A Tour of Traditional Items in Kruja

The Artisanal Mecca of Albania  

It is safe to say that Kruja is Albania’s most sacred town as it has played the most important role in Albania’s long struggle for independence. As it befits Albania’s patriotic haven, Kruja has also been the commerce center of various craftworks for centuries. Here, trading flourished around the 19th-20th century, at which point the famous Old Bazaar of Kruja included more than 130 stores. The various works from handlooms, copper, wool, silver, leather and many other materials gave Kruja’s products nation-wide fame, a fame that continues to this very day.

The Bazaar of Kruja continues to attract tourists to its remaining 70 boutiques where they get to witness each local master practice his or her craftsmanship.  As these masters work, they happily explain the intricate processes of their specific crafts to the visitors and, with each story, they reveal a great part of Albania’s social and cultural history.

1) Loom Works

Kruja is renowned for having some of the best weavers in Albania. These fabric magicians weave cloth, drapery, and carpets with the greatest mastery, using stunning color combinations, especially the red and black of the national flag. The bazaar showcases some of their best works and you will also get a chance to directly speak to the artisans about their suggestions and your own preferences.

Loom Works

Traditional Albanian kilim or tapestry-woven carpet, Source: panorama.com.al

2) National Costumes

National costumes are some of the most requested items of Kruja’s Bazaar which explains the rich variety available there. The elaborate costumes come from every region of the country and, thus, you will see fustanellë (kilt), xhubletë (a bell-shaped skirt), traditional shoes embellished with tassels, costumes with tirq (traditional tight-legged trousers for males) or çitjane (traditional wide trousers for females, harem pants). The traditional costumes from different regions of Albania will make this shopping experience a beautiful journey into the country’s traditions and past.

National Costumes

Albanian National Costumes, Kruja, photo by Intoalbania

3) Copper Decorations and Engravings

Beautiful objects made of copper are among the most favored souvenirs among those who want to possess something traditionally Albanian. These objects reflect different time periods and ways of life, as the bazaar offers domestic and war objects, as well as ones used for gardening and travel, among others. As such, a visit at bazaar reflects an intimate experience where objects reveal the real history of life in Albania.

Copper Decorations and Engravings

Copper Decorations and Engravings, Kruja Old Bazaar, photo by Intoalbania

4) Filigree

Many are the artisan workers which masterfully weave silver, gold or copper threads in the national costumes, sword or knife sheaths, jewelry and many other objects offered at the bazaar. The elegance of the filigree makes these objects some of the most stunning and preferred choices for gifts and home decorations.


Filigree jewelry, Source: lonelyplanet.com

5) Qeleshe

No Albanian arts-and-crafts tour would be complete without the inclusion of the most recognizable Albanian object: the qeleshe, a traditional white woolen hat. This simultaneously functional and decorative hat enhanced every traditional male costume and is, perhaps, the main symbol of Albanian tradition. Recent years have seen a revival of the qeleshe during Independence Day celebrations in Albania and Kosovo, soccer championship matches, and other similar events. The artisans in Kruja continue crafting the qeleshe exactly as it has been done for centuries. As you stroll through the bazaar, you will find it difficult not to immediately put one on and take a selfie!

National Ethnographic Museum

National Ethnographic Museum, Kruja, photo by IntoAlbania

Ethnographic Museum of Kruja

While the Old Bazaar of Kruja will surprise you with plenty of beautifully crafted objects, which you will come to know more intimately, for those of you who want to further expand your knowledge on Albania’s history of arts and crafts, you may choose to visit the Ethnographic Museum of Kruja. Located inside the Castle of Kruja, museum displays, among many other beautiful objects, various intricate embroideries dating back to 300 years ago.  (For our full article on the Ethnographic Museum click here. For our full article on the Caste of Kruja click here.)

The Ethnographic Museum of Kruja

Ethnographic Museum of Kruja, photo by Intoalbania

By: IntoAlbania


15 Best Photos From Durrës

Located on the Adriatic coast and only a 30-minute drive away from the capital of Tirana, the beach of Durrës is the longest and most populated one in Albania. Modern architectural structures, like the Sphinx, the vibrant promenade and delicious seafood restaurants are a serious part of this city’s charm. Durrës is also home to [...]

View more

24 Hours in Lezha: Go for its History, Beaches ...

A city rich in history and spectacular landscapes, in addition to being one of the gastronomic centers of the entire country, Lezha packs a full day of valuable and delicious amusement. After you have enjoyed your morning coffee in one of the many cafés in town, head to Lezha Castle, from where you will get [...]

View more

24 Hours in Berat

The City of 1001 Windows is a national cultural and heritage center that reserves beautiful strolls along cobbled alleys in its famous Mangalem, Gorica and Castle neighborhoods and much more. One of the most historic and oldest cities in Albania, Berat will fill your entire day with beautiful landscapes in addition to its rich culture [...]

View more

24 Hours in Saranda

The last coastal city along the famous Southern Riviera is one of the most ideal places to spend your day In reality, the legendary coastal city of Saranda would ideally require more time to be fully experienced. However, if you only have 24 hours to spend here, we can suggest the absolute must-sees of this [...]

View more

A Journey in Tirana’s History: From Plenum Tyre...

Tirana has been Albania’s administrative center for almost a century but this city’s history goes even further back in time. While the toponym Tirana was first mentioned in the 15th century as “Plenium Tyrenae” (“Field of Tirana”), the city became an established settlement almost two centuries later, in 1614, with the establishment of a mosque [...]

View more

24 Hours in Vlora

The vibrant coastal city of Vlora is a requisite stop for every tourist visiting Albania during the summer. Vlora marks the boundary between two seas – the Adriatic and the Ionian – which, in turn, are simultaneously shared between three countries: Albania, Greece, Italy. Boasting an enviably long and beautiful coastline, the ideal exploration of [...]

View more

Picturesque Villages around Pogradec

Pogradec is the quintessential nostalgic city! This particular sensation arises as you cruise down the national road and an image of utter calm and timeless beauty unfolds before you. The smooth, creamy blue surface of Lake Ohrid, punctuated by lively swans and seagulls! This is the lake of a certain delicious fish called koran, found [...]

View more

Top Destinations around Saranda

This southernmost city in Albania is quite the multifaceted place! An ideal destination for your holidays, year-round. A location full of virgin beaches and delicious seafood. Sharing a border with Greece, Saranda is also a gateway to this other significant cultural destination. Last but not least, entry fees in the most wonderful parks and destinations [...]

View more

Rugged Landscape of Dibra

Most refer to Dibra’s northeastern highlands as Albania’s roof. This region’s highly diverse nature is due to the high peaks and low valleys found along Dibra’s rugged landscape. As one of the largest geographical areas of the entire country, Dibra boasts more than 50 spectacular natural monuments. Countless caves hidden among beautiful mountains, small lakes, [...]

View more

Developed by Frakton & Designed by project.graphics