Perched at 133 m above sea level, at the top of the Tepe hill, the citadel of Rozafa was the scene of the terrible siege of 1479. Forming a vast triangle of 200 ha, it is one of the best preserved fortresses in the country. Occupation of the site dates back at least to the Bronze Age. The walls, which in places rest on Illyrian foundations, were built for the most part during the Venetian period (late 14th century). The citadel was taken in January 1479 by the Ottoman army commanded by Sultan Mehmet II the Conqueror (Fatih, in Turkish) himself
Visit - Among the many ruins inside, those of the Mehmet Fatih Mosque (xhamia e Fatihut, 1479, named in honour of Sultan Mehmet II the Conqueror), former St . Stephen's Cathedral (katedralja e Shën Shtjefnit, 13th c.) to which was added a minaret which is characterized by its orthogonal shape in height and square at the base. On the western tip are the powder magazine and the former pasha residence, now converted into a museum. This one, restored in 2011, houses a beautiful collection of objects from all periods discovered on site, including a Roman mosaic from the 3rd-4th century. Also noteworthy are: the hammam next to the mosque, several water tanks scattered throughout the site, and, just before the main entrance, the tomb of a family of viziers (ministers of the Ottoman Empire) of Shkodra. At the end of the citadel, there is a restaurant offering an extraordinary panorama of the city.
Legend of Rozafa. It is impossible to walk through these walls without evoking the powerful legend of Rozafa. She recounts that three brothers hired to build the walls of the fortress were unable to complete their task: what they did during the day collapsed at night. The rest of the story is reminiscent of other legends in the country. In order to put an end to this prodigy, an old man to whom the brothers had sought advice recommended that they sacrifice the wife who, the next day, would bring them their lunch. It was Rozafa, the younger brother's wife, who had to endure this sad fate, as the latter, unlike the others, did not warn his wife. She agreed to sacrifice herself on the condition that she could continue to breastfeed her newborn son. The builders granted her this request and made three holes in the walls so that she could breastfeed, caress and rock her child. Thus Rozafa was able to take care of his son until he was weaned, and the citadel was completed.
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