Shkodra, one of the largest and most important cities of Albania, lies in the north-western part of the country.
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It is also one of the most ancient, established in the 4th century B.C. During the reign of King Gentius, Shkodra became the capital of the Illyrian state. In the 14th century Shkodra was the centre of the principality of the Balsha family. The city was originally named Scutari.
Shkodra nowadays is one of the main centres of Albanian culture and history. The main attraction of the city is the Rozafa Castle, which belongs to the Illyrian period. The legend of a woman, who was immured on its foundation, speaks of its antiquity. In Shkodra, there are a great number of natural and architectural places surrounding the city to be visited, such as Velipoja beach, the Shkodra Lake with the picturesque villages. Shiroka and Zogaj are two places nearby, where one can enjoy the unique cooking of the carp dish.
Shkodra is the gateway to the magnificent Alps of Albania. The Albanian Alps named Bjeshkët e Namuna (The Cursed Mountains) shared between Albania, Kosovo, and Montenegro are one of the most beautiful regions of the entire Balkans, and one of the last hidden treasures of Europe. The whole area is a natural paradise, famous for the beauty and grandeur of its mountains, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, valleys, glaciers and abundant thermal springs, and for the wide variety of fauna and flora, including many endemic and threatened species.