Elbasan

The Castle of Elbasan is a field castle in the city of Elbasan. Cristobel, the second Mehmet historian, refered to it first. The Ottoman chronicler, Evlia Çelebiu, visited the city in the 18th century CE and described the castle in detail. During the Austrian invasion, the castle became subject to extensive study. Austrian archaeologist Prashniker and Shcober, who visited the castle during the First World War, noticed that there are ancient fortifications under the medieval walls. The castle has a quadrangular shape with 308 x 48 m dimensions. Today there are only eight towers remaining from the original twenty-six at the begining of its construction. During the late antiquity period, Skampini, the city within the castle, started as a center on the “Egnatia Road,” connecting Rome to Constantinople. Turks reconstructed the castle for strategic purposes. The castle is still inhabited today, and important Muslim and Christian religious objects can be found within.

The Monastery of Saint John Vladimir (Shën Gjon Vladimiri) in Shijon is located only 4 km away from Elbasan. It was built in 1381 CE by the Albanian prince, Karl Topia, who brought the remains of Saint John Vladimir. Saint John Vladimir was the Duke of Krajina (Montenegro). He was declared a Saint and is well know in the Balkan Peninsula. A large pilgrimage was organized in his honor at this monastery until 1967 CE, when the communist regime forcibly closed religious institutions all over the country. Nowadays this pilgrimage is organized every 3-4 June. The monastery, with its rich library, was a very important cultural center for Albanians. Unfortunately, Nazi Forces burned a part of the monastery during the Second World War. The monumental gate of the monastery, carved from stone, is currently being preserved at the National Historic Museum in Tirana.

The Roman Road Station of Ad Quintium is located in Bradashesh village, in the vicinity of the modern city of Elbasan. Based on the construction techniques used, the site has been dated back to the 2nd – 4th centuries CE. Excavations are ongoing.

In Elbasan you may also visit the Ethnographic Museum of Elbasan, the Peqini Castle (15th century CE), the Church of Good Friday (Shën e Premtes) in Valësh and the Church of Saint Nicolas (18th century CE) in Grabova, district of Gramsh.

The Church of Saint Nicolas in Shelcan (Kisha e Shën Nikollës) is located in the village of Shelcan in the distict of Shpati, southeast of Elbasan. Inside the church there are valuable frescoes painted by Onufri, a famous Albanian painter from the 16th century CE.

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