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Rozafa Fortress

Shkoder, Albania

Rising imposing on a rocky hill, the Rozafa Castle (Kalaja e Rozafës, or Kalaja e Rozafatit), not far from Shkodër, is a mysterious structure, surrounded in legend and mysticism. According to the legend, three brothers initiated to build a castle, but what they raise during the day, crumple at night. After efforts of many days, but all in vain, they met an old wise man. To keep the fortress from tumbling down, the old man suggested them to give up a human life. The three siblings chose to give up the first of their wives who would bring them lunch the following day. Destiny picked Rosafa, the woman of the most youthful brother, who, as the myth says, acknowledged the sacrifice while not protest, and was covered within the wall of castle. The story goes ahead, with even much sorrow revelations, it is said that she had a newborn child, and asked to be walled in alive, with her right breast uncovered, to nourish her tyke, her right hand exposed to caress him, her right eye left free, to see him, and her right foot unburied, to bedrock the cradle.
The alcove into which she was walled is still there, and a white substance leaks out of the walls, supposedly her milk still appearing in the castle. But beyond the legend, the Rozafa Castle (Kalaja e Rozafës) testifies the former glory of these lands, and stands as the symbol of Shkodër. When you visit the site you’ll see more than the ruins of a glorious castle: there is a very interesting museum within its third courtyard, with exhibits that tell the history of the castle, and that of the city it once defended against all kinds of enemies .

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