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The Skanderbeg museum is a wonderful insight for visitors into the importance of one of Albania’s most celebrated national heroes. The site is a must for history buffs, and anyone with an interest in the nation’s fascinating past!
The ruins of the Kruja Castle can be seen at the base of Kruja’s mountain. The castle holds within it the National Museum of “Gjergj Kastriot Skënderbeu,” known simply as the Skanderbeg Museum – dedicated to the most celebrated of all Albanian heroes. Skanderbeg’s ability to reunite Albanian families that had been divided for six centuries, made him the important national figure that he is today. It was Skanderbeg’s return to Kruja, following his childhood in Turkey, which eternally bonded the great man’s name to the city, and the city’s to his. He was the leader of the country during one of its most prosperous periods, and created an army that successfully fended off the Ottomans’ advances for 25 years, until his death in 1468.
Labelling the Skanderbeg Museum a national treasure, as it is, doesn’t come close to describing its national significance. Ever since opening in 1982, this Kruja landmark has been one of the most visited places in the country. This monument represents a grand collaboration of experts in all fields, including a team of renowned Albanian architects, led by Pirro Vaso and Pranvera Hoxha. They drew inspiration from the conceptual platform devised by Aleks Buda, then chair of the Academy of Sciences of Albania. Teams led by the renowned historian Kristo Frashëri and talented Albanian painter Bashkim Ahmeti, also contributed to this large-scale project. Originally conceived as a memorial, its architecture seamlessly synchronises with history and the medieval arts. The museum has a beautiful impact on Kruja’s skyline, whilst also blending in with the landscape. It also adds a contemporary flair to the medieval Castle of Kruja.
A large relief of Skanderbeg and his brave soldiers confronts the visitors upon entering the museum. This massive sculpture reflects highly-symbolic moments of the countless wars led by the national hero. It also masterfully details the clothing and armour worn by soldiers of the time. Many of the museum’s visual art pieces portray Skanderbeg in his various roles as statesman, warrior, and battle commander. The pavilions store documents, original bibliographies, and reproductions which recount the history of Albania during the 15th century.
The museum shows the life and history of the Albanian principalities. The chronological exhibit takes visitors through ceramic, bronze, iron, and copper objects as well as original icons and swords of the period. Don’t miss the beautiful bell there too, which dates back to 1462! Beautiful Byzantine-style frescoes cover the museum walls. These images romanticise Skanderbeg’s return to Kruja and glorify the unification of the once-divided Albanian principalities. The National Museum in Kruja is equipped with guides in both Albanian and English.