Discover Balkan - Elbasani
Located at the Shkumbini River, where it crosses the famous Egnatia Road, the city of Elbasani – ancient Scampini – is just 50 km away from Tirana. In ancient times, Scampini was a typical Roman fortification, but in the 4th century it received a new administrative status and, with its new name Hiscampis, it became one of the major cities of the new Epirus, home of the area’s only Roman legion.
According to the historian Tit Livi, King Pyrrhus of Epirus was the first to teach others how to put up a camp, which is why the city's fortification is in the form of a square. In the 6th century, the city broadened beyond the walls of the castle due to its needs as center of the episcopate, with several cathedrals and a large basilica on the hill of Tepe, near the castle.
In 1466, the Ottomans took control of the castle of Skampini and reconstructed it almost entirely. They renamed the city Elbasani and it became center of the sanxhak between the 17th and 18th centuries. This was a time of heavy trade, both in and out of the country, which encouraged the significant development of handicrafts. Today tourists can visit the Church of Saint Mary and the King Mosque (inside the city walls). The Mosque of Naziresha (a very rare case because of its feminine name), the Ethnographic Museum etc. In the district of Elbasani there are also two very unique churches painted by Onufri, the famous albanian painter of XV century. You should travel to the villages of Shelcani and Valëshi, in the region of Shpati, to visit them.
On the other hand, just 4 km before the entrance of Elbasani, coming from Tirana there is the Monastery of Shën Gjon Vladimiri.