One sometimes desires to get away from the hustle bustle of the metropolis to enjoy something quaint. Petrela is the perfect getaway for this.

Only 30 minutes away from Tirana, Petrela is one of the  most well known sites in Middle Albania. This is due to its history and the beautiful nature that surrounds it. Unfortunately, even though it is so close to the capital, Petrela’s castle does not get from people the attention that is deserves.

Its name, Petrela, derives from the Greek word, petra which means stone and it is so easy to make the connection between the name at the moment when you see the place where the castle was built, a rocky hill.

The Petrela Castle by night time.
Image Courtesy: Public Domain, WordPress

A continuing history

According to archaeologists, Petrela dates from IV-III centuries B.C. Roman markers of identity, such as  a nympheus can be found there. However, the castle of Petrela is a Medieval castle, built by Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in the VI century A.D. The castle was built for military usage, and also simplified trade routes.

The castle continued to thrive in the Late Byzantine Period. In the XIII century it took on the look of a typical Byzantine city, adorned with domes and pedentives. In the XIV century, the castle became the centre of the Topiaj family. This family was one of most important princely families during the Byzantine period. After the XV century, when Albanian territories were taken by the Ottoman Empire, the castle became an Ottoman garrison.

I made this short video to help you relate to it.

Fascinating stories about Petrela’s castle

It is clear that the castle has served its role as a fortifying structure, as well as a trade route diversion. Layers of history found here can be correlated to the way the castle evolved over time.

The nature that surrounds the castle is breathtaking, and offsets the urban landscape with peace and tranquility. There are several amazing stories associated with the castle too! Albania’s national hero, Skanderberg,  let his only sister lead the castle in the war against the Ottomans because he hoped that the castle was strong enough to protect her.

Wouldn’t it be better to enjoy a morning coffer or a Sunday lunch in a quiet setting rather than in the crowded and noisy Tirana?

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One sometimes desires to get away from the hustle bustle of the metropolis to enjoy something quaint. Petrela is the perfect getaway for this. Only 30 minutes away from Tirana, Petrela is one of the  most well known sites in Middle Albania. This is due to its history and the...