Annual Festivities in Shkodër

Albania’s Cultural Hub

Among many Albanians, the northern city of Shkodër is known as the nation’s cradle of art and culture. This is apparent not only by its long list of names who have contributed to Albanian arts and culture throughout centuries but also in the unique manner the people of Shkodër lead their daily lives. There is no other city in Albania that hosts this number of national and international artistic events throughout the year. Especially in this regard, the joyful spirit of Shkodër and its atmosphere remains unrivaled!

The Carnival Revival

Venice’s influence on the city of Shkodër is most evident in its carnival, which was first organized as early as the 1860s. After the 90s, this tradition underwent a revival and, each year, the atmosphere becomes increasingly enchanting!

This party, rooted in catholic tradition, usually begins on the second week of February, prior to the upcoming Lent period, so that believers can fully celebrate before their sacrificial month begins.  In much the same way as in the rest of the world, the carnival in Shkodër is no longer strictly catholic, but has become more of a way of getting together and celebrating with friends and families along the promenade, as well as an excuse of donning intricate masks and having a great time without worrying about reality!

Carnival of Shkodra, Source: facebook.com/EKOMendje

Made in Albania Masks

Masked balls are a significant part of the carnival, whose beautiful, masterfully made masks recall that famous town of the epic carnivals: Venice. Indeed, it could not be otherwise, as one of the most renowned master workers of Venetian masks is the great artisan Edmond Angoni, who exports his masks internationally to cities such as New York and Las Vegas from his workshop in Shkodër. Even the masks worn in the spectacular Venetian carnivals are made in Shkodër, a particular point of pride among this northern Albanian town’s population. Yet another point of pride is that Angoni’s masks were used in some of the most iconic scenes in Stanley Kubrick’s Eye Wide Shut. This is the real deal!

If you find yourself in Venice, you can get a good look at Angoni’s unique masks in the “Venice Art Mask Factory”, already a landmark among many of Venice’s visitors. Thus, considering the above information and Shkodra’s famously elegant sense of humor, which lends the carnival a unique touch, we are inclined to think that you would really enjoy yourself there!

The Nationwide Childrens’ Song Contest

Since 1963, this famous contest, which is responsible for discovering the best young voices in the country, has never been absent from Shkodra’s stage and, especially during the post-Communist period in the country, it became a nationwide household name. The contest gives Albania’s talented young singers the rare opportunity of working with some of the best composers and musicians in Albania. Organized in May, this has become a very popular, social event for locals and visitors alike.

The Nationwide Childrens’ Song Contest, Shkodra, Source: facebook.com/FestivaliMbarekombetariKengesPerFemije

The Shkodra Jazz Festival

Organized in the beginning of summer, this festival brings countless world-famous jazz musicians in Shkodër. This particular festival is specifically organized with the public in mind, with stages scattered around town in order to engage the entire population of the city. This is everyone’s event!

Giffoni Film Festival Albania

During the month of November, the 13th edition of the well-known children’s film festival brings some of the best children’s movies to town! Famous names from the international children’s film industry are usually guests of honor in this festival and the best part of it all is that the festival’s jury is comprised of bright, middle school or high school students.

Giffoni Film Festival Albania, Shkodra, Source: giffonifilmfestival.it

The Flower Festival

A city that loves art and culture undoubtedly has a special place in its heart for flowers, as well! Every 6th of May, Shkodra honors the beauty of flowers through its Flower Festival, wherein the entire town, and especially the beautiful, legendary Castle of Rozafa, is embellished by an astounding assortment of flowers, rivaling those famous tulip fields of Holland! Countless concerts and other great events are organized as part of this festival, creating a truly intoxicating atmosphere.

Lake of Shkodra Day

Every 3rd of June, the city of Shkodër honors its oldest and most loyal citizen, the Lake of Shkodra, during an entire day specifically dedicated to it. This day signals the official beginning of the summer season in Shirokë, where countless water sports and social events gather the entire city in this beautiful, historical lakeside village. The Lake of Shkodra is the largest lake in the Balkans, separating Albania from Montenegro. As such, both countries celebrate their joint lake and cooperate in making this day as amazing as possible!

Lake of Shkodra

Lake of Shkodra Day, photo by Intoalbania

By: IntoAlbania

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