|Rozafa Castle – Shkodra, Albania|
Lat/Long = 42.046424,19.493898
In the background of the city of Shkodra, in northwestern Albania, the “Rozafa” castle rises imposingly on a rocky hill, 130 meters above sea level. It seems as if iron claws keep it on the steep rocks surrounded by the Buna and Drini rivers. The city is the capital of the District of ShkodÃ«r, and is one of Albania’s oldest and most historic towns, as well as an important cultural and economic centre.
The castle is known by the toponym “Rozafa”. The hill on which castle lies is in the center of all transportation routes. The German author Johan Georgvan Han has asserted that no other place would be as suitable for its construction as the one chosen by the ancestors who were well aware of this fact. The castle has faced the torrents of history for thousands of years retaining ancient and medieval traces which are inseparably bound up with the roots of Shkodra city.
Its legend, archaeology and history testify to its early existence. The legend is about the initiative of three brothers who set about building the castle. They worked all day, but the walls fell down at night. They met a clever old man who advised them to sacrifice someone so that the walls would stand. The three brothers found it difficult to decide whom to sacrifice. Finally, they decided to sacrifice one of their wives who would bring lunch to them the next day. So they agreed that whichever of their wives was the one to bring them lunch the next day was the one who would be buried in the wall of the castle. They also promised not to tell their wives of this. The two older brothers, however, explained the situation to their wives that night, while the honest youngest brother said nothing.
The next afternoon at lunch time, the brothers waited anxiously to see which wife was carrying the basket of food. It was Rosafa, the wife of the youngest brother. He explained to her what the deal was, that she was to be sacrificed and buried in the wall of the castle so that they could finish building it, and she didn’t protest.
The faithfulness of the youngest brother and the life sacrifice of his young wife are highlighted as elements that acquire symbolic importance. Rosafa, who was predestined to be walled was worried about her infant son, though accepted being walled on condition that they must leave her right breast exposed so as to feed her newborn son, her right hand to caress him and her right foot to rock his cradle.
This was done, and that is why there is a stone in the castle from which, even today, milk flows.