The city of Lezhe is located in northwestern Albania, near the Adriatic Sea. The city was founded in 385 BC by Dionysius of Syracuse. Throughout all periods, the city of Lezhe has played a special role in Illyrian-Albanian history. The very geographical position where the city lies, together with its surroundings, has made Lezha one of the most important commercial and political-military centers since ancient times. Lezha, through the Port of Shengjin, has over the centuries carried out numerous exchanges in various economic and cultural fields with the outside world, thus significantly influencing social development.
This is one of the reasons that, precisely in this city, at certain moments of our history, political-cultural activities of a high national level were organized, such as: “Lezhe League” in 1444, “Arber Assembly” in 1703. It is also documented that this city, since the 8th century BC, has been continuously inhabited by the Illyrian-Arberian-Albanian population. His name “Lisso” and “Lissuss” according to the researchers of the field, is a linguistic variation of the old Illyrian name “Lisi”. So, the city of Lezhe, even before its return to a Hellenic colony by Dionysus of Syracuse, proves to be an Illyrian settlement. The economic life of Lissussi in ancient times was influenced by the fact that it was the entrance station of the Shengjin-Kosovo road, which passed through Zadrime to Kukes and beyond. After the Roman occupation, Lissussi was mentioned as “Municipal”, continuing to maintain the same military and administrative value as a naval base in the northern Adriatic. The name of the city is mentioned by Greek and Latin historians before the new era; it is mentioned in the Venetian chronicles when it was under the rule of the Republic of Saint Mark, to take on special importance in the 15th century, when our National Hero, Gjergj Kastrioti – “Skenderbeu”, gathered here the first Assembly of Albanian Princes and founded the state the first on the basis of principalities. During the glorious period, Lezha served as the “Diplomatic Capital” of Arberise. In this city, our National Hero Gjergj Kastrioti died and was buried in 1468. The memorial, built to remember this prominent national figure, has now become a pilgrimage center which is visited every year by hundreds of local and foreign tourists. Today, Lezha has around 35 thousand inhabitants and it has a growing tendency, mainly due to mechanical movements, population coming from the deep and northwestern areas of the country.
Lezha stands out for its historical and archaeological values, for its very promising perspective in the direction of tourism development. The medieval castle of the city, built in a special style and with a very interesting position, is of great importance. The archaeological excavations carried out around the castle as well as inside the Illyrian walls speak of values that will be added to Lezha, the history of national culture in the not-too-distant future. The Franciscan Assembly, founded by St. Francis of Assisi himself in 1220, presents recognition interests and has historical-cultural-educational values. Lezha also has other values. There is the river Drin, which runs through the city, a river which, in a line of less than three km, connects the city with the Adriatic Sea. Precisely, in the center of the city, near the archaeological area, the River Port was built and operated, serving for the transportation of goods to different countries across the sea. We think that the reconstruction of this port will increase the historical and economic values of our city.
Lezha is the place of peace. It is worked and built here. More than 600 private businesses operate in the city. There is commercial activity, but what immediately stands out is the high pace of construction. It is the city of Lezhe, the place of religious and social harmony. An area of order and calmness that is admirable for everyone. Foreign businesses and firms that operate in our city are accommodated, organized and feel quite comfortable. Even during the riots of 1997, they did not stop their activity for a moment. Lezha as an area and a city is also distinguished by other positive phenomena. Being under the influence of the Mediterranean climate, with sunny days above the national average, the area stands out for agricultural and livestock production, especially for early vegetables, for the production of potatoes and watermelon, fruit and other livestock products. Products such as “Kallmet” wine, “Lezha” brandy, turkey meat of the well-known breed “Zadrima”, etc. are already well-known and appreciated in the country and abroad. The very fact that Lezha is surrounded on both sides by two fertile fields, that of Zadrima and Breg te Mati, have in themselves the premise of the development of both industry for the sector and agro-tourism, which is in its promising beginnings. The two lagoons of Lezhe, “Kune” and “Vain”, with a surface of about 1800 ha. They are known and valued in the Mediterranean for the rich flora and fauna they have. They are located near the city and are connected to the Adriatic Sea. Actually, expressing the opinion of specialists and visitors from different countries, the lagoons of Lezhe are very attractive. Naturally, you go there for a walk in nature, for the clean air, the aroma of the forest and the sea breeze, you go to enjoy the beauty of virgin nature, you also go for sport hunting, fish and different wild, migratory and stationary birds. There are about 92 bird species in Kune e Vain. The city of Lezhe is also an important transport hub. This city is traversed by all types of transport: road, rail and sea. The distances to both the capital and Durres have been significantly shortened. Lezha is also connected to Montenegro, Macedonia and Kosovo, the road under construction will create more opportunities for cooperation and exchanges at all levels in the interests of Albanians, friendship and their economy. In the city of Lezhe there is also a satisfactory development in the education, culture and sports sector. There are two 9-year education schools and two secondary schools in the city; a general high school and a professional high school, being currently one of the three schools in the country with a contemporary profile, economy-business, tourism-hotel. There are also six kindergartens, of which three are public and the other three are kindergartens. private for children. For years, the Children’s Cultural Center has created a good experience in the city, with several sectors and profiles that directly help the education but also the entertainment of Lezhne children. The region of Lezhe represents a typical historical area of our national culture. The “conservative” spirit of the inhabitants of this area has preserved the history, tradition, language, customs and values of a civilization, an important part of the entire Albanian civilization, over the centuries. The Palace of Culture operates in the city of Lezhe, an important center in which periodically activities are carried out in the interests of civic education and for the preservation of national values. It has now become a tradition in the city of Lezhe to organize assemblies and festivals of Rhapsody and Folk music. The city’s Public Library, a valuable institution for the citizens of Lezhne, is another reference point of our culture. Conceived and built with special contemporary architecture, located precisely in the archaeological center, and not only that, but rich in books and other artistic and scientific literature, it has made a name for itself in the region and beyond.
Health in Lezhe is at satisfactory levels. All the institutions of this sector have been reconstructed, such as Cicil Hospital and Birth House, which currently serve the entire region (District), Polyclinics, Pharmacies, etc. The level of service in our health institutions is satisfactory and compatible with similar sectors. The development of sports in Lezhe, the tradition of the football team “Beselidhja”, and the dignified presentation on a scale outside the country, of many sports such as athletics, freestyle wrestling and cycling have attracted the attention and interest not only of specialists but also of all sports lovers of the country. . These are some of the achievements of multidimensional development in the city of Lezhe.
Hospitality and culture
Lezha, in terms of its geographical position, civic culture, Lezha hospitality, is known as the most peaceful city in the whole country. Traditionally, the citizens of Lezha go to each other’s families and talk about their problems. They are generous and connected to the close people around them. Of course, our mothers are more loving and sensitive to any phenomenon that happens around. Although they are interested in the details of the neighbors’ problems, of course this is a major value. They worry and feel sorry even for someone they don’t know, when he needs help. They open the house to the neighbor on occasions of joy and sorrow. Friends who visit Lezha rent food with coffee, drinks or meals. In no case do they allow a friend invited by them to the bar to pay in their city.
Due to its geographical position with a wide access to the sea and the generally low relief, Lezha has a prevailing mild climate of the Mediterranean type. The district of Lezhe is characterized by hot and dry summers, mild and wet winters in the lowlands and the city, while wet and cold winters in the mountainous area. The average annual temperature for the district is 15 degrees, the average for January is 7 degrees, while the average for July is plus 24-25 degrees. In Lezhe, the maximum temperature recorded is 390C (on 18.07.1973) and the minimum temperature recorded has reached -100C (on 24.01.1963). An average of 1700 mm of rain fall per year.
Geography of Lezha
geography The city of Lezhe – Center of the District and Prefecture with the same name was founded in 385 BC. Lezha lies in the northwestern part of the country, from Ultesira of Shkodra in the north to Breg te Mate in the south, from the Puke-Mirdite Mountains in the northeast and east to the Adriatic Sea in the west. In this extension, the geographic coordinates present Leža between 410 57′ 30” north latitude in Kashnjet and 410 39′ 45” in Tale, as well as 190 32′ 20” the western side of Renci mountain, east longitude and 190 53′ 20” Kashnjet. It is located only 55 km from the capital of Albania.
History of Lezha
The history of this region is early, over 2000 years before the birth of Christ. Lezha, Kurbini and Mirdita, integral parts of this district, carry and inherit important historical values. Important events of our national history have taken place in the villages of this region, where undoubtedly its inhabitants and especially their noble leaders have contributed to these events.
Among the most important events in the history of this region, we single out:
The creation of the first Albanian state, the state of Arbër in 1190, whose emblem was found in Gëziq in Mirdita and is kept in the National Historical Museum, Tirana, as well as the emblem of Skuraj of Kurbini found in Pllana.
In the historic city of Lezha, under the leadership of the national hero, Gjergj Kastrioti Skenderbeu, on March 2, 1444, the League of Lezha (Covenant of Lezha) was held, which united the Albanian princes in the common anti-Ottoman war.
The first Albanian schools at the national level were opened in the territory of this region, such as the school of the Diocese of Shnapremte in Kurbin in 1632, the schools of Pllana and Vela in 1638, the school of Blinisht in Zadrima in 1639, etc.
Among the monuments of historical and cultural heritage of national importance are:
“The Canon of Lekë Dukagjin”: (The Canon of the Mountains) collected and codified by the patriotic scholar Father Shtjefen Gjeçovi.
“The Canon of Skëndëndbeu” collected by the scholar-cleric Frano Ilia
The holding of the Assembly of Arbër in the village of Mërqi of Kallmet in Lezha, on January 14, 1703 and the publication in the Albanian language of the “Council” in 1706.
The self-government of Mirdita with its twelve bajraks inclined from the princely door of Gjonmarkaj.
Interreligious coexistence inherited over time is a value that the inhabitants of this region have inherited over the years and are taking it higher. This beautiful fact is witnessed by thousands of pilgrims of different faiths who come from all over Albania and the diaspora to the Church of Shnandout in Laç, turning it into one of the largest religious pilgrimage centers in Albania.
The city of Lezhe – Center of the District and Prefecture with the same name was founded in 385 BC. Lezha lies in the northwestern part of the country, from Ultesira of Shkodra in the north to Breg te Mate in the south, from the Puke-Mirdite Mountains in the northeast and east to the Adriatic Sea in the west. In this extension, the geographic coordinates present Ležen between 410 57 ’30 “north latitude in Kashnjet and 410 39 ’45” in Tale, as well as 19 0 32 ’20 “the western side of Renci mountain, east longitude and 19 0 53 ‘ 20 ” Kashnjet.
It is located only 55 km from the capital of Albania. The distance Lezhe-Shkoder is 35 km, Lezhe-Durres is 70 km, Lezhe-Rinas is 40 km and the distance Pristina-Kukes-Lezhe is 220 km. The distance from Shengjin Port is only 6 km.
Proximity to the beaches: Lezhe-Shengjin 6 km, Lezhe-Kune about 8 km, Lezhe-Vain 3 km. Most of the territory of Lezha is included in the climate of the Mediterranean maritime zone. The Adriatic Sea has a positive effect on climate warming. The district of Lezhe is characterized by hot and dry summers, mild and wet winters in the lowlands and the city, while wet and cold winters in the mountainous area. The average annual temperature for the district is 15 degrees, the average for January is 7 degrees, while the average for July is plus 24-25 degrees. In Lezhe, the maximum temperature recorded is 390C (on 18.07.1973) and the minimum temperature recorded has reached -100C (on 24.01.1963). An average of 1700 mm of rain fall per year.
Monuments of culture
City Library (2001) library life in our city started much earlier, but this is a new building that offers a large fund of books in Albanian and foreign languages as well as many other services. The Palace of Culture (1983) is an important center of many cultural, artistic and scientific activities that periodically take place at the local and national level and enliven the life of our community. The art gallery (in the palace of culture) is a center for the exhibition of the works of authors from Lezhne and beyond and that organizes continuous activities. The city’s Beselidhja Stadium and other sports grounds and facilities are facilities not only for entertaining the public but also for their participation and exercise of physical activities. Our city, in addition to these important historical, archaeological, cultural and artistic values, also offers its visitors outstanding natural beauty such as the mountain, the hill, the plain, the river, the sea and its lagoons such as Kune and Vain cka give them maximum pleasure .
The Castle of Lezha
Built on the foundations of the ancient Acropolis, it is accepted by all that the beginning of its construction belongs to the 8th century. The castle has known many phases of construction, to arrive at the last one in 1520, by Sultan Selim I. in the historical and archaeological literature, the castle of Lezha has been known for a long time under the name Elison’s Castle. It has three gates which were well protected by towers and masked alcoves, which favored by the geographical position made it invincible. In 2002, after the restoration of the foundations of the Medieval Castle, it was noticed that the thickness of the walls reached up to 4.30 m, from the 3.50 m thickness that was thought to be before. To date, 12 gates and 48 defensive towers have been discovered.
The ancient city of Lissus (Illyrian Stones)
Lissusi includes the medieval castle, the burial place of our Hero “Gjergj Kastioti” Skënderbeu and several other objects of historical value. The fortification walls of Lissi are stronger than those of Apollonia, making this ancient city among the most prominent in the Illyrian-Epiriot world and beyond. The city had two ports, a maritime one, that of “Nymphaeum”, today’s Shëngjin, as well as Porti Lumor, on the edge of Oldrin (today’s Drini).
The rocks of Sëlbuemi “Akrolisi” In the southeast of the city of Lezha rises the rocky peak of Sëlbuemi, 408 m above sea level. Its crown was surrounded in ancient times by a long wall and two towers with palatial stones, forming a well-protected castle there. Archaeological excavations in this settlement have yielded findings of cultural layers beyond the 9th century BC, making this prehistoric settlement one of the earliest and largest in Albania. The acrolis needs to be excavated by archeological expeditions and the vegetation cut, so that the walls and towers can be clearly seen.
The memorial or burial place was built on the church of Saint Kolli, where in 1468 Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu was buried. What is seen now has nothing to do with the former building that belongs to the 15th century. After the Turks occupied the city of Lezha in 1478, they destroyed and opened the grave of Gjergj Kastrioti, who died on January 17, 1468, wrapping his bones in gold and silver to be used as a talisman of indestructibility in battles. The memorial was built in 1981. On the floor of the ship stands the bust of Skenderbeu, made by the people’s sculptor Odhise Paskali. Copies of the bronze sword and helmet are placed on the marble slab. Inside the walls there is a row of shields with the emblems of the tribes that participated in the Assembly of Lezha.
The obelisk of the Assembly of Lezha
In the center of the city there is a monument that was erected in memory and construction of the important event that happened in Lezhë on March 2, 1444. On this date, our national hero gathered in this city, the Venetian possession, most of the Albanian feudal chiefs, for him united in the fight against the Ottoman Empire. The Assembly of Lezha united the forces of the Albanians and appointed Skënderbeu as their military leader. The Assembly of Lezha was the first form of legal union of the Albanian princes, qualitatively passing from the era of separate principalities to the era of unity and unity of the Albanian nation. In commemoration of this special event, the Obelisk was built in 1968 on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Skanderbeg’s death.
Old city bridge
The House of Mlikai
The main watercourses that form the hydric network of Lezha are: the Drin river of Lezha and the Gjadër river. Drini i Lezha has been the main element of the system and hydrographic network of Lezha and the surrounding areas. But today, this river no longer flows in its centuries-old bed, near the city of Lezha. It no longer flows into the Adriatic, but into the Buna River. The Drin River is the largest river on the entire Adriatic coast of the Balkan Peninsula.
Palace of Culture
The Palace of Culture, which is functional in the city of Lezha, can also be called an important center, in which activities are periodically carried out in the interest of civic education and the preservation of national values. It has already become a tradition in this Palace of Culture to organize Assemblies and Festivals, Rhapsodies and Folk music
The Public Library of Lezha was built in 2001, imposing with an interesting architecture of its kind. The building has 5 reading rooms, rooms, halls and sanitary facilities, enough for the city of Lezha for a period of 20-30 years. Its activity extends throughout the year without interruption and the indicators have been increasing from year to year. The library provides free access and information in whatever form it is organized. The library works with the system 40 hours a week. From Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Extra-library activities, seminars, administrative meetings, exhibitions and fairs, meetings with intellectuals, activities of foundations, religious entities, etc. can be held in the library.
Traditional craftsmanship and modern techniques intersect in laser-drilled steel plates that provide a backdrop to a large-format carved wooden bas-relief. There are traces of Byzantine taste that through the four rounds of the large cross and the vine in the mosaic in the baptistery give a shining golden prominence. The large interior space is marked by the presence of elements of ecclesiastical furnishings – such as the altar, ambo, tabernacle support and baptismal stones – which in the form of a pure geometry are truly abstract sculptures.
Church of Our Lady Nunencia (Church of Dom Lleshi)
In the 13th century, Saint Francis of Assisi, during his return from Syria (before 1221), stopped in Lezhë, where he founded the first Franciscan assembly in Albania. Two decades later, the Franciscan church was built on the hill in front of the city, which had a stone inscription carved in Latin: “POC TEMPLUM FRATON MINORUM AEDIFICATUM EST ANNO MCCXV” which translates into Albanian: “This temple of the Franciscan Friars Minor was built with 1240.”
The Church of Metamorphosis in Lezhë stands in a prominent place in front of the church of Saint Kolli (Byzantine style), where Gjergj Kastrioti was buried. The construction of the church began on September 28, 2000 and was completed in October 2005. About 51 million new lek were invested through funds provided by Archbishop Anastas with the help of donors.