Welcome to Shkodra

ShkodraDaily, Shkodra Daily
Shkodra or Shkodër (historically also known as Scutari), is a city in northwestern Albania in the District of Shkodër, of which it is the capital. It is one of the oldest and most historic places in Albania, as well as an important cultural and economic centre.

During many different epochs it has retained its status as a major city in the Western Balkans, due to its geostrategic positioning close to the Adriatic and the Italian ports, but also with land-routes to other important cities and towns in neighbouring regions.

It's importance is heightened by the Lake of Shkodra to the west of the city—the largest in the Western Balkans—that straddles Albania and neighbouring Montenegro. The population of Shkodër is 95,907, while Shkodër County has a population of 217,375. (Institute of Statistics of Albania 2011)

The name of Shkodra is first attested in antiquity in the form Skodra (Latin: Scodra, Ancient Greek: Σκόδρα), and in the Greek genitive Σκοδρινῶν ('of the Skodrians') found on coins from the 2nd century BC. Its ultimate origins, from Illyrian or some other ancient Balkan language, are unknown. The further development of the name has been the object of some discussion among linguists in the context of the debate over the linguistic provenance of Albanians and the Albanian language. While Cabej and Demiraj treat the development from Skodra to modern Shkodra as evidence of regular development within Albanian, Matzinger argues that it fails to display certain known phonological changes that would have to have happened if the name had been continually in use in (proto-) Albanian since pre-Roman times.

The name was adapted to Italian as Scutari; in this form it was also in wide use in English until the 20th century.

Shkodra has a Mediterranean climate (Csa) that is almost wet enough in July to be a humid subtropical climate (Cfa); the average yearly temperature in the city varies from 14.5 °C (58.1 °F) to 16.8 °C (62.2 °F). The temperature in January ranges from 1.7 °C (35.1 °F) to 9 °C (48.2 °F); in July, from 20 °C (68.0 °F) to 32 °C (89.6 °F). The average yearly rainfall is about 2,000 millimetres (78.7 in), which makes the area one of the wettest in Europe, rivalled only by the Norwegian coast around Bergen.

Shkodra is an important educational and industrial center. The city produces various mechanical and electrical components, along with textile and food products. Luigj Gurakuqi University of Shkodër is one of the more prestigious learning centers of Albania. The public library of the city contains more than 250,000 books. Several other cultural institutions exist, such as the Cultural Center, the Marubi Photo Archives, the Artists and Writers Association, the "Migjeni" Theater (named after Millosh Gjergj Nikolla), the Gallery of Arts, and the Museum of History. Shkodra is the center of Albanian Catholicism and the most prominent city of Roman Catholics in Albania. Historic cultural architecture includes the Castle of Shkodra, the Turkish Bath, and the Lead Mosque. The Castle of Shkodër became famous during the First Balkan War when it was protected by the Turkish general Hasan Riza Pasha and Esad Pasha. Many festivals take place on an annual basis such as Carnival, Children Festival, Lake Day, and Shkodra Jazz Fest.

Shkodra is also famous for its Islamic scholarship. The site of the only institution in Albania which provides high-level education in Arabic and Islamic Studies, having produced well-known Muslim personalities as Shaykh Nasirudin Albani.

The city and the surrounding area are blessed with a large variety of natural and cultural elements. The most attractive quarters of the city are commonly thought to be Pjaca, identifiable as the main city centre between statues of Mother Teresa and Luigj Gurakuqi, and Gjuhadol, the neighborhood around one of the most scenic streets connecting the Cathedral on the east side of town with the middle of the city. The most recognizable memorial is the legendary castle of Rozafa known also as Rozafati.

Built during the Illyrian reign, the castle has sprouted a legend explaining the keeping of a promise. Rozafa, the bride of the youngest of three brothers, was walled up alive in the mortar of the walls of the castle to ward off evil that was destroying them each night. The calcareous water passing through the stones at the main entrance is connected in the folk fantasy with the milk of the bosom of Rozafa, which she requested be left available to nurse her newborn baby boy. She also requested that one foot be used to rock his cradle and one arm to lull him to sleep. Inside the ancient walls is a museum dedicated to the history and legends of the castle.

Lake of Shkodra is the biggest lake of the Balkans peninsula. It is a major summer attraction for tourists and inhabitants.

Another interesting historical site is the ruins of Shurdhah (Sarda), a medieval town situated only 15 km from Shkodra. To go out there you must take a motor-boat from the dam of Vau i Dejës out to the island where Shurdhah is located (about 10 miles, or 16 km). Shurdhah was built atop a hill on the island, roughly 5 ha in area, surrounded by the waters of the Drini river (which has been rerouted now to form an artificial lake). At one time it was the summer retreat of the famous Dukagjini Family.

About 5 km east of Shkodra lies the medieval citadel of Drisht.

Many visitors feel that Shkodra is the soul of Albania. The very characteristic appearance of the city is formed by the juxtaposition of ancient houses and narrow streets joined with stone walls and modern buildings. After World War II, some of Shkodër was rebuilt with wider streets to accommodate automotive traffic, and new residential buildings are being constructed all the time.

Shkodra is also the home of Loro Boriçi who was an Albanian soccer player most famous in 1940s and 1950s. Loro-Boriçi Stadium is named in his honour.