Worth Visits in Albania
Galeria Kombëtare e Arteve
A visit to the Galeria Kombëtare e Arteve is ideal for those taking part in trips or special study trips to the Albanian capital Tirana. In the art gallery there is the opportunity to familiarize oneself in detail with the work of Albanian artists and to be confronted with works by international artists in the parallel exhibitions.
Albania and its artists
Looking back on a very eventful history, Albania gained its independence in 1912 and is now a parliamentary republic. For the first time, on the initiative of Albanian artists, in 1946, the Committee of the Arts was created, an institution dedicated to the country’s visual arts. Eight years later, their work led to the opening of the first state art gallery in Tirana, which was open to the public. In November 1974 it was able to move into a new building in the center of Tirana, in which the chronologically arranged art collections with works by Albanian artists are presented to a broad public in six halls. The art museum has also had its own library since 1999.
Albanian painting in the 20th century
The round of works of art to be seen in the Galeria Kombëtare e Arteve opens with the painting of “Sister Tone” by the artist Kolë Idromeno. It dates from 1883 and marks the beginning of secular painting in Albania. A relatively large room is devoted to artists who studied at the drawing school in Tirana in the 1930s and 1940s. The paintings of realistic and academic painting are followed by paintings from the era of socialist realism, some of which show a Soviet influence, including the work created by Zef Shoshi “The Moscow Conference of 81 Communist and Workers’ Parties in November 1960”.
The most recent works to be seen in this art museum date from the last decade of the last century and were mostly created by artists of modern painting.
in Albania and Montenegro
The Skadar Lake is the largest and most famous body of water on the Balkan Peninsula. It is located in the border area between Albania and Montenegro. While the sea in the south-west is separated from the Adriatic Sea, 20 kilometers away, by the Rumija Mountains, which are up to 1,600 meters high, in the north-east there is a wide flat plain with swampy landscapes. The Skadar Lake is 48 kilometers long and up to 14 kilometers wide. Some islands, on which there are small churches, monasteries and castle ruins, are mainly on the Montenegrin side. This is where the region’s most important sight – the St. Nikolas Monastery – is located.
The city of Shkodra on Lake Skadar
Shkodra is located on the southeastern tip of the lake. The Albanian city is around 2,400 years old and has a population of around 140,000. The region’s cultural life has always taken place here, and hardly a trip to Lake Skadar leads past Shkodra. The town’s landmark is the Rozafa castle ruins, the origins of which can be traced back to pre-Roman times. What remains is the massive fortification wall, which sits enthroned on a steep hill between the two rivers Buna and Drin.
Natural ecosystem and important breeding area
The Skadar Lake is also an attractive destination for study travelers. It represents an important ecosystem for all kinds of animals and plants. The lake is also an important resting and breeding area for numerous migratory birds from Northern Europe. The Montenegrin as well as the Albanian part are designated as nature reserves or parks, in which pelicans, among other things, feel at home
Fortress in Gjirokastra
The fortress in Gjirokastra in southern Albania in the historical region of Epirus is worth a detour when visiting the small, European country. It can be easily reached from Tirana via Tepelena and only 30 km from the Greek border. A day trip from nearby Corfu is also worthwhile.
On the historical background of the fortress in Gjirokastra
From the castle you have a picturesque view of the valley and the city, which was excluded from the architectural modernization of Albania in the 1960s and 1970s and therefore placed under protection as a World Heritage Site. The defense system has been expanded again and again over the centuries. Individual buildings of the fortress date back to the 12th century, parts of the city wall can even be dated to the 3rd century. There is a military history museum at the fortress, which presents exhibits from the 20th century with a focus on the Albanian partisan movement during World War II. During the reign of King Zogu I in the 1930s, the northern part of the citadel was converted into a prison,
The National Folklore Festival of Gjirokastra
There is a special opportunity to visit every five years when the Gjirokastra National Folklore Festival takes place at the castle. The festival is considered to be one of the most important cultural events for traditional dance and music in Albania. The last Albanian folklore festival of Gjirokastra was in 2015.