Bashtova Castle – Visit Albania!

Bashtova Castle – Visit Albania!

Bashtova Castle is situated about 3-4 km to the north of the Shkumbini River in the village of Bashtovë. The castle was built in the 15th century and was used by the Venetians. In the past the Bashtova region was known as a river harbour on the Shkumbini River and as a centre for the export of grains. The castle has a rectangular shape, 60 x 90 meters. The western part of the castle was rebuilt in the 18th century. Its walls are 9 meters high.

Bashtova castle is a surprise. It has been always. A castle in the middle of a long flat, arounded by green lands cultivated. Hidden, unexpected and extraordinary well preserved, is a small jewel.

kalaja e vile-bashtoves ristylephotography-smThe castle was originally built up by venetians, close enough to control the harbor at the end of the river Shkumbin, in the close beach. According to the oral tradition in the village the castle was built up by some members of the Matrangaj family. Indeed this feudal family was ruling the current county of Kavaja during the XIV century and were based mainly in Bashtova. From there they controlled most of the Myzeqe plains and the coastal hills of Karpen (where the laurel forest survives).

In any case the aim of the castle was always protecting trading from bandits, turks and other threatens. In the old times, as said, was just at the river´s harbor. However the river-still used by numerous fishing boats as natural refuge- has moved with the passing of the time and is now a couple of kilometers far. So the castle stays in the middle of the fields, even if the smell of river and of sea come even with the smallest wind.
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foto nga RistylePhotography

The construction is mostly a square of well-preserved walls with four towers in the corners. Other premises done originally in wood have disappeared and their only remain are some holes in the walls. The eastern side was rebuilt by ottomans in the XIX century, so that it is relatively untouched.
The structure remains the one of the far west forts, or the caravansarays from Persia. And indeed its function was similar: custoding the traders and merchandises in the routes passing in the old times by Albania. Arches in the walls remain the rooms and stores where soldiers were living and goods stored before continuing their travel. It is easy to imagine

The castle had a big gate protected with wood defenses attached to the ramparts. It is easy to imagine the relax of traders and caravans when arriving to such a safe place. There is also an small gate in the western side for those who wanted to go to the harbor. The only stable construction was a house for the Bey, as a tower in the middle of the ramparts. The big stone’s fireplace is still there visible.

The Bashtova castle is a relaxing and touching experience. The colors of the landscape, the surprise of the flat land around the old walls…all seems to be done for making the experience deeper.

 
 
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How to arrive: the castle makes an easy day excursion from Tirana, about one hour of distance by car. It is in the county of Kavaja. For arriving follow the highway to Fier. After leaving Kavaja in your left there is a moment in which the highway stops and become a single road. Just there there is a circle and a road in your right heading to the sea and to Vjele, which is the village where the castle is.
A visit to Bashtova should cover also a look at the near river Shkumbim with its fishermen boats and may include also a lunch in the lake of Djvjaka with its unique colony of pelicans or an excursion to the other Kavaja’s castle, the castle of Turra.
A bit at the north of Besthtova, in the hills of Karpen, just in front of a beautiful seaside area is also the endangered unique forest of laurel trees, very recommendable

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