(The castle in Shkodra city)

Lord Byron

Norman Wisdom and Albania



( The Nation Hero)

Mother Teresa


of Albanian towns
and c

Albanian Links






The Legend of Rozafa



In the background of the Shkodra city, the "Rozafa" castle rises imposingly on a rocky hill, 130meter above the sea level. It seems as if iron claws keep it on the steep rocks, surrounded by the Buna and Drini rivers.

The castle is known by the topomym "Rozafa"The hill on which castle lies, is in the center of all routes. The German author Johan Georgvan Han has asserted that no other place would be as suitable for its construction as the one chosen by the ancestors who were well aware of this fact. The castle has faced the torrents of history for thousands of years retaining ancient and medieval traces which are inseparably bound up with the roots of Shkodra city.

Its legend, archeology and history testify to its early existence. The legend is about the initiative of three brothers who set about building the castle. They worked all day, but the walls fell down at night. They met a clever old man who advised them to sacrifice someone so that the walls would stand. The three brothers found it difficult to decide whom to sacrifice. Finally, they decided to sacrifice one of their wives who would bring lunch to them the next day. So they agreed that whichever of their wives was the one to bring them lunch the next day was the one who would be buried in the wall of the castle. They also promised not to tell their wives of this. The two older brothers, however, explained the situation to their wives that night, while the honest youngest brother said nothing.

The next afternoon at lunch time, the brothers waited anxiously to see which wife was carrying the basket of food. It was Rosafa, the wife of the youngest brother. He explained to her what the deal was, that she was to be sacrificed and buried in the wall of the castle so that they could finish building it, and she didn't protest.

The faithfulness of the youngest brother and the life sacrifice of his young wife are highlighted as elements thas acquire symbolic importance. Rozafa, who was predestined to be walled was worried about her infant son, though accepted being walled on condition that they must leave her right breast exposed so as to feed her newborn son, her right hand to caress him and her right foot to rock his cradle.

I plead
When you wall me
Leave my right eye exposed
Leave my right hand exposed
Leave my right foot exposed
for the sake of my newborn son
so that when he starts crying
Let me see him with one eye
Let me caress him with one hand
Let me feed him with one breast
Let me rock his cradle with one foot
May the castle breast be walled
May the castle rise strong
May my son be happy

This was done, and that is why there is a stone in the castle from which, even today, milk flows.


The Albanian word of honor "Besa"

The Albanians Besa is most closely translated as the word of honor. It is something that is almost holy to the Albanians, and a true Albanian is supposed to keep his given Besa no matter what. There are many stories told about the Besa (many of which are probably true), but here is the most amazing one. Two young men got into a fight in a crowd in the streets, and one of them shot the other. He started to run away, but was chased by the 'xhandar' (old form of police forces in Balkans). He fled into a house and asked the woman who was there to hide him.

The woman gave him the Besa and hid him. The police forces soon came to the house and asked for the young man. In the middle of the conversation, the woman understood that they were chasing the young man she was hiding because of murder, and that he had shot her son. Yet, she had given the Besa, and she did not tell the police that the man who had shot her son was in the house.




Hosted by