The Legend of Rozafa Castle in Albania

The castle of Rozafa is one of the largest in Albania and the Balkans
The castle of Rozafa is one of the largest in Albania and the Balkans | © bdx / WikiCommons
Photo of Francesca Masotti
27 July 2018

Albania is a land full of mystery and magic, where legends are told from generation to generation. The legend of Rozafa castle, the majestic castle situated in Shkodra (northern Albania), is one of the most interesting and saddest legends of the country. Take a look at one of Albania’s most enchanting castles.

Once upon a time, there were three brothers married to three beautiful wives who lived in what now is northern Albania. The three brothers worked very hard, day and night, to build a castle to protect their town, but every time they finished the work, the castle’s walls would fall down. They didn’t know why.

Rozafa Castle offers beautiful views over the town of Shkodra | © Jeroen / WikiCommons

One day, they met an old man who told them that there was only one way to keep the castle walls from tumbling down: a sacrifice. The sacrifice consisted of burying one of the wives in the wall of the castle, particularly, the first wife to bring lunch to her husband the next day. The brothers promised, for the good of the castle and town, not to say anything about the sacrifice to their wives, but obviously, things went in a different way…

The castle of Rozafa is one of the largest in Albania and the Balkans | © bdx / WikiCommons

The two older brothers, once at home, explained the situation to their wives, while the youngest brother said nothing to his wife. The day after, the three brothers waited anxiously for lunchtime. The wives of the older brothers didn’t come with lunch, but Rozafa, the wife of the youngest brother, came with her box full of delicacies.

Rozafa’s husband explained to her that she had to be sacrificed and buried in the walls of the castle in order for the castle to be finished. Rozafa didn’t protest. She accepted her fate, but under one condition: the brothers would leave a hole for her right breast so her newborn son could feed, another hole for her right hand to caress him and a third hole for her right foot to move his cradle. The castle never collapsed.

The statue of Rozafa and her son during breastfeeding | © Федюкин Дмитрий / WikiCommons

The legend of Rozafa is about the strength of women who sacrifice their lives for something bigger. Today, Rozafa Castle is one of the most interesting places to visit in Albania and is a must-see for anyone who spends time in the enchanting town of Shkodra.

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