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Skadar-Albania
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Skadar-Albania

 

Shkodėr or Shkodra (Serbian Skadar, Latin Scodra) is a city located on Lake Skadar (Shkodra Lake) in northwestern Albania in the District of Shkodėr, and is the capital of the District of Shkodėr. It is one of the oldest and most historic towns in Albania, as well as an important cultural and economic centre. Shkodėr's estimated population as of 2004 is 100.000,  if the surrounding region is included the population is 150.000.

 

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The name of the city Shkodėr, also known as Scutari and Skutari, is derived in folk etymology from Latin scutarii, literally "shieldmakers", referring to a Roman legion created by Constantine. The Serbian derivation Skadar draws the same roots.

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The dawn of the Middle ages saw waves of Slavs arriving. Byzantine Emperor Heraclius described in his De Administrando Imperio how he gave the Serbs the city of Shkodėr and the sourrounding territories of during the first half of the 7th century. They soon formed the Principality of Duklja there. Shkodėr was a major city of the medieval Slav state. Duklja was subjected to its northern neighbor, the Principality of Rascia, forming the Grand Principality of Rascia. Its rulers recognized Bulgarian Czars as their supreme rulers during the first half of the 10th century. Soon Grand Prince Časlav Klonimir of the House of Voislav liberated the local Serbian lands from Byzantine and Bulgarian rule. Shkodėr soon became Duklja's capital during the reign of Saint John Vladimir in the second half of the 10th century who defended the city from the menacing Arbanass tribes. John had to briefly surrender Duklja to the Bulgarian Czar from Macedonia Samuil. The Byzantines later incorporated the region directly into their empire, forming the theme of Serbia governed by strategos Constantine Diogenes. Stefan Voislav from Travunia expelled the last strategos of Serbia Theophilos Erotikos and fought the Byzantines successfully during the first half of the 11th century, keeping its independence. He liberated the city from the Romei ca 1040. It soon became a major city of a revived Duklja. King Constantin Bodin of Duklja and Dalmatia accepted the Crusaders of the Crusade of 1101 in Skadar. After numerious dinastic struggles, Skadar would become a part of Zeta, an entity subjected to the Grand Principality of Rascia in the 12th century. In 1396, the city came under Venetian rule, forming a coalition against the Ottoman Empire.

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Today the city and the area around it is blessed with numerous and different natural and cultural objects. The most attractive quarters with such peculiarities are Serresh and Gjuhadol, but the most important objects is the castle of Rozafa. The history of the castle starts since the Illyrian times.

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A very interesting legend explains its history. The main theme of the legend has to do with keeping of promise. Rozafa the bride of the youngest of three brothers, was walled up in order that the walls of the castle do not fall down by the night. The water passing through the stones at the main entrance are connected in the folk fantasy with the water going out from the bossom of Rozafa, which she left out during the time she was walled up in order to feed her little baby.

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The very characteristic appearance of the city is formed by the old houses and the narrow streets formed by tall stone walls. After World War II, Shkodėr was rebuilt with wider streets and new residential buildings. These were built in several new quarters.Shkodra is also the home of the biggest and livliest stadium in Albania (loro borici)the stadium of Shkodra.

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